Murata Manufacturing, a Japanese-based manufacturer of high-tech electronic components, has partnered with a Japanese supplier of yarns and fabrics, Teijin Frontier, for the research, development, production and sale of a new fabric with antimicrobial and deodorizing properties. Clothing, and in particular sportswear, comes first on the list of future applications for the new fabric, dubbed Pieclex, which will also be used for industrial products and sanitary materials.

Based on Murata’s piezoelectric technology (electric polarization from mechanical stress), Pieclex is said to generate electricity in the garment when expanded or contracted by the movements of the wearer. The electric fields inside the fibers then eliminate bacteria. The company also highlights the eco-friendly characteristics of Pieclex, as it is produced from plant-derived fermented starch. It does not require chemical agents or solvents and is thus carbon-neutral.

The new joint venture company, also called Pieclex, was formed in April with capital investments of 100 million yen (€820,000-$927,000), with Murata holding a controlling share of 51 percent and Teijin holding the rest. According to the company, production and sales of the new fabric will start in the course of this year and both partners will aim to reach revenues of ¥10 billion (€82m-$93m) by 2025.

Murata is a listed company with annual revenues of ¥1,534 billion (€12.57bn-$14.22bn) in 2019/20. It is a supplier for high-tech brands such as Apple and Huawei, with a global presence. Teijin Frontier is a branch of the larger Japanese Teijin group which had revenues of ¥318 billion (€2.61bn-$2.95bn) in 2018.