As the wave of ESG has overtaken the world, the 2023 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) held early this year centered around the theme of sustainable development to address global challenges. A diverse range of innovative solutions presented by attending participants were showcased. Among the exhibitors, Taiwan's Mbran Filtra participated in CES with a proprietary innovative filtration material, which ultimately won an award in the "Environmental Protection" category, for its potential in bringing a never-before-seen contribution to all humankind. In fact, with assistance from the Taiwan Tech Arena (TTA), Mbran Filtra has participated and won awards for two consecutive years. At CES 2022, Mbran Filtra won an award for "the world's smallest filter."
Green Chang, CEO of Mbran Filtra, said that the company participated in CES 2022 and won an award with a product co-developed with partners. In 2023, the company once again took part in the trade show and won an award with its proprietary filtration material. There are two key aspects behind Mbran Filtra winning the awards. Firstly, the company adopted green manufacturing processes as early as 2020, replacing chemical materials with non-toxic, eco-friendly alternatives. As a result, generation of toxic waste is prevented in the production process, thus resolving waste treatment issues. Secondly, in 2022, the production process was further upgraded to a low-carbon, biomass manufacturing process, reducing carbon emissions by 50% to 70% during membrane production. Consequently, it has gained favor from equipment suppliers and end-users.
Additionally, aside from assisting Mbran Filtra participating in CES, in mid-2022, the TTA also extended a special invitation to former CES award-winning teams to share their experience in drafting successful press releases. This helped Mbran Filtra gain insights into utilizing the media as marketing channels to attract the attention of more global brands and investors at the international event in 2023.
Gaining Foothold in Membrane Materials Market Through Unique Technical Capability
Founded in 2019, Mbran Filtra is dedicated to the research and development of membrane filtration materials, making it the first company in Taiwan to produce microfiltration hollow fiber membrane products. The company offers a wide variety of products based on microfiltration hollow fiber membrane technology, including hydrophobic and hydrophilic membranes made from polymer materials, such as polyethersulfone (PES), polyamide (Nylon), polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF), and polypropylene (PP), which are able to satisfy requirements in different application scenarios.
Green Chang said that in the past, Taiwan relied heavily on foreign supplies as it lacked the capabilities to produce microfiltration membrane materials. While many companies have attempted to enter this field, no products were ultimately launched due to technical limitations. Despite the company faced competition from international brands such as 3M and Mitsubishi at the initial stage of establishment, during the COVID-19 pandemic, major global membrane suppliers were experiencing unstable supply. This enabled Mbran Filtra to utilize the experience it accumulated to draw the attention of businesses, prompting them to begin using its products.
For instance, a major global sports brand has taken an interest in Mbran Filtra's technical capabilities. The brand utilizes Mbran Filtra's membrane material to produce miniaturized filters in a sports bottle designed for outdoor athletes. The product features an ability to filter raw and unprocessed water into safe drinking water. The water bottle is now extremely popular on the market.
Debuting in Medical Devices Industry, Transitioning to Diversified Business Development
In fact, after receiving recognition from the 2022 CES award, Mbran Filtra has since gained significant global market visibility, leading many companies to actively seek collaboration opportunities. In earthquake-prone Japan, in which its people often have heightened alertness, in view of a shortage of membrane materials among suppliers, the Japanese manufacturer who was responsible for producing emergency kits decided to collaborate with Mbran Filtra in 2022. We co-developed a filter cartridge that could be installed in plastic bottles for use during various types of natural disasters to ensure filtration of untreated water into safe drinking water. Currently, the filter cartridge is in the final stage of product certification. Furthermore, charity organizations such as Tzu Chi, which has long been dedicated to philanthropic endeavors, and Love Binti International, a non-governmental organization, have also partnered with Mbran Filtra to produce similar filters. These products have been delivered to countries affected by typhoons and floods, as well as underserved regions in Africa, to ensure that local populations have access to clean drinking water.
Green Chang pointed out that due to the shortage of raw materials, the global supply of membrane materials remains highly unstable. The instability not only affects industrial wastewater treatment and replaceable filters, but also triggers a regional reshuffling in the dialysis consumables market. As such, BenQ Dialysis has also begun working with Mbran Filtra to achieve a one-stop production of hemodialysis machines in Taiwan using the experience accumulated by the two companies in this field. As opposed to filtering bacteria and impurities in water which requires hollow fiber membrane pores of 200 nm, hemodialysis requires pores ranging from 40 nm to 80 nm. As such, there is hardly any difficulties in the technological adjustment. With our collaborative efforts with BenQ Dialysis to automate the application of membrane onto the outer case, the production capacity will be boosted, and opportunities for cross-domain ODM/OEM collaborations will be enhanced. As a result, the ongoing project is progressing smoothly, and mass production is expected to begin once the TFDA certification is obtained.
It is worth noting that BenQ Dialysis was extremely impressed with the membrane products of Mbran Filtra and proposed to assist in the production of membrane materials during the partnership. If it goes well, the production capacity of membrane materials will be boosted substantially, which will lead to an increase in overall market share. Furthermore, due to numerous requests from industrial manufacturers for filtering trace amounts of heavy metal-laden wastewater, Mbran Filtra has initiated the development of integrating graphene into its current membrane materials. It is expected that relevant products will be launched by the end of 2023 or the beginning of 2024, marking Mbran Filtra's entry into the heavy metal wastewater filtration market, and securing a strong footing for its long-term development.
Hollow fiber filtration membrane produced via low-carbon biomass manufacturing processes, and sterile filter cartridges designed using the membrane to make PET bottles for disaster prevention