South Korea and Australia create manufacturing partnership
South Korean chemical manufacturer the Kyung-In Synthetic Corporation (KISCO) and CSIRO, Australia’s national science agency, have agreed to take a minority shareholding in Melbourne-based company Boron Molecular — a move that is set to enable the next generation of flexible phone screens and other high-tech products.
Boron Molecular was originally spun out of CSIRO 20 years ago and successfully took a suite of products to market that are now used by global pharmaceutical companies as building blocks for new drugs. In 2015 the company signed a master licence agreement with CSIRO for the commercial exploitation of a suite of CSIRO polymer and advanced material technologies. The newly announced investment should enable the continued growth of Boron Molecular’s manufacturing capacity in Australia, using CSIRO technologies to open up global markets.
“Now with the manufacturing capability, international reach and reputation of KISCO, we can offer CSIRO’s chemical technologies at scale to a global market,” said Zoran Manev, Managing Director of Boron Molecular.
Boron Molecular and KISCO will use a suite of CSIRO technologies to enable manufacturing of high-purity, precision-engineered polymers for flexible electronics initially, as well as many other applications in health, industry and agriculture. KISCO CEO and President Dr Sung Yong Cho said, “We’re looking forward to making the first products from this new partnership available to Korean electronics companies this year.”
CSIRO processes and technologies that Boron Molecular are commercialising include:
- Flow chemistry — CSIRO is pioneering the use of flow chemistry in Australia and has helped Boron Molecular integrate this efficient, cost-effective, waste-reducing technology into its operations. Flexible electronics are created using polymers made through flow chemistry.
- CSIRO’s reversible addition-fragmentation chain transfer (RAFT), which enables the production of polymers that are designed with enhanced properties for a myriad of uses across health, industry and agriculture.
- Metal–organic frameworks (MOFs), used to absorb molecules and harvest water from air.
- MS3 art conservation resin.
Dr John Tsanaktsidis, Advanced Fibres and Chemical Industries Research Director at CSIRO, said the agreement will “bolster Australia’s sovereign manufacturing capability, create local jobs and open the door for Boron Molecular to further commercialise CSIRO’s technology in new global markets via KISCO’s international links and production capacity”.
Dr Cho concluded, “CSIRO is a powerhouse of chemistry and materials research and through our partnership with Boron Molecular we can scale up and deliver this research to new markets.”
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