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Energizer Fabrics

Schoeller Textil's energear™ fabric technology reflects the body's far infrared rays back to the body to enhance performance and wellbeing.

Janet Bealer Rodie, Managing Editor

S choeller Textil AG, Switzerland, is well known for its cutting-edge performance textile technologies, a number of which have won innovation awards at various exhibitions and other venues. Schoeller's internal development and design department works closely with universities and institutes such as the Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology (EMPA) in developing its technologies, and the company invests 5 to 10 percent of its annual revenues in capital improvements including state-of-the-art machinery.

Schoeller's latest technology, energear™, is claimed to recover far infrared rays (FIRs) radiated by the body and reflect them back to the body to increase oxygen levels in the blood, thereby improving performance and preventing premature fatigue, improving energy regeneration, shortening the warm-up phase of physical activity, and enhancing concentration and general wellbeing. The technology is a component in a wool/polyester schoeller®-shape fabric that won a Première Vision Innovation Prize 2010 for its combination of "refined elegance with exceptional performance underscoring the concept of wellness."

Fabrics featuring energear™ radiate far infrared rays back to the body (A), while retaining their breathability (B).

Based on a concept long recognized in Asian cultures and developed using biomimicry principles, energear comprises a proprietary titanium/mineral matrix that utilizes the therapeutic properties and the ability of those minerals to reflect the body's FIRs. A component of the infrared (IR) spectrum between visible light and microwaves, FIRs occur near the microwave end of that spectrum, and they are emitted by living beings as well as the sun and any material that has a temperature.

Energear's concept and performance claims might seem a bit far out, but third-party science-based tests have shown that fabrics offering the technology do provide the benefits claimed at significant levels for the majority of test participants. For example, 62 percent of participants recorded significant to very significant improvement in lactic acid levels — a factor in muscle performance and fatigue — during physical exercise; and 53 percent recorded significant to very significant heart rate reduction — of 10 to more than 20 beats per minute.

Test participants ranged from serious athletes such as runners, climbers and the like to the average person on the street. "Interestingly, the beneficial results have shown up more in people who are not as physically fit," said Tom Weinbender, president, Schoeller Textil USA.

Energear can be applied to fabric by direct integration in the fabric, integration in a coating or a membrane, or as a finish. The technology does not affect the fabric's breathability or hand, and it can be applied in conjunction with any of Schoeller's other technologies without impacting their performance. The application is permanent, and, as with all of Schoeller's technologies, energear complies with bluesign® environmental, health and safety criteria.

Schoeller is offering energear on its schoeller-shape urban-apparel, dryskin performance, WB400 soft-shell and WB-formula outerwear fabric lines.

For more information about energear™, contact Shannon Walton shannon@schoellerusa.com; or Tom Weinbender tom@schoellerusa.com.

November/December 2010