IBEX 365 News
2021 IBEX Innovation Award Interview with Guardtex
News Date: March 22, 2022
Patented Kanvaslight technology by Guardtex transforms a textile structure into a broad lighting surface. It illuminates fabric and generates diffused light that’s perfect for creating ambiance when gathering and entertaining. It creates a smart, clean installation where you need it.
What problem does this product solve?
Many boats have a soft Bimini but few have a way to light it to enjoy the evening hours. Kanvaslight brings added functionality to any textile structure.
How did you become aware of this problem?
In France, it’s a tradition to gather before dinner and have a moment with drinks and starters. This moment called “apéritif” is usually around 6 to 8 pm and is basically happy hour. Thierry Plagué, the inventor of Kanvaslight & CEO of Guardtex, was boating with friends when they ran late and couldn’t enjoy this moment in the dark. There’s nothing like necessity (or inconvenience) to spark innovation and so Kanvaslight was created.
What audience is this product designed to reach?
Kanvaslight can be made to fit all boats with Bimini tops and sunshades including center consoles, dayboats, sailboats, pontoons, and so on.
What is noteworthy about the technology used?
Kanvaslight uses two components: a light injector and a luminous fabric. The light injector creates a powerful beam of light that’s polarized by an optical coupler and injected into fabric weave through a sleeve of polished optical fibers. No electric current passes through the fabric. The product only transports light through treated optical fibers. Kanvaslight is safe and certified (CE and UL). The technology is designed specifically for outdoor use and can be used in canvas tops, seating, and other décor.
How is it different from any other solution on the market?
The illuminating fabric doesn’t transport any heat-creating electricity so there’s no flammability issue. Kanvaslight uses 600 lumen LEDs to create warm white between 2700K and 3000K. Created to withstand the demands of the marine environment, it’s waterproof (IPX6) and UV resistant. Kanvaslight also incorporates thermal regulation and fuses to ensure user safety. It consumes little energy (2.5 or 15W) and provides prolonged use in all types of climatic conditions (5 ° to 95 ° F). Kanvaslight is flexible and you can roll, shake or even crumple the weave without damaging its light capabilities. There’s no other illuminating fabric in the market today.
What obstacles did you encounter in the R&D process?
“Kanvaslight is a new technology that required a new production process, new machines, and a lot of testing,” says Jean-Come Maziere of Guardtex. “To manufacture this technology, we first had to re-imagine our capabilities and create a high-performance product. The second challenge was providing tools to our clients so they can integrate Kanvaslight into their products and teach their customers about this ground-breaking technology. To assist, we developed videos, manuals, and re-marketing materials.
What customizations can be enabled to personalize this product?
We offer the ability to create custom dimensions including width, length, and optical fiber extensions. In 2022, Kanvaslight will also introduce color lighting (rather than only white). The illuminating fabric will remain identical, but the light injector will produce colors controlled by a phone or another digital display.
How has the product been received?
“Since we presented Kanvaslight to North American customers, we received incredible feedback and comments,” says Maziere. “We’re working with numerous OEMs and canvas fabricators in North America and we have exciting new uses including in flooring and other décor.”
Is there anything else you’d like to share?
At Guardtex, we design and manufacture high-tech fabric solutions. With our four areas of expertise – engineering, digitization, cutting, and assembly – we create custom solutions and accessories ranging in size from just a few centimeters to large formats measuring several dozen meters.
For more information about the 2021 IBEX Innovation Award winners, click here.