August 18, 2006

TrapTek’s coconut fiber keeps clothes cool, dry, odor-free

LONGMONT – If the castaways on Gilligan’s Island had been stranded with TrapTek they would have been much more comfortable.

The fearless crew had plenty of coconut shells, but they sure didn’t use them to their fullest potential. That’s where TrapTek LLC, a marketing and intellectual property company in Longmont, would’ve come in handy.

TrapTek has figured a way to use carbon from coconut shells to help clothing better control moisture, manage odor and even protect wearers from ultraviolet rays, making the company the recipient of the 2006 IQ Award for commercial and industrial products and services.

Coconut shells are a waste product, but are a source of activated carbon useful for filtering impurities from water and air, while absorbing unpleasant odors. TrapTek’s activated carbon particles help spread and evaporate perspiration. It’s similar to how water evaporates quickly off a blackboard when wiped with a damp cloth.

Drier also means being more comfortable in cold weather,” says Gregory Haggquist, a physical chemist, the inventor of the technology and TrapTek’s founder. “We believe that coconut carbon is the right choice scientifically, and by recycling a natural material it’s a responsible choice.”

TrapTek calls its new inventions Cocona fibers and Cocona yarns. Company officials say the fabrics are lightweight, comfortable and retain all of the conventional product features, such as stretch. What’s more, the company claims that Cocona products will retain or even improve their performance as they age.

But things didn’t start out so smooth.

The company began on a day when Haggquist got to wondering if an odor-adsorbing fabric could be of any use to consumers. It didn’t take him long to figure yes.

The first set of materials he developed weren’t very comfortable. “Everywhere we tried to sell this first set of fabric we were told to put it into the yarn,” Haggquist says. “The problem is if you just put activated carbon into yarn you get black yarn with no odor-absorbent properties.”

That’s when he came up with the concept of using a removable protective layer on the activated carbon. “We could coat the activated carbon with a protective layer and then remove that layer later when the fabric was made,” he says.

That concept allowed Haggquist to produce fibers, yarns and fabrics with activated carbon and start TrapTek in 2000.

The products are protected through patents and intellectual property, and are found in clothing, footwear, socks, fleece, pet beds, chemical warfare protection, homeland defense applications and automotive products.

Time Magazine tapped TrapTek’s technology as a one of the “most amazing inventions of 2005” used in the bicycle company Cannondale’s biking jerseys, bib shorts, gloves and socks.

Reviews say the Cannondale fabrics exhibit a “significant breakthrough” by not only managing or wicking moisture, but also drying at unprecedented rates keeping cyclist cool and dry.

Additionally, the knits naturally trap odor and UV in the carbon pore structure, keeping the finished products fresh and lightweight.

“Being recognized by Time Magazine promotes our fibers many benefits to the consumer and the amazing fact that it comes from coconuts,” says Brad Poorman, TrapTek president.

Cannondale first started working with the TrapTek product a year ago, and company officials say they immediately saw attributes that differentiated the product from others on the market.

Haggquist originally spent two years going after Reebok, Nike and DuPont, but eventually concluded that big-name brands preferred established technologies for their products. In 2002, the company shifted its focus to niche markets, including companies making dog beds, undergarments, hunting apparel, hiking boots and body armor. To produce the treatment in large quantities to meet anticipated demand, TrapTek is using a Connecticut-based manufacturer.

Haggquist says that because the basic concept of TrapTek is adding active particles into base materials, fibers, yarns and fabrics for apparel “are just a start” to where the technology can go.

He says consumer products such as food packaging, disposal products, feminine hygiene, baby products, carpeting, air filtration and automotive parts are just some of the many applications for the technology. However, apparel is presently the company’s main focus point to launch the Cocona brand.

TrapTek’s main product to date is Cocona polyester yarn, which is either knitted or woven into fabric. The next products will be Cocona nylon, Cocona polypropylene and Cocona waterproof breathable membranes.

The company will start showing those products this fall. “And we have many other products in the pipeline but can’t disclose them now,” Haggquist says.

Haggquist describes TrapTek as a company that’s “focused on science” with a key objective to develop and sell all-natural ingredient products based on scientific research conducted in our own labs.

“A great concept is fine, but it takes a great team to make it happen. I feel we have a wonderful group to make it happen,” Haggquist says.

TrapTek LLC

1831 Lefthand Circle, Suite G, Longmont, CO 80501

720-652-9726

www.traptek.com

Gregory Haggquist, founder,

Brad Poorman, president.

Employees: 9 full-time, 1 part-time

Founded: 2000

LONGMONT – If the castaways on Gilligan’s Island had been stranded with TrapTek they would have been much more comfortable.

The fearless crew had plenty of coconut shells, but they sure didn’t use them to their fullest potential. That’s where TrapTek LLC, a marketing and intellectual property company in Longmont, would’ve come in handy.

TrapTek has figured a way to use carbon from coconut shells to help clothing better control moisture, manage odor and even protect wearers from ultraviolet rays, making the company the recipient of the 2006 IQ Award for commercial and industrial products and services.

Coconut shells are a waste…

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