PITTSBURGH — Liquid X, manufacturer of functional metallic inks, announced that its proprietary, particle-free silver ink used to create e-textiles and other functional textiles has received the OEKO-TEX Standard 100 Certification - a label earned by textiles deemed safe for contact with skin after testing for harmful substances like carcinogens and heavy metals. Liquid X earned the strictest, baby-safe rating, Appendix 4, Product Class 1, certifying that its particle-free silver ink applied on nonwoven polyester fabric meets the human-ecological requirements not only for babies and toddlers up to 36 months (Class 1), but also for direct contact with the skin of anyone older than that (Class 2). Separately, the company also launched its own ComforTeX OEKO-TEX-certified facemask and antimicrobial filter.
To create e-textiles with functionality such as health and wellness monitoring built in, electronic circuitry and sensors are printed directly onto fabrics, then surface mount components such as microprocessors, LEDs, resistors and batteries are mounted on the printed traces, and then this is all sealed into the fabric during manufacturing. Liquid X’s particle-free inks coat each thread uniformly making textiles smooth, flexible and highly conductive. This unique uniform coating capability also helps to create non-electronic textiles, such as antimicrobial coatings. The goal is to create cost-effective, durable, washable and truly functional textiles that bend and flex without affecting functionality, and feel almost identical to regular fabrics.
“With the new OEKO-TEX Standard 100 Certification, our inks can now enable wearable applications that require contact with skin and the ability to withstand sweat and/or saliva, such as electrodes for health and wellness monitoring,” said Bill Babe, Sales and Marketing Manager at Liquid X.
Over the past year, Liquid X has been developing new smart textile solutions for multiple industries including automotive, aviation and medical. Because the company’s metallic inks use silver, zinc and copper metals that have inherent antimicrobial properties, the COVID-19 pandemic prompted Liquid X to begin offering antimicrobial textiles. Liquid X’s particle-free inks conformally coat the textile, ensuring a uniform antimicrobial coating that fights off pathogens from forming on the fabric.
“Typically, our inks functionalize a surface, like a textile, to create an electronic device that can bend and flex in ways traditional electronic devices cannot,” said Beth Vasy, Vice President of Operations at Liquid X. “We can also use derivatives of our ink formulations to create low-cost, and even transparent, antimicrobial coatings for high-touch surfaces, medical gowns, hospital curtains, automotive upholstery and more.”
Liquid X’s new ComforTeX line includes a washable, reusable, soft and comfortable facemask that removes over 95% of aerosols. The mask includes a pocket for the SecuriTeX antimicrobial filter insert that features a uniform antimicrobial coating for extra protection against microorganisms, created by Liquid X’s proprietary metallic ink. Both mask and insert are made of OEKO-TEX Standard 100 certified fabric. One insert comes with each mask sold.
“We initially started making the masks and antimicrobial filter inserts for our employees, friends and families as a way to provide an increased level of protection during this time,” Vasy stated. “But the feedback was overwhelmingly positive about the breathability and comfort, so we decided to offer them to the public. We want to provide a way for people to protect themselves when the other person isn’t wearing a mask.”