First Graphene has continued to make substantial progress in its objective of commercialising the PureGRAPH® range of graphene products during the December quarter. PureGRAPH® has provided a range of improved performance characteristics in a number of products to which it is added.
The Company continues to maintain a strong working capital position, which will drive the growth of First Graphene with increased production efficiencies and higher manufacturing throughput, market development with new customers and novel graphene applications and global supply capabilities.
Steel Blue and First Graphene showcased safety boots at the Polymers in Footwear event in Berlin In November 2019 FGR and Steel Blue gave a joint presentation at the above exhibition and showcased PureGRAPH® enhanced safety boots. First Graphene Ltd and Steel Blue explained how PureGRAPH® had enabled the development of a range of unique boot component technologies and user benefits which have the potential to revolutionise the safety boot market.
The prototype boots have been manufactured using First Graphene’s PureGRAPH® graphene additives. Unlike competing formulations, this is available in high production volumes with non-aggregated, uniform-sized graphene; this ensures it disperses evenly in thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) masterbatches. The prototype boots incorporate PureGRAPH®-infused TPU soles and polyurethane foam innersoles and had undergone extensive laboratory testing in accredited laboratories.
Tests had been conducted at Viclab Pty Ltd, one of Australia’s leading NATA accredited and independent mechanical testing services.
The prototype boots complied with the following test procedures;
• Impact resistance
• Upper to outsole bond
• Interlayer bond strength
• Slip resistance on ceramic tile floor with NaLS and on steel floor with glycerine
• Sole crack resistance
• Tear strength
• Abrasion (TPU)
• Fuel oil resistance
• Chemical exposure (NaOH)
Steel Blue have continued to test different applications and processes, with ongoing measuring of outcomes by Viclab Pty Ltd. The collaboration led to the successful manufacturing of prototypes, and these are currently being wear trialled in a variety of working environments.
The new boot from Steel Blue incorporates innovative technology with new design solutions to provide significant improvements to safety footwear protection and comfort.
Positive Interim Results from Mining Industry Field Trials
In December, FGR was pleased to announce an update on the Armour-GRAPH™ bucket liner provided by newGen to a major Pilbara iron ore producer.
newGen had provided an Armour-GRAPH™ bucket liner to a major iron ore producer for trial which contained PureGRAPH®20. The bucket had been in use for in excess of 12 weeks at the time it was inspected by the client for assessment of wear, with very pleasing results. The next assessment is due to be undertaken in January.
Preparations were underway to trial PureGRAPH® enhanced materials in equipment used by a second iron ore producer.
Continued Growth in Customer Engagement
Customer growth continued apace during the December quarter, with engagements in the UK, Europe, Asia and Australia markets. The Company’s focus continues to be in the development of elastomers and plastics and the composites industries as it is these markets which have the potential to generate the largest volume of sales.
Activities at the GEIC, Manchester,UK
The Company continues to make effective use of it’s presence as a Tier 1 partner at the Graphene Engineering and Innovation Centre, where the facilities are routinely used to host customer visits and the capabilities deployed to prepare PureGRAPH® dispersions for a range of customer evaluations; from TPU elastomers to coating precursors. The UK team have developed a strong relationship with the academic departments with active relationships with the Chemistry, Civil Engineering, and Composites & Textiles departments.
2019 – A Year in Review
The 2019 calendar year has seen FGR make considerable progress as the world’s leading graphene company. The Company has continued to automate its production process, maintain its high-quality standards and develop its in-house product development and testing platform.
Customer engagement has accelerated as a result of the marketing efforts and the release of the Company’s B2B focussed website.
There has been extensive field testing by customers of the PureGRAPH® range of products, all of which have been successful and resulted in ongoing collaboration. That this process has not manifested itself in more extensive sales is the one area of disappointment. However, as previously stated by Warwick “The larger the organisation the longer the time frame that would typically extend beyond 12 months. Offsetting this though is the prospect of larger size sales.” The Board of Directors and Senior Management team see 2020 as the year in which FGR will achieve significant sales growth, having built a very solid base during 2019.