In Press: Fiber & Biopolymer Research Institute key to foam-dyeing tech
By: Norman Martin
Recently, an innovative research team with Texas Tech University's Fiber & Biopolymer Research Institute was interviewed by Tracey Greenstein with WWD and Katie Johnson, a Raleigh, N.C.-based account executive with FWV for news articles that appeared on several industry websites. Here's a part of the conversation.
Texas Tech University's Fiber & Biopolymer Research Institute today (Nov. 14) unveiled a new foam-dyeing process for denim at a special event on the Texas High Plains. Heritage denim brands Wrangler and Lee, as well as the Wal-Mart Foundation, are early investors in the technology and were in attendance at the event hosted by Indigo Mill Designs to show support for the initiative.
Foam-dyeing is a cost-effective and environmentally friendly process for dyeing yarns, but its use was limited for denim manufacturing. The indigo dye that creates denim's blue color reacted to oxygen in the air and rendered the process ineffective — but Indigo Mill Designs's Indigo Zero solution maintains oxygen-free conditions throughout the dyeing process until yarns are ready for "oxygen environments," namely open-air or oxidation chambers.
The process "reduces chemical usage while achieving the same or better dye quality compared to conventional processes" in addition to "[resulting] in net reductions of water and energy usage of more than 90 percent."
"A large fabric mill uses millions of gallons of water every day to dye denim," said Sudhakar Puvvada, who leads denim innovation work for Wrangler and Lee's Global Innovation Center and served as an advisor to Indigo Mill Designs. "IMD's innovation can greatly reduce that amount and cut the energy needed for dyeing and wastewater treatment."
IMD's foam-dying process also will allow fabric mills to produce much smaller quantities than conventional dyeing processes, when desired. In addition to reducing waste, smaller fabric runs will allow for exciting design and marketing innovations in the denim industry.
"We're grateful for the support of Wrangler and Lee, whose investment and technical contribution greatly advanced the process of commercialization with IMD," said Dean Ethridge, a research professor with Tech's Department of Plant and Soil Science. "Credit also goes to the U.S. Manufacturing Innovation Fund for supporting the research project that made development of this technology possible."
Located some six miles east of the main campus, FBRI occupies 110,000 square-feet of space allowing Tech researchers to conduct testing and evaluation from the raw fiber stage through the finished textile product. Facilities include a multimedia classroom and conference room, biopolymer research laboratory, cotton phenomics laboratory, cotton ginning laboratory, and cotton processing laboratory (spinning and weaving).
CONTACT: Noureddine Abidi, Managing Director, Fiber and Biopolymer Research Institute, Department of Plant and Soil Science, Texas Tech University at (806) 834-1221 or email@example.com
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Editor: Norman Martin
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