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Furthering innovation through connections

A new mosquito bite-fighting knit pattern will soon be entering the marketplace thanks to a connection between a local manufacturer and researcher facilitated by the City of Auburn's Economic Development team.

From concept to production, the City of Auburn’s Economic Development team helps foster, develop and expand Auburn companies. This often involves connecting them with the resources they need to take the next step.

The department recently did just that, linking a researcher with a longstanding Auburn company to turn an idea into a reality.

A few years ago, Dr. John Beckmann with Auburn University received a grant to develop a textile knit that could block mosquitoes’ ability to bite through clothing. The City’s Economic Development team offered Beckmann space in the City’s incubator system for him and his research team to work.

“To take Dr. Beckmann’s innovative research a step further, we introduced him to STRAEHLE+HESS, a German textile manufacturer in our Auburn Technology Park South that could help support the research team’s commercialization efforts,” said Arndt Siepmann, deputy director of the City’s Economic Development Department.

This introduction quickly turned into a fruitful collaboration.

“Having STRAEHLE+HESS share their knowledge and experience with textiles, their supplier base and their help in repairing and operating machines has been pivotal for our research team,” Beckmann said. “With their help, we’ve been able to develop a production-ready material.”

Together, they have made significant progress in developing a life-changing knit pattern that keeps mosquitoes out. This development could help prevent the spread of deadly diseases such as malaria, zika, dengue and others.

STRAEHLE+HESS also helped the research team create a plan for commercialization, helping move the product out of research labs and into the marketplace.

“This project is a perfect example of the collaboration between university research and commercial expertise,” said Corinna Luz, chief sales officer at STRAEHLE+HESS. “As a manufacturer, we’re always looking for projects that fit our business model and offer opportunities for growth. We’re pleased to be part of a project that gives us a chance to work with the university while developing a new innovative product.”

Beckmann’s production line is now graduating out of the City’s incubator after three years and moving into STRAEHLE+HESS’s facility, creating an environment where students and faculty can work alongside industry experts to develop the product. This move will allow researchers to analyze textiles and test their product’s effectiveness on site. The City’s Economic Development team hopes this collaboration will be another example of the successful commercialization of a research idea here in Auburn.

Learn more about the City’s Economic Development efforts and opportunities available for startups and industries at