Spotlight on Vistafolia
In early 2021, Vistafolia started collaborating with the University of Surrey, following the successful award of a 2-Associate Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP), working with the School of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, Centre for Environment and Sustainability, and the Department of Mechanical Engineering Sciences. The aim of the KTP project is to develop a bio-based polymer for their artificial foliage product with recyclable qualities for a better end of life use and to reduce plastic waste.
Established in 2014, Vistafolia designs, manufactures, and supplies unique and versatile ultra-realistic lush artificial green wall systems which are sold globally. However, the company lacked the scientific knowhow of product and process development to grow the business. The partnership will provide a step-change in the way the company operates and help it to become a UK design company with the in-house research capabilities to develop new products and reach new artificial foliage markets around the world.
This partnership will be the first time Vistafolia have engaged with a university, it provides an opportunity to share ideas and transfer knowledge and allows the University of Surrey academics to apply their research to solve real-world problems.
Paul Alder, Managing Director from Vistafolia said “We’re delighted to be working in conjunction with the University of Surrey on a project that will greatly expand our R&D process and help us continue to be the leaders in the industry, pushing the boundaries of what is possible. To become the first and only manufacturer moving to a bio-based polymer will represent a huge step forward for the future of artificial plants and will serve to strengthen our position as a UK-led global business.”
The “Knowledge Transfer Partnerships (KTPs) with the recent graduate and specialist academics will help transform Vistafolia. We will be able to develop new and improved products, be adaptable to customer needs and have full control over our manufacturing process. This transformation will enable the business to enter new market, raise brand awareness and grow as a business.
Dr Sadhukhan said “this KTP will be complementary to the Surrey’s Sustainability Research Theme’s; Special Interest Group on Plastics in the Environment is an example of success of the University’s Business Enterprise Programmes Team (part of Innovation strategy), Dan Bance, in actively engaging with industry to help the UK achieve its zero-waste strategy”.
Dr Iman Mohagheghian said “I am very excited to be a part of a multidisciplinary academic team working with Vistafolia to establish the knowledge and technology for manufacturing high performance and sustainable products”.