Textile manufacturers are always looking for ways to execute better and faster. Now, a new polyester fiber coloring solution offers sustainability benefits and could give companies greater process control while accelerating production.
PolyOne Corporation takes a two-pronged approached with its just-launched ColorMatrix™ Fiber Colorant Solutions, which bring together the colorants plus “specialized melt spinning equipment.” The upside of the combined solution is the resulting adaptive, flexible system for dyeing polyester fiber, which offers rapid production speeds as well as increased control over the process.
“Our technology not only improves sustainability, it fosters rapid, on-site design and scale up, enabling economically viable smaller lot sizes and improving production flexibility overall,” said Mark Crist, president, color, additives and inks at PolyOne.
To date, the ColorMatrix solution has been used to create textiles for a number of end uses, including performance athletic apparel, home goods, carpet and automobile interiors.
Notably, PolyOne claims that ColorMatrix jettisons the need for water and wastewater treatment so commonplace in water-based dyeing. The system can save as much as 10 liters per kilogram of polyester fiber.
Water pollution is among the biggest environmental crises created within the apparel supply chain. According to the World Resources Institute, apparel manufacturing accounts for 20 percent of all industrial water pollution. Globally, fabric dyeing requires 1.3 gallons of water each year, the equivalent of 2 million Olympic-size swimming pools.
Sustainability has emerged as a major theme for apparel and textile manufacturing in recent years. Last year two Dutch designers experimented with using live bacteria to dye textiles naturally. And in 2016, Dystar, a major global textile dye supplier, earned gold-level Cradle to Cradle accreditation for some of its products’ “material health”—meaning they cause no harm to humans or to the environment during the dyeing process or in the end use.
Incremental innovations in textile and apparel manufacturing indicates that some companies within the supply chain are responding to greater consumer interest in—and demand for—earth-friendly alternatives. “Over the past few years, consumers have placed more importance on whether products stand for something, and they’ll continue to do so,” Mary Brett Whitfield, SVP at Kantar Retail told Adweek.
“The textile industry is at the forefront of adopting sustainable solutions across its entire supply chain,” said Robert M. Patterson, PolyOne Corporation’s chairman, president and CEO.
“Our advanced fiber colorant technology is critical to helping these manufacturers address sustainability, production flexibility, and speed-to-market goals to stay on top of these trends,” he added.