Coloreel, the Swedish textile technology company behind a unique digital thread coloring process, last week received Sweden’s largest innovation award for ingenuity, which the prize foundation said “revolutionizes the technological possibilities for industrial embroidery.”
The SKAPA prize, established in memory of inventor Alfred Nobel, comes with a cash prize of roughly $55,000 and is awarded to innovators and inventors whose efforts can lead to commercial opportunities.
“This year’s prize winner shows great innovation spirit and that the Swedish textile industry is at the forefront,” said Minoo Akhtarzand, chairman for the SKAPA foundation. “Coloreel, as the innovation is called…shortens production times and allows for embroidery in the precise colors you want. Also, for the first time, it is now possible to produce gradients in the embroidery.”
Coloreel made a name for itself on the back of its eponymous proprietary technology, which is capable of instant and interchangeable thread coloring. The Coloreel device can dye a single, continuous thread in alternating or solid colors, as well as on a gradient. In addition to giving designers more freedom, the technology also eliminates the need to keep stock of a multitude of colored threads.
The SKAPA foundation, which awarded its first prize in 1986, is supported by the Stockholm Fair and Swedish Invention Association and other local benefactors, as well as the country’s patent and registration office.
Noting Sweden is considered the second-most innovative country in the world according to the 2018 Bloomberg Innovation Index, Coloreel said in a statement that the recognition “places Coloreel as one of the most innovative companies in the world.”
“It feels inspiring that we can now call ourselves Swedish ‘champions of innovation’ after so many years of hard work. It is strong proof that the whole Coloreel team has accomplished something beyond the ordinary,” said Joakim Staberg, innovator and founder of Coloreel. “We are now in the middle of a strong expansion and are fully focused on bringing our first thread coloring product to the market.”
In April, Coloreel signed a partnership agreement with Finnish manufacturer Scanfil to create Embroline, the first Coloreel accessory for use with industrial embroidery machines. The company said the same technology can also be used for knitting, sewing and weaving, among other applications.
That expansion took place after Coloreel spent nine years developing its new technology, which is now being rolled out in Europe following the September launch of its digital thread coloring unit at Avantex Paris.
The Paris event marked the official start of sales for the company, with its first thread coloring units becoming available to the public in early 2019. Coloreel said it has already received a number of business inquiries from interested companies, ranging from sportswear to haute couture.