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INVESTING IN PENNSYLVANIA’S FUTURE

Noble Fiber Technologies’ X-static® Helps American Troops Stay Healthy and Fresh

The Romans touted the healing powers of silver and used it to cover wounds. Cyrus the Great, in the 5th Century B.C., would only let his troops go to war if they carried water in silver vessels – something he knew would keep the water supply clean and safe.

Noble Fiber Technolgies

X-static is a fiber made with a layer of 99.9% pure silver, which is permanently bonded to the surface of a textile fiber.

Today, thanks to Scranton-based Noble Fiber Technologies, American troops are also going into battle carrying silver—using it to keep the microbes that cause offensive body odors at bay.

The company’s X-static offers all the benefits known to be inherent to pure silver, only in a new format: textile technology. Originally developed for medical and industrial use, X-static is finding its way into products being used all over the world.

Ideal for Troops in the Field

“T-shirts and socks with X-static are standard issue for the Marines Corp, the Army, and other branches of the military,” says Jim Walsh, CFO of Noble. “I’ve read comments from people in the field who say they’ve worn a T-shirt for 12 straight days and, despite the heat and condition, it had no smell, no odor.

“Ironically, odor is the least of the protections which we are providing to our soldiers,” says Walsh. “Since the silver technology in our military products is the same which is used in our medical bandages, our young men in arms are in reality wearing bandages which is no small consideration in a hostile environment. Our real business is saving lives.”

While this may be small consolation for our troops sweating it out in Iraq, Afghanistan and other parts of the world, it does bring the troops a level of hygiene and comfort – not to mention keeping the bugs at bay.

In addition to its anti-microbial properties, which eliminate odor-causing bacteria, X-static is all natural, nontoxic and contains no chemicals or pesticides. An added bonus for troops in the desert is the heat transfer property – it is cooler in the summer, warmer in the winter.

Humble Beginnings and a Helping Hand

BFTP invested $130,000 in Noble and linked them with university-based research and development capabilities to help develop X-static. But according to Bill McNally, a founder of Noble, the money was not the most important thing.

“BFTP had tremendous faith in X-static and all its possibilities,” he says. “When I first went to them, the staff told us they would help us if we made some changes. Our business plan needed a lot of work. They asked us very direct questions, making us think about how to best use our resources. When you work with BFTP, you get the overwhelming and overriding feeling that you are not alone.”

The company currently employs close to 100 people. McNally predicts Noble will be the largest employer in the Scranton area within 10 years.

Growing Demand and a Global Audience

X-static has been thrust into consumer-product markets as a result of the need for a safe and effective anti-microbial solution. X-static is the best anti-microbial solution on the market, yet it is a fiber-technology system uniquely suited to meet several additional market demands.

“We are now in almost every segment of the outdoor world – running, hiking, you name it,” Walsh says. In fact, X-static was used in the running uniform of 61 countries at the 2004 Athens Olympics. Noble’s products are also being used by NASA, the European Space Agency, and for wound care in partnership with Johnson & Johnson.

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This article was featured in
Keynotes October, 2005
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