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THE 1001 USES OF MIKO ECOLOGICAL MICROFIBRE
Italian firm Miko, a partner of Japanese industrial giant Asahi Kasei Group, world leader in the production of microfibre substrates, the development of increasingly ingenious solutions in chemistry and the production of new materials, at the beginning of 2008 launched the first ecological microfibre “Dinamica Evolution”, produced with polyester recycled using an innovative water-based process. This material is suitable for the most diverse applications, because Dinamica Evolution is not simply an ecological microfibre. In fact, according to its specific application, it is capable of meeting the requirements of a range of sectors.
For example, the material can be fire retardant, as required by many sectors where safety is a fundamental prerogative, or ecological microfibre can be anti-fungus and antibacterial, as required by the medical services sector, and it is also very lightfast and resistant to atmospheric agents, indispensable characteristics for outdoor furnishings. “Without forgetting – emphasizes Miko’s CEO Lorenzo Terraneo – that Dinamica Evolution can be easily cleaned with water, a fundamental point if covers are not removable or cannot be washed frequently. These elements have opened doors for us in certain markets, such as the medical, aeronautics, aerospace and outdoor furnishings and even marine sectors”.
The innovative nature of the solution has earned the young Italian firm (founded in June 1996, with approximately 30 employees) a special mention in the Eurispes (European Institute of Political, Social and Economic Studies) “Our Excellence” Report, illustrating 100 Made in Italy success stories. Thanks to Dinamica Evolution, in less than a year the company’s turnover has grown by 15%, to reach 11.5 million Euros at the end of 2008. Forecasts for 2009 predict growth once again in double figures: the target is to achieve an income of 13 million Euros. “To date – recounts Terraneo – our main foreign markets are Germany, Scandinavia, the Benelux countries and the United States. With regard to future outlet markets we are trying to penetrate France (automotive), the UK (automotive and marine), and Eastern Europe”.
“Miko - explains Terraneo – is a dynamic firm, formed by a young team which has always believed in the quality and importance of the product. We started studying ecology right from 1997, in a period when the environmental factor was not yet on the agenda. We can claim to have been innovative for the times, but we certainly didn’t stop at that”. In fact over the years the Italian firm has constructed an advanced laboratory and R&D department to respond to requirements of both clients and the market. “With regard to the development of colour and finishing (antistatic, water-resistant, anti-stain treatments, surface variations) which adapt the product to meet both the technical and style requirements of our various clients, our research is done in-house. Our highly equipped laboratory has been created especially” underlines the CEO. To test their materials, however, the firm relies on external laboratories, which award specific certifications.
When Dinamica Evolution is used for automotive or furnishing applications, it is often “coupled” with various other materials, non-material materials and polyurethane foams. “For this type of research – explains Terraneo – Miko relies on agreements with firms which specialise in the production and application of these materials”.
However, it is not only the technological content which defines Miko as a quality supplier. The reliability of supplies is also guaranteed by ISO quality and system certifications which certify the correctness of the production process. “The loyalty of our clients – adds the CEO – is the most concrete proof, and the incredible growth which we have witnessed in the automotive sector, all of 167% in 2008 over the previous year, show that new clients believe us to be up to their standards. It is not easy to acquire an auto project, because not only the manufacturer’s reliability is taken into consideration, but also that of the firm itself. It is a constant challenge which we try to meet with the maximum levels of professionalism and transparency”.
Indeed, the firm has numerous references in the automotive sector: Miko has supplied ecological microfibre materials to VolksWagen (VW Passat R 36, VW Golf Pirelli, VW Scirocco R20 and R-line, Golf R 20 and R-line), Audi (Audi RS 6), BMW (F01 series 7), Artega (Artega GT), Ford (Ford Focus RS, Ford Taurus and Ford Lincoln MKZ), General Motors (GMX 386 Malibù), Psa (Citroen C4) and Mercedes (New E Class). “We have plans for the future to work with Honda, Opel, Land Rover and Renault”, concludes Terraneo.