The Lubrizol Corp., Wickliffe, Ohio, has unveiled its fashion-functional Multi-Tech Commuter (MTC) Jacket that provides the wearer with warmth-on-demand, without added weight or bulk. The jacket is the result of a multiple-partner collaboration among experts in the wearables market, including Lubrizol, Principled Design, ACI Materials, and Butler Technologies. The partnership took the project from concept to completion in just nine months.
The project underscores the importance of systems thinking in the development of novel wearable electronics: combining design, material science, applications know-how, and value chain partners having the right mindset and capabilities to turn ideas into prototypes and then scale up to commercial viability.
Lubrizol commissioned Despina Papadopoulos from New York-based Principled Design to design and oversee the project, including development of the supply chain and contract assembly of jacket components into final garment form.
The project “highlights the importance of collaboration in the development of wearable technology applications,” Papadopoulos says. “We had the opportunity to work with some very talented people and brought together design, materials science and advanced electronic printing technologies to bring to life a heated jacket that is incredibly light and soft to the touch.”
The jacket showcases innovative technologies from Lubrizol’s Engineered Polymers and Performance Coatings portfolios, especially well-suited for electronics, including flexible hybrid electronics, wearables, mobile devices and accessories and 3D printing.
“First and foremost, our jacket had to look good, feel good and be easy to maintain. In other words, we designed this jacket for humans,” says Papadopoulos.
To incorporate Lubrizol’s material solutions into a wearable platform, Principled Design selected ACI Materials, Goleta, Calif., for its expertise in conductive inks, encapsulants and resistance heater flexible-circuit technology; and Butler Technologies Inc., Butler, Pa., for its capabilities in developing printed electronics, proof of concept and prototyping.
Designed for stylish and functional street-to-office wearability, the Multi-Tech Commuter Jacket features Lubrizol materials that ensure function, comfort and durability over the life of the garment. Stretch denim and polyester fabrics move and breathe with the wearer for comfortable motion and mobility.
ACI’s flexible circuit heating element with stretchable encapsulation providing protection for conductive traces located across the inside of the jacket’s back provides warmth on demand – without the bulk of additional clothing layers. Fabric treatment at the elbows and palms with Lubrizol coating technology enhances garment durability both in-use and when laundering.
The Lubrizol Corp., a Berkshire Hathaway company, is a global company that combines complex, specialty chemicals to optimize the quality, performance and value of customers’ products while reducing their environmental impact. Recyclability is based on access to a readily available standard recycling program that supports such materials.
The new product was shown at the IDTechEx Show in Santa Clara, Calif., this month.