Cleaner Textile Manufacturing Through Research
Learn how Cotton Incorporated is at the forefront of innovations that help make textile manufacturing more efficient and effective.
Our Research Keeps Cotton Fabrics Cleaner
For more than 30 years, Cotton Incorporated has been at the forefront of innovations that help make textile manufacturing more efficient and effective. Today, our work continues with a focus on processes that reduce energy and water consumption, and minimize the use of harsh chemicals.
Through a collaborative network of universities, cotton textile manufacturing operations and chemical companies around the world that help implement our research, we are enabling the global textile industry to be more cost-efficient and environmentally responsible.
The industry is evolving, keeping an eye on high performance products that are produced using sustainable methods which have a low-impact on the environment. To that end, Cotton Incorporated has demonstrated its commitment to eco-sensitive production by working with industry leaders to bring new products and procedures to their business.In 2012, the company collaborated with DuPont on a product that makes the dyeing process more eco-friendly. DuPont’s PrimaGreen® products offer an effective alternative to chemicals typically used in textile preparation. Trials performed by Cotton Incorporated and DuPont showed the bio-based enzymes combine to eliminate the need for caustic chemicals, while dramatically reducing water consumption.
The PrimaGreen® product calls for the enzymes for scouring, bleaching and dyeing to be combined, which consolidates some steps in the process without sacrificing quality. The bio-enzyme combination allows the same water bath to be used for multiple steps in the dyeing process. The products perform at a lower temperature and that allows processors to use less energy for heat. On average, water usage was reduced by 70%, steam by 33% and energy by 27%. Such efficiency reduces total costs of these inputs by an average of 66%. And since the PrimaGreen® products consolidate steps, it saves overall processing time and speeds product to market.
In another initiative in Hong Kong, Cotton Incorporated collaborated with a denim manufacturer to fund the installation of a vibrating membrane technology. The process removes indigo molecules from the water after denim fabric is dyed. The indigo dyestuff and water are separated from the dye house waste stream so both can be reused multiple times in the company’s denim processing. The most recent data show 70% of the water, or about 20,000 gallons a day, and 100% of indigo can be reutilized.
Cotton Incorporated also collaborated with Spanish company Jeanologia™, which manufactures garment finishing equipment that utilizes laser and ozone to create unique design effects. These technologies require less water, energy and chemistry than traditional denim finishing equipment, reducing the overall environmental impact. The developments are specific to Cotton Incorporated and consist of 10 diverse designs that highlight the capabilities of each technology, and the collection was launched at the King Pins, Premiere vision and TexWorld trade shows.
A World of Ideas: Technologies for Sustainable Cotton Manufacturing is a guide from Cotton Incorporated that presents 26 technologies or processes that enable substantial reductions in the use of water, energy and chemicals (WEC) in cotton textile processing.