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First Graphene signs exclusive supply agreement with Steel Blue

Posted By Graphene Council, Wednesday, February 12, 2020
First Graphene Ltd, the leading global producer of advanced graphene products, has signed an exclusive supply agreement with Steel Blue, a major global manufacturer of work boots. Under the supply agreement, Steel Blue will exclusively source graphene and any other graphite or graphene products from First Graphene over a 2-year term.

First Graphene recently partnered with Steel Blue to develop an effective manufacturing process, with graphene being incorporated successfully into thermoplastic polyurethane masterbatches, used for the production of the soles and other components of safety boots. This work was followed by wear trials and independent product testing by Viclab Pty Ltd, one of Australia’s leading NATA accredited testing facilities. The results showed an increase in abrasion and tensile strength, potentially leading to extended product life, plus enhanced heat transfer and reduction in weight.

First Graphene’s Managing Director, Craig McGuckin, explains that, “The new supply agreement highlights the confidence that Steel Blue has in our PureGRAPH® materials and in our ability to deliver large volumes of graphene over an extended period. PureGRAPH® has the ability to help our customers throughout industry transform the characteristics of existing products and materials. For example, PureGRAPH® additives are a key enabler in taking elastomers, composites, coatings and concrete to new levels of performance and we’re actively working with customers in these sectors. As a result, we anticipate that the supply agreement with Steel Blue will be the first in a growing number to be signed during 2020.”

Chief Executive Officer, at Steel Blue, Garry Johnson, commented, “Steel Blue is committed to developing innovative solutions for our customers. We’re excited by the innovations we have developed with First Graphene. We look forward to bringing exciting new safety technologies to the global work boot market.”

Tags:  Craig McGuckin  First Graphene  Garry Johnson  Graphene  Graphite  Steel Blue  Viclab Pty Ltd 

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First Graphene - Quarterly Activities Report

Posted By Graphene Council, Friday, January 31, 2020

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)
Tensile
Hydrolysis
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.

Tags:  First Graphene  Graphene  newGen  polymers  Steel Blue  Viclab Pty Ltd 

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First Graphene Announces Steel Blue Signs Supply Agreement

Posted By Graphene Council, Monday, January 27, 2020

First Graphene is pleased to announce the execution of a supply agreement with Footwear Industries Pty Ltd (trading as “Steel Blue”) for the exclusive supply of PureGRAPH®10 for a twenty-four month term (“Supply Agreement”).

In August 2019, FGR announced that it was able to successfully incorporate PureGRAPH® into a thermoplastic polyurethane (“TPU”). Previously, the ability to successfully disperse graphene into a TPU masterbatch had been a major limitation for the graphene industry. Extensive research by FGR has resulted in a manufacturing method which has overcome this.

While existing TPU’s already possess high abrasion resistance and tensile strength, the incorporation of PureGRAPH® has improved mechanical properties while providing additional benefits in thermal heat transfer and chemical resistance whilst also reducing permeability.

Steel Blue will look to release future work boots with graphene components, including a TPU sole. This will potentially provide new design solutions and improvements in manufacturing processes and the comfort of the boot.

As announced on 15 November 2019, tests on prototype boots were 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)
Tensile
Hydrolysis
Fuel oil resistance
Chemical exposure (NaOH)

By including PureGRAPH® additives into the sole, improvements in key properties such as tear strength and abrasion resistance have been measured. Steel Blue have continued to test different applications and processes, with ongoing measuring of outcomes by Viclab Pty Ltd.

Upon successful testing, Steel Blue will look to incorporate PureGRAPH into existing and future models of boots, including the mid-sole and Metguard.

Other Key Terms of Supply Agreement
Pursuant to the Supply Agreement, Steel Blue will exclusively source graphene and any other graphite or graphene products from FGR.

FGR’s supply of its graphene products to Steel Blue will initially be exclusive for application in the production of safety footwear for sale in Australia and New Zealand. Following the initial term, exclusivity will only be available to Steel Blue if Steel Blue has achieved (and continues to maintain) a minimum order quantity. The initial minimum order quantity to be achieved in the second year of the Supply Agreement is two (2) tonnes of PureGRAPH®. Based on the currently agreed ordering schedule, product supply to Steel Blue in year one is anticipated to progress to an annualised basis of one (1) tonne as adoption commences across the Steel Blue footwear range and product lines.

Each party has the right to early termination if there is a material breach of the obligations of the other party. Additionally, Steel Blue has the option to extend the initial 24-month term for an additional 48 months.
 
Craig McGuckin, Managing Director for First Graphene Ltd., said, “The execution of this Supply Agreement represents the first of several anticipated for 2020. We are pleased to have worked with Steel Blue to develop a unique range of safety boots for local and export markets. Graphene is helping our customers to develop new products not previously seen with non-graphene technologies. PureGRAPH® additives are a key enabler in taking elastomers, composites, coatings and concrete materials to a new level and we will continue to seek out further new applications and markets where graphene can add value.”

Garry Johnson, Chief Executive Officer of Steel Blue said “Steel Blue is committed to developing innovative solutions for our customers. We’re excited by the product we have developed with First Graphene. These are two innovative, Western Australian founded companies who are taking new technologies to a world market.’’

Tags:  Craig McGuckin  First Graphene  Garry Johnson  Graphene  Steel Blue 

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Nano-enhanced Boots Successfully Passed Safety Tests

Posted By Graphene Council, Monday, October 14, 2019
Updated: Tuesday, October 15, 2019
First Graphene, in collaboration with Steel Blue, has successfully completed safety tests for graphene-enhanced boots which will be used in various industrial sectors. This is the first time that graphene has been used successfully in thermoplastic polyurethane masterbatch, which presents considerable benefits including improved wear and chemical resistance, enhanced heat transfer, and reduced permeability.

This is the first time that graphene has successfully been incorporated into a thermoplastic polyurethane masterbatch and offers considerable advantages, including even greater wear and chemical resistance, better thermal heat transfer and reduced permeability.

Steel Blue is a major global manufacturer of work boots, with a reputation for innovative design to improve comfort, durability and safety. The adoption of graphene to boost these features still further is a continuation of this philosophy, as Chief Executive Officer, Garry Johnson, explains, “Steel Blue is committed to developing innovative solutions for our customers. We’re excited by these recent developments with First Graphene and look forward to delivering these solutions to our market.”

The prototype boots have been manufactured using First Graphene’s PureGRAPH 10 graphene powder. Unlike competing formulations, this is available in high production volumes with non-aggregated, uniform sized graphene nanoplatelets; this ensures that it disperses evenly in thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) masterbatches.

The prototype boots incorporate PureGRAPH-infused TPU soles and polyurethane foam innersoles and will now undergo extensive laboratory testing, followed by field trials. Craig McGuckin, Managing Director for First Graphene said, “The development work with Steel Blue provides yet another example of how we’re working with customers to commercialise the development of graphene, to transform the properties of materials used in many different applications, from elastomers and composites, to concrete and specialised industrial coatings.”

Tags:  coatings  composites  Craig McGuckin  First Graphene  Garry Johnson  Graphene  graphene enhanced polymer  Steel Blue 

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First Graphene announce PureGRAPH Incorporated into Steel Blue Safety Boots

Posted By Graphene Council, Wednesday, August 28, 2019
First Graphene is pleased to advise that in conjunction with Steel Blue have manufactured prototype sets of safety boots incorporating PureGRAPH®10.

The boots were made last week at Steel Blue’s Malaga WA factory and incorporated PureGRAPH® into the safety capped boot TPU soles and polyurethane foam innersole.

Full boots and the sole samples will be exposed to extensive laboratory tests which are expected to exceed current industry standards for safety footwear. Following laboratory testing it is anticipated extensive field trials, will be conducted, lasting approximately six months.

The incorporation of PureGRAPH® into a thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) is a major advance for FGR. Previously, the successful dispersion of graphene into a TPU masterbatch has been a major graphene industry issue. Extensive research by FGR has resulted in a manufacturing method which has overcome what was previously seen as a real issue.

While existing TPU’s already possess high abrasion resistance and tensile strength it is anticipated the incorporation of PureGRAPH® will improve mechanical properties while providing additional benefits in thermal heat transfer, chemical resistance and reduced permeability. 

FGR will be conducting extensive laboratory tests on the PureGRAPH® infused TPU and polyurethane foam inner sole in Australia and Manchester. Steel Blue safety boot properties are being enhanced by PureGRAPH® in the Metatarsal Guard (Steel Blue’s Met-Guard), which is specially designed to protect the metatarsal area of the foot that extends from the toes. This is a popular choice for mining workers, factory hands and drillers, who often need the extra protection the Met-Guard affords. 

The incorporation of PureGRAPH® in the Met-Guard will improve both flexibility and strength of the product.

“The development work with Steel Blue provides yet another example of FGR working on real industrial applications” said Craig McGuckin, Managing Director First Graphene Ltd. “Like FGR, Steel Blue is an Australian company and the world leader in its field of safety boots systems. These developments continue to enhance that reputation.”

Garry Johnson, Chief Executive Officer of Steel Blue said “Steel Blue is committed to developing innovative solutions for our customers. We’re excited by these recent developments with FGR and look forward to delivering these solutions to our market.’’

Tags:  Craig McGuckin  First Graphene  Garry Johnson  Graphene  PureGRAPH®  Ross Fitzgerald  Steel Blue 

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