Patagonia Inc., a leading designer of core outdoor, surf and sport-related apparel, equipment, footwear and accessories, announced today the impending launch of its Encapsil™ water-repellent down technology. In 2010, the company entered into a partnership with advanced materials company AeonClad Coatings to develop a patented, environmentally sustainable, plasma-based coating to create water-repellent down with unparalleled fill power of 1000.
September 2012, Patagonia converted its initial investment to a 15% equity stake in AeonClad Coatings. The two companies have established a state-of-the-art RD&D laboratory in Austin, Texas. Patagonia's first Encapsil™ down garments will debut March 1, 2013 in limited, special-edition quantities online and in select Patagonia retail stores in the U.S., Europe and Japan.
Water-repellent down garments are, for the first time, available from several manufacturers in the outdoor industry. Patagonia, however, has taken a unique approach with Encapsil™. The patented plasma nanotechnology uses safe, silicone-based chemistry that, unlike competitors' products, is free of fluorocarbons. Patagonia's Encapsil™ technology not only generates water-repellent down on a par with competitive offerings, but also delivers a significant advantage no other manufacturer can: an unprecedented, off-the-charts fill power of 1000 cubic inches per ounce.
Rose Marcario , Patagonia's COO and CFO, said today that "Patagonia is proud to announce its equity stake in AeonClad Coatings and resulting Encapsil™ technology. This investment represents Patagonia's strategic approach to expanded technology partnerships and owned product innovations."
"Our partnership with AeonClad has created a rare opportunity to enhance the performance of down – most notably with regard to water-repellency, durability and cutting-edge fill power," noted Lee Turlington , Patagonia's global vice president of product, "Our Encapsil™ technology and this unique plasma deposition process opens the door for the development of exciting future product innovations - even beyond down, even beyond the outdoor industry."
Encapsil™ technology uses a proprietary process and equipment that safely and dramatically increases the down feather's loft, warmth-to-weight-ratio, strength and water resistance. The unique pulse-plasma treatment modifies the molecular structure of the down fiber to make it more hydrophobic, but also strengthens its delicate, complex, tree-like structure. This, in turn, boosts the down's lofting power by more than a third.
"We have a 40-year-long heritage of breakthrough innovation within the outdoor industry," says Casey Sheahan , Patagonia's CEO. "Encapsil™ water-repellent down, with its unprecedented 1000-fill-power is a game-changing technology that launches the company into a fifth decade of significant firsts."