Cotton Incorporated and Cotton Council International presented a one-day, comprehensive program of textile technical innovations, fashion trends and exhibits to cotton textile businesses in the region on Tuesday, May 22nd. More than 300 attendees representing well-known textile manufacturing companies and brands in the region attended the event, which offered 12 technical presentations, fashion trend forecasts, and exhibits from a range of companies servicing the cotton textile supply chain.
The technical presentations were divided into four main categories: Performance Finish Innovations; Ecological Innovations; Process Innovations; and Product Innovations. The technical presentations are summarized on the following pages.
"This conference is a prime example of how textile businesses get more when they choose cotton," said Mark Messura, Senior Vice President, Global Supply Chain Marketing for Cotton Incorporated. "The unique structure of Cotton Incorporated allows us to collaborate with a range of research institutions and commercial companies. Working together, we identify and help to advance innovation. And, as a partner to industry, we freely share all of our resources to help every cotton business remain competitive."
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.
Performance Finish Innovations
Organizations: Cotton Incorporated; Dow Corning Corporation; Kurabo Industries, Ltd.
Wrinkle Resistant Finishing with the Foam Eco-Care Process
Mike Tyndall, Vice President, Product Development and Implementation at Cotton Incorporated presented the results of a collaboration between Cotton Incorporated, Clariant, and Gaston Systems. The international project examined whether sustainable gains to wrinkle-free wet processing could be made by applying advanced Clariant wrinkle-resistant chemistry via a Gaston Systems foam applicator. Evaluations demonstrated that the combination of the new chemistry applied by foam uses less water and, as a result, reduces drying time by 25%. In addition, formaldehyde was reduced to less than 75 ppm and resulted in shirting with superior flex abrasion and tear strength, and equal smoothness and tensile strength when compared to pad applications (See related news release).
New Generation of Soft and Durable Water Repellents
Fernando Vazquez, Global Technical Manager (Textiles) for Dow Corning addressed industry concerns over the fluorine-based finishes that are widely used in water-repellent finishes for textiles. As an alternative to C4, C6 and C8 technologies, Vazquez introduced attendees to a new silicon-based product, Soft Hyrdo Guard. Results from industry-recognized test protocols demonstrated that the Soft Hydro Guard product, which is particularly effective on cotton and cotton-rich fabrics, imparts a softer hand and provides superior water repellency compared to fluorine-based chemistries.
After 50 home wash-and-dry cycles, cotton knits and twills finished with the silicone product showed a hydrophobicity loss of less than 2%; compared to a near-40% loss of repellency for fluorine-treated garments. From an environmental point of view, the Soft Hydro Guard product is free of fluorine, formaldehyde, solvents and APEOs. Using the product also reduces process drying time by 50%.
EBRIQ® Electron Beam Graft Polymerization Technology for Cotton
Minoru Sugiyama, Researcher, Kurabo Industries, Ltd. presented an exciting new concept that reforms natural fibers like cotton at a molecular level to impart performance features, while retaining such natural characteristics as softness and moisture absorbency. Electron Beam Graft Polymerization Technology (EBGPT) uses electron beams to prepare fabric for monomer application. The process, which can be used for continuous as well as batch processing, creates a strong bond that is durable even after as many as 100 home launderings. Kurabo has used the EBGPT to develop its line of EBRIQ® fabrics that deliver antimicrobial, deodorization, antibacterial, heat-generation, "Cool Feel" and flame-retardant benefits.
Organizations: Central Textiles (Hong Kong) Ltd.; Cotton Incorporated; Crystal Group
Recycling Water and Dyestuff By Using Vibrating Membrane Technology
Pat-Nie Woo, Director of Central Textiles (Hong Kong) Ltd. updated the audience on his company's joint project with Cotton Incorporated, the adaption of a motor oil reclamation technology to separate indigo dyestuffs and water from the dye house waste stream so that both can be reused. The most recent data suggests that 100% of indigo and 70% of water can be reused into the denim processing at Central Textiles.
New Information on Cationic Cotton: Pre-Treatment and Dyeing
Mary Ankeny, Director of Dyeing Research at Cotton Incorporated outlined research done jointly by Cotton Incorporated and North Carolina State University can optimize the use of cationic dyeing for cold batch and exhaust processing. Essentially, research showed that altering the sequence and volumes of inputs can increase fixation rates by as much as 40% and create a more favorable working environment.
Case Study: Crystal Group Walk the Sustainable Talk
Tilky Wang, Senior Officer, Corporate Quality and Sustainability Department of Crystal Group illustrated practices her company has employed to drive not only the sustainability of Crystal's garment manufacturing, but also the day-to-day operations of the company itself. The practices at Crystal have earned the company's facilities numerous industry accolades including: platinum, gold and silver WWF Low Carbon Emission Programme certificates, and the Marks & Spencer Plan A designation for their environmentally sound eco-jeans.
Organizations: DuPont Industrial Biosolutions; Cotton Incorporated; Zhejiang Transfar Co. Ltd.; Wah Fung Group
Enzymatic Preparation Developments for Enhanced Performance and Sustainability
This presentation presented findings from collaborative trials at Cotton Incorporated laboratories using DuPont bio-enzymes. The trials focused on ways to integrate and bio-optimize textile processing in knits, and showed that biobased enzymes used in combination can eliminate the need for caustic chemicals, while dramatically reducing water and energy use, as well as overall processing time.
The results illustrated an average reduction of 70 percent water (by litre); 33 percent steam (in pounds); and 27 percent in energy (as kWH) across dark, medium and light shade ranges. By better utilizing water, steam and energy, the bio-optimized process reduced the total costs of these inputs by an average of 66 percent. The consolidation also reduces process time by 23 percent for dark shades, 27 percent for medium shades, and 30 percent for light shades (See related news release).
The New Era of Pre-Treatment Process Led By Low Temperature
Mao Weimin, Chief Engineer of Application Technology at Zhejiang Transfar Co. Ltd. presented an impressive and detailed account of how his company's low temperature pre-treatment technology for cotton yarns and fabrics (for both exhaust and continuous forms) is significantly reducing energy and water typically required for these processes, as well as their associated costs. In addition to the environmental advantages of using less energy and water, monthly savings for using low temperature technologies were estimated to be USD$28,000.00 for packaged dyeing; US$68,000.00 for pre-treatment of cotton knits; and US$8,000.00 to US$10,000.00 for pre-treatment of cotton woven fabrics.
Case Study: Cold Pad Batch Bulk Application on Circular Knits
Ray Shiu, Director & Head of Sales for Wah Fung Group presented an account of Wah Fung's experience using cold pad batch (CPB) technology. Developed and in use at European mills, CPB technology has been widely acknowledged as environmentally sound. Wah Fung's experience showed improve product quality as well as a 12.5% reduction in carbon emissions, and a 50% reduction in water usage, as compared to traditional dyeing processes. However, Mr. Shiu also cited impediments to widespread adoption in China including: high initial start-up costs; lack of local expertise; and high maintenance.
Organizations: Cotton Incorporated; Jeanalogia; NewTech Textile Development (Shanghai) Co. Ltd.
Digital Denim: Innovation in Garment Finishing
William Kimbrell, Associate Director, Supply Chain Initiatives at Cotton Incorporated presented an intriguing take on denim finishing developed at the Digital Printing Laboratory at Cotton Incorporated. In the process, fashion-forward finishes are created using computer graphics software, printed onto fabric using an inkjet digital printer, then cut and sewn. The presentation also included an example of inkjet-generated 3-D effects on denim.
Future Trends and Technologies in Denim and Garment Finishing
Begona Garcia Victoria, Brainbox Team Product Manager at Jeanologia, provided an overview of the Jeanologia technologies that continues to revolutionize sustainable denim finishing. Included were introductions of the company's GFK Lasers, which can produce virtually any conceivable visual effect on denim without chemicals; the G2 and G2-Plus devices which transform air into plasma to bring out the laser details or a vintage look; and its e-Soft garment softening technique which uses a continuous flow of electricity and wet air to surface tension and yield a very soft hand without sacrificing tensile strength. Victoria also explained the company's latest introduction, the Environmental Impact Measuring (EIM) software, which creates a transparent account of environmental savings using Jeanologia processes.
Note: Jeanologia will be exhibiting at ITMA Shanghai, June 12 – 16, 2012.
Samuel Chang, Executive Assistant to President, Newtech Textile Development Co., Ltd., presented the COOLTRANS technology, an environmentally-sound method of reproducing virtually any dye or pattern effect on cellulosic fabric using an inkjet or roller printer. Although the process operates at room temperature, it has a dye fixation rate of over 95%, using cold batch or steaming for fixation, depending on the pattern. The process has a "Confidence in Textiles" certification from OKEO-TEK and is already on garments from some of the world's most recognizable retail brands.