What is waterless dyeing?
Textiles usually go through the traditional water-dyeing technology where the textiles undergo not one but multiple processes using aid agents, surfactants, chemical slats, and reduction clearing agents. On the other hand, waterless dyeing technology only requires supercritical fluid for dyeing and circulation which after lowering the pressure and temperature, the process is finished. This dyeing procedure does not produce any wastewater. This technology reduces the operation procedures and the dyeing cycle is shortened from several hours to just about 15 to 60 minutes. The entire process saves energy because of the lower operational temperature.
This new technology took a step forward in December when a top consumer brand, Nike revealed plans to launch sportswear made from fabric dyed using the waterless dyeing technology which eliminates water and cuts down on chemicals. High-tech equipment from DyeCoo Textile Systems had already been introduced into the market three years ago by the Yeh Group through a range of DryDye fabrics. The machine has the capability to dye fabrics about 1m yards per year. Seven of these machines are all in Thailand, serving more than 30 customers, Adidas being the first one to use it for their fabrics.
Higher Initial Costs
According to Brad Poorman, chief marketing sales officer for DryDye, the cost of the finished polyester fabric is about 15% higher than fabric that used traditional water dye. In monetary sense, this means $0.20 – $0.40 per yard, depending on the fabric’s weight. While waterless dyeing costs slightly more than the traditional process, in the long run, it will be cheaper because it saves so much on the energy side.
The traditional dyeing process is considered highly-polluting and wastes a lot of energy. In fact, the textile industry is considered the second water polluter in the world. The waterless dyeing is a revolutionary step in addressing pollution issues. And for this, industry experts project that the textile industry will eventually be forced to use this technology in order to eliminate dumping of effluent into the river systems, causing harm to the environment. The waterless dyeing process is already a huge step in addressing sustainability.
The Technology Of The Future
The idea behind the machine’s technology was to reverse the idea of using chemicals that eventually pollute water and turn it into something that uses the pressure and supercritical materials to drive the polyester into the polymer. As in any innovation pioneered, there exists some trade-offs initially, which in this case is the safety practices that need to be put in place. As the technology is further developed, these concerns are being factored in. In the end, the ultimate objective is to have a machine that helps in renewing energy and cleaning up the environment. The waterless dyeing technology may be considered as the technology of the future for the textile industry.
The waterless dyeing technology is currently limited to polyester but will eventually be used to other fabrics as well.