Technology gives boost to Japanese apparel industry
Japan’s apparel industry is turning to state-of-the-art technology in a bold bid to cut labour costs and secure its future, from ready-to-wear knits manufactured instantly to customized dresses produced on inkjet printers. At Shima Seiki’s factory in Western Japan, garments materialise in minutes, thanks to digitally-programmed automated machines that can turn out a sample seam-free pullover in half an hour with a push of a button.
Patented by the Japanese manufacturer, the WholeGarment system and sold to knitwear companies like Italian luxury brand Max Mara includes a digital design system that allows users to choose patterns, colors and cuts. Known for glove-making machinery, Shima Seiki took a technological leap in the 1990s in an effort to revive the flagging fortunes of Japanese apparel manufacturers. The Whole Garment system allows one worker to operate ten machines – thereby lowering labor costs – and uses limited raw material to create seam-free garments that generate no waste, since they require no cutting. The initiative is part of a push by Japan’s knitwear industry to capitalize on its technical know-how to create garments that cannot be replicated elsewhere at a lower cost.
The focus on technique and technology has already paid off, with Japan’s knitwear sector registering a 40 percent increase in exports over a 10-year period beginning in 2006, a rare bright spot in an otherwise dismal picture for textile and apparel exports from the country.
Huntsman Textile Effects introduces Erionyl® Flavine FF and Rhodamine FF dyes, offering state-of-the-art performance with outstanding fastness levels and significantly higher strength of neon dyes available in the market today. These latest additions to the well-established range of Erionyl dyes address growing demand for polyamide dyes as polyamide fibers become increasingly popular within the high-value segment of functional elastic garments.
“Due to their high-color strength and with neon shades representing an essential collection item of many swimwear, beachwear, sportswear and even lingerie brands, we can now meet the growing demand for high quality neon dyes.” said Lee Howarth, Global Marketing Manager, Huntsman Textile Effects.
To deliver enhanced reproducibility, trouble-free application and minimized risk of known issues with these specific types of dyes, Erionyl Flavine FF and Rhodamine FF dyes can be used in combination with Huntsman Textile Effects key auxiliaries such as Albatex® AB-45 pH buffer, Erional® FRN fastness improver or Invalon® FL machine cleaner.
At the recently concluded Kingpins Amsterdam, Invista, global producer of polymers and fibers, has launched two new Thermolite brands, both to be worn in cold weather conditions and aimed at the Jeanswear market. They introduced the Thermolite Infrared technology and patented the Thermolite Dual Layer technology as part of a new brand category called Thermolite Pro.
The patented Thermolite Dual Layer’s structure can create open spaces within the fabric, trapping air to help keep the wearer warm. According to Invista’s testing, a fabric’s ability to insulate is measured by its CLO value, and fabrics with Thermolite Dual Layer’s technology can achieve CLO values that are typically 25 percent to 30 percent higher compared to those of standard denim fabrics. The Thermolite Dual Layer technology is also engineered to enable faster drying next to the skin, helping the wearer stay warm and dry.
Saxony region in Germany will have a new advanced center for carbon fiber research. The Technical University of Dresden (TU Dresden) will establish this center to focus on carbon fiber R & D and develop a wide array of applications in functional materials.
TU Dresden will bring the resources and expertise of the Institute of Lightweight Structures and Polymer Technology and the Institute of Textile Machinery and High Performance Material Technology in establishing the new center called “Research Center for Carbon Fibers Saxony (RCCF).”
The OEKO-TEX Association has officially launched the new ECO PASSPORT by OEKO-TEX certification for sustainable textile chemicals. It is a two-step verification procedure by which manufacturers of textile processing chemicals and chemical compounds are able to confirm that their products meet the criteria for environmentally responsible textile production. The six month pilot phase with manufacturers has been successfully completed. The results have been positive and the first certified textile chemical producers have already accessed the key benefits of the new ECO PASSPORT concept.
Textile chemicals, colorants, and auxiliaries are analyzed in a two-step process that confirms that the compounds and each ingredient meet specific criteria for sustainability, safety, and regulatory compliance. In the initial analysis, chemical compounds are checked against a comprehensive manufacturing restricted substance List (MRSL) that incorporates the OEKO-TEX Standard 100 RSL and the STeP by OEKO.
Oerlikon has signed an agreement to acquire the entire staple fibers technology portfolio of Trützschler Nonwovens & Man-Made Fibers GmbH, Egelsbach, Germany. This company is part of the German Truetzschler Group, which is a specialist in fiber preparation for the yarn spinning and nonwovens industries.
With the acquisition of the former Fleissner staple fibers technology portfolio and the intellectual property (IP) of Trützschler Nonwovens & Man-Made Fibers GmbH, the segment becomes the leading technology and equipment provider in the global staple fibers market.
In 2015, the produced staple fibers amounted to 18.5 million tons or some 33 percent of the total synthetic staple fibers capacity.
Semiconductor Super hydrophobic Fabrics Developed
Australian researchers have developed semiconductor super hydrophobic functional fabrics. A team of Australian researchers from Queensland University of Technology, RMIT University and two CSIRO units have developed functional fabrics that are semiconductors and could repel oil and water. The fabric separated crude oil, olive oil and dichloromethane from water.
The scientists used silver interwoven nylon fabric and coated copper on to it, to start with. This process creates charge transfer complex of copper and TCNAQ, which results in nano rough surfaces all through the fabric making it super hydrophobic. According to the lead scientist of the study, Anthony O’Mullane, associate professor at the Queensland University of Technology, the fabrics are multifunctional, antibacterial and semi conductive. O’Mullane stated, “Because it is semi-conductor, it can interact with visible light to degrade organic pollutants.” Researchers claim that a variety of applications are possible such as separating water from industrial sludge, decontaminating water and killing bugs. According to the researchers, the next step is to test the scalability and mechanical robustness of the coated fabric.
Jeanologia’s newest innovation was developed with speed and production designers in mind. The new eMark 3.0 software, designed for fast apparel laser design, features a turbo mode capable of increasing productivity by 30 percent.
Through eMark 3.0, designers have access to eMark Light tools which provide energy efficient, eco-friendly design solutions, including the Light Ripper tool to create different types of damaged and heavily worn-in looks, and the Light Scraper to achieve authentic virtual slubs on standard denim fabric. The Light Scraper can be used to create the appearance of open end denim, ring spun denim, crosshatch or slub, ultimately replacing hazardous hand sanding processes. The tool kit also includes Jeanologia’s Light PP Spray which safely replaces potassium permanganate spray without compromising the jean’s final look. Additionally, eMark 3.0 software users will have access to exclusive laser designs. The software contains a large laser design gallery which Jeanolgoia’s “brainbox team” updates every season with new trendy laser design available exclusively to eMark 3.0 users.
Stäubli , the maker of manufacturer of high speed textile machinery has come up with third generation rotary dubbies. The company offers an extensive machinery range for weaving including shedding solutions for frame weaving machines (cam motions, electronic dobbies), high speed jacquard machines with customer-specific harnesses, automated weaving preparation machines (for drawing in and warp tying), carpet and technical textile weaving machines, knitting solutions and drive systems.
The carpet systems illustrate technological advances such as the recently introduced magic shadow effect, the traditional carpet effect and other high density applications.
The Topmatic warp-tying machine designed for standard applications demonstrates high efficiency warp tying. There are also circular sock knitting machines, servo motors, electronic control solutions, input/output devices and related programming tools used mainly in the textile industry.
At a recent global textlile trade show, Lenzing and The Woolmark Company signed a Cooperation Agreement and presented the partnership between the lyocell fiber TENCEL and Merino wool. The perfect fiber duo introduces a new dimension to high-end textiles and active wear.
Merino wool has been renowned as a fiber material for a long time and has always been used as a raw material in clothing and in home textiles. In the high-end segment, Merino wool is a highly desirable fiber. The end result can be extremely fine and glossy. TENCEL is ideal as a blending partner for Merino wool. The properties of moisture management and a smooth fiber surface are enriching factors when combined with Merino wool. In internal retail analysis, it is striking that the TENCEL/Merino wool blend is often used in knitwear.
The blend is used predominantly in the active wear segment, according to Robert van de Kerkhof, CCO Lenzing. “Our activities will focus on woven fabrics with high-quality fabrics for formal suits, clothes and shirts. We are operating with wool blends in a high-end, segment with high margins and are interested in expanding this business,” he explains.
Dow and Russell collaborate on wearable technology apparel
The Dow Chemical Company and Russell Brands, LLC has announced a collaboration to provide advanced odor and freshness protection to apparel performance products using Dow’s patented SILVADUR™ technology. Products treated with this technology will feature the Intellifresh™ brand. The collaboration with Russell is among Dow’s first uses of the Intellifresh™ brand on performance apparel products.
“Dow research shows that more consumers are looking for products that promote a healthier lifestyle,” said Larry Ryan, business president for Dow Energy & Water Solutions. “Consumers surveyed indicated they are interested in purchasing a wide variety of products with durable protection against odor or odor-causing bacteria. The collaboration with Russell is a prime example of how Dow, with its innovative technology behind Intellifresh™, can partner with brand owners, manufacturers and retailers to fulfill consumer needs.”
Russell Brands chose the innovative
COOLFORCE™ tee as its launch product due to the advanced technical nature of the SILVADUR™ technology. The COOLFORCE™ tee already includes a proprietary, chemical-free cooling technology that doesn’t degrade over time, allowing wearers to elevate their workouts by keeping them cool and dry to reach their maximum performance potential. The inclusion of the Intellifresh™ odor-protection ingredient complements these features, adding another superior benefit to the COOLFORCE™ tee.
Archroma, Garmon, Lenzing and Royo collaborate for most efficient denim
Archroma, Garmon, Lenzing and Royo collaborated on a project to produce denim garments based on the most efficient possible use of resources. The project, presented at Kingpins Show in Amsterdam on April 13-14, focused on water savings from fiber to finish.
Archoma quoted a study that declared that 1.8 trillion liters of water are consumed monthly in the production of jeans. In order to try and save the most water and energy and reduce waste, Archroma used its Advanced Denim technology.
The Advanced Denim process requires only one impregnation of the yarn in the dyebath, using only a small volume of coloring liquor. The process also fixes 100 percent of the applied dye on the fiber, eliminating the need to consume more water washing off the unfixed dye. Advanced Denim allows water saving of approximately 90 percent compared to standard indigo dyeing applications.