Digital Magazine

NIRI Opens Innovation House: State-of-the-art new premises to expand nonwoven and fiber product development and commercialization

Continuing a year of exponential growth and investment, Leeds (UK)-based NIRI has relocated to new headquarters, with a more than $1.5 million investment that more than doubles the size of their facilities and includes seven new laboratories with increased R&D capability.

The new facilities at Innovation House have been designed in close collaboration with NIRI’s textile engineers and material scientists, a 40-strong team with combined experience of more than 400 years of textile science and industrial expertise.  The facility boasts a range of cutting-edge equipment, much of which is bespoke to NIRI.  This purpose-built environment is ideal for the creation of the next generation of nonwoven and fibers, ranging from lightweight fabrics to durable materials, tailor-made for specific client applications. 

Chris Fowler, NIRI Group Founder, highlights NIRI’s continuing expansion plans:

“We’ve invested in more equipment, more people, bigger and better-equipped labs.  This move will help enable us to deliver our three-year strategy for growth, with the  expansion of our functional chemistry, formulation, and polymer engineering capability; recruitment of 20 additional technical textile scientists; acquisition of complimentary operations, and the expansion of our US and EU presence. Having successfully proven our model we will soon be seeking the right investment partner to accelerate our growth and deliver positive impact to more organisations across the globe”. 

Over the last 17 years, and guided by the vision of its founders, Fowler and Professor Stephen Russell (Group Technical Director), NIRI has established itself as a global leader in sustainable innovation.  NIRI has a proven track record of transforming raw materials into fully functional prototypes, ready to be scaled up and developed for commercial release across consumer and industrial sectors.  The new facilities at Innovation House allow for continued expansion and for further ground-breaking scientific R&D, collaborating with businesses and utilizing cutting-edge technologies to accelerate client growth.

Dr. Matthew Tipper, NIRI’s CEO, comments on the rationale for investment and on the expertise underpinning the company’s growth: “In today’s fast-paced and rapidly changing world, unprecedented levels of innovation are required to develop the next generation of textile products and processes.  Our team of world-class scientists, engineers, and analysts apply technical excellence with commercial understanding to unlock ideas and translate them into commercially viable products.

Our unrivalled strategic and development services have delivered business growth and competitive advantage to our clients through highly volatile market environments.  Having completed over 950 projects for over 400 clients across the whole of the textile supply chain, our growth is mirrored by the value and success that we provide. 

Improved sustainability is at the forefront of our work, and we are excited to be delivering positive impact for our clients, ensuring a more sustainable future.”

At the opening of Innovation House, the demand for sustainable product development was a headline topic.  Unveiling a plaque to commemorate the event, the Rt. Hon. Hilary Benn, MP for Leeds Central, highlighted the value nonwoven innovation has for society as a whole: “You are helping to design the future… Creating products that are genuinely biodegradable, will not add to the problems of the planet, that will help us to solve climate change; you couldn’t be doing a more important job.”

Fowler reiterates this, as a key driver for NIRI: “The vast majority of our work is addressing sustainability.  NIRI helps companies reduce reliance on plastics and meet new regulatory standards.  We help reduce the environmental impact of numerous products for clients across a host of sectors, with R&D and commercial solutions to improve biodegradability, compostability, dispersibility, end of life disassembly, working towards a truly circular economy.

Our investment and the opening of Innovation House represents a major milestone in NIRI’s history and is testament to the work we carry out every day; work that delivers a truly positive impact for our clients, for society, and for the planet.  We are now able to help even more companies to develop better and more sustainable products, worldwide.”

Learn more at www.nonwovens-innovation.com.

Subscribe to PFFC's EClips Newsletter