Ongoing project with biomaterials
Malai Biomaterials is a company started by a material expert and a product designer, and they research and create cruelty free, sustainable materials. They specialise in the material they call Malai, a leather like vegan alternative that is made from fibres and cellulose, that is produced by a bacterial culture deriving sugars from coconut water.
Malai Biomaterials is a startup, and some of the processes are still hand done. Increasing the yield would give them the opportunity to expand and pitch their material to bigger brand willing to use cruelty free alternatives.
In what way might we develop an instrument or a machine or alter existing machines to make the tasks of coating or massaging quicker, more efficient, and reduce area for human error. Additionally, how will this solution potentially eliminate the need to outsource any of these processes, which at the moment adds to 5% of the cost.
What is massaging?
An interesting process developed by malai that breaks the material like you would the spine of a book, and makes it a lot more plyable and leather like. In addition to this, it gives the material that skin like surface texture, making it look more like leather.
This is done by pulling one corner or edge of the material over to the opposite corner or edge, pressing down on the fold with your palm and pushing the fold, moving it across the sheet to the edge or corner you start with.
A boarding machine used in the leather industry was my starting point
Takes up less of the paid for space
Saves time and money from outsourcing
Saves time and energy of in house workers
Higher output, faster than hand done massaging
No dependence on outside factors, transport availability, weather