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Taking sustainability to newer heights to meet challenges

Swiss Textile Machinery members can reduce the adverse effect on environmental footprint of the finishing industry

Taking sustainability to newer heights to meet challengesSince the antiquity humans have been exploiting color to enhance both the personal appearance and the world we live in. Dyed and printed textiles are a prime example, with a huge global coloration industry developing over the centuries. However, the massive consumption of water and energy required by many finishing processes, as well as the toxicity of some chemicals, has increasingly caused grave concern to environmentalists and the wider public. Conversely, responding to these worries has been the catalyst for innovation among eco-responsible companies in the Swiss Textile Machinery Association.

Green-tech denim dyeing

Washing processes, solvents and dyes in manufacturing account for one-fifth of industrial water pollution, according to the `State of Fashion 2020´ report by consulting firm McKinsey. This is the kind of evidence which sparks urgent calls to action addressed to politicians as well as textile brands. But the Swiss finishing machinery companies need no such wake-up call: for years, many of them have been actively developing and launching innovations with environmental friendliness as a prime requisite. An example is research into dyeing process which work without hazardous chemicals. At ITMA 2019, green technology denim dyeing became a reality with Smart-Indigo™, a Swiss innovation by Sedo Engineering, introduced at the show.

The underlying breakthrough was the ability to industrialize the electrochemical process for reducing indigo, using only electricity. 

Ecological profitability no contradictionTaking sustainability to newer heights to meet challenge

The finishing industry today demands machinery which meets ecological requirements at the same time as enabling mills to operate profitably. That was the motivation behind the development of ESC (Energy-Saving Chamber) under the Santex brand of Santex Rimar Group. By re-using exhaust air from the Santashrink dryer, ESC increases production capacity by 15 to 17% from the same amount of heating energy. Maximum performance at low energy use, for low residual shrinkage, soft hand feel and surface luster is the goal of Santex machines. The specialized open-width fabric surface treatment systems always offer energy-saving options for sustainable production and low CO 2 values along with the promise of a return on investment in 1.5 years.

Two approaches to water savings 

At Jakob Muller, top-quality technical parameters go hand-in-hand with the necessity for environmentally-friendly production in its innovative efforts. For example, its new washing module fulfils product and environmental needs, thanks to improved washing-off results with less energy and water consumption. It is important to the company that any dyeing processes use recycled water wherever possible. Open-width finishing equipment specialist Benninger tackles another important environmental issue in one of its latest developments by measuring pollution levels in the washing process. A sensor automatically gauges the level of pollutant, so that only the required amount of water is fed into the wash chamber, ensuring minimum use of both water and energy, and high reproducibility of the washing result. 

Testing for sustainability

Producing laboratory and testing instruments, as well as customized production machinery, Mathis has a strong basis of expertise in the dyeing and coating sectors. The company understands the importance of quality assurance related to both performance and durability in applications such as sport and leisure.