Clariant’s launch of Foam Eco Care finishing for cotton fabrics takes place at ITMA, Barcelona, and provides manufacturers with a high performance, sustainable, and innovative technology for wrinkle-free finishing. The new foam application formula results in increased productivity, improved energy usage as well as improved abrasion resistance and fabric strength, and reduced chemical usage without compromising durable press ratings.
Global textile solution provider Clariant has been working for the past two years with Cotton Incorporated of America to achieve this breakthrough in advanced resin-based foam finish application that is more resource efficient than current techniques and especially suited to the production of shirt and trouser fabrics, as it also allows for non-iron properties.
Clariant had already achieved good success with its recently developed Premium Eco Care finish for an environmentally friendlier wrinkle-free finish, using its Arkofix® ELF product, and crosslinking it with low curing temperatures. Notwithstanding this, under the company’s Open Innovation program its Textile Business Unit believed that further innovation was possible by applying the chemicals by foam. Cotton Incorporated also believed that it was the way forward to more sustainable finishing.
“You could say that Clariant’s Foam Eco Care proves the old adage that two heads are better than one,” says Ken Greeson, Senior Textile Chemist at Cotton Incorporated headquartered in Cary, North Carolina. “This new process has major advantages over conventional pad application and we are sure it will be welcomed right across the industry. We used the same cotton poplin and denim fabrics throughout the trials and used Gaston Systems CFS System application machinery.”
Foam Eco Care, developed under laboratory conditions, has been extensively tested in commercial mills in Italy and the results have been identical. “What we had achieved under ideal lab conditions had to be reproducible within the commercial environment of ordinary textile mills,” says Georg Lang, Head of PG Finishing at Clariant. “Foam application machinery is now generally used within modern textile mills and adapting to Foam Eco Care should not be difficult nor require any serious investment.
Where mills need to introduce foam application equipment, which can be used for purposes other than just durable press finishing, the payback time would be very short.” The economics of the new system are sound.
The cotton poplin used for the trials was a 130 g/m2 fabric and the foam was applied with the Gaston CFS lab unit. Because the foam has less wet uptake, the fabric dried faster using foam and the dwell time was 25% less than using pad application. While tensile and tear strength were equal to pad application, as was the smoothness achieved, the foam application had much superior flex abrasion when compared with pad application. The denim fabric used for testing was 345 g/m2, desized and scoured.
Besides faster drying times, the benefits of Foam Eco Care finishing are clear - in particular in the field of Non-Iron finishing. It produces excellent durable press ratings and it is less complicated than traditional moist crosslinking and the simplified system generates excellent performance which is very close to the results known with moist crosslinking. Crucially in today’s environmentally conscious climate, where issues of sustainability are of increasing importance, it uses less energy as a result of its low temperature curing resin chemistry. Less water is required and because of faster drying speeds there are commensurate advantages in terms of overall productivity. With low formaldehyde (substantially less than the 75ppm permitted limit) it means that no afterwash is needed, another saving when compared with moist crosslinking.
The new durable press technology will be the featured subject at Clariant’s “Innovation Session” on Saturday, September 24: Foam Eco Care in cooperation with Cotton Incorporated– resin finishing in a new dimension. In a joint presentation with Cotton Incorporated it will commence at 12 noon, Booth H4-A150-151.
Clariant is an internationally active specialty chemical company based in Muttenz near Basel. The group owns over 100 companies worldwide and employed approx. 16,200 employees as of December 31, 2010. In the financial year 2010, Clariant produced a turnover in excess of CHF 7 billion. Clariant is divided into twelve business units: Additives; Catalysis & Energy; Detergents & Intermediates; Emulsions; Functional Materials; Industrial & Consumer Specialties; Leather Services; Masterbatches; Oil & Mining Services; Paper Specialties; Pigments; Textile Chemicals.
Arkofix® is a registered trademark of Clariant.
About Cotton Incorporated
Cotton Incorporated, funded by U.S. growers of upland cotton and importers of cotton and cotton textile products, is the research and marketing company representing upland cotton. The program is designed and operated to improve the demand for and profitability of cotton.