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Dyeing Printing & Finishing

Nike Implements DyeCoo CO2 Dye Technology In Taiwan Plant

Sports apparel brand Nike Inc., Beaverton, Ore., has opened a water-free dyeing facility at its Taiwan-based contract manufacturer Far Eastern New Century Corp. (FENC). The new facility utilizes the Netherlands-based DyeCoo Textile Systems BV's recycled supercritical carbon dioxide (CO2) dyeing technology to dye polyester fabrics. The recycled CO2 replaces water and additional process chemicals in the dyeing process, and also uses less energy than water-based dyeing technologies. The colors achieved using the process, called "ColorDry" by Nike, are reportedly more saturated and consistent than colors achieved using traditional dyeing processes.

Nike has held a stake in DyeCoo since early 2012, and first used the DyeCoo technology to dye fabrics used for the uniforms of Kenya's 2012 Olympic marathon team. Since then, Nike has worked to see the technology scaled up to apply across the entire sports apparel industry.

"We see sustainability and business growth as complementary and our strategy is to prioritize relationships with factory groups that demonstrate a desire to invest in sustainable practices and technologies," said Eric Sprunk, COO, Nike Inc. "Our collaboration with Far Eastern and DyeCoo, to develop and scale the ColorDry process, is an important milestone on our path towards manufacturing innovation."

"Compared to traditional dyeing methods, the ColorDry process reduces dyeing time by 40 percent, energy use by around 60 percent and the required factory footprint by a quarter," said Kuenlin Ho, executive vice president, FENC. "It's also the most saturated, intense and consistent color we've seen," he added.

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Singapore-based Huntsman Special Effects has partnered with DyeCoo to commercialize the CO2 technology, and its dyes are being used at the FENC plant.

"This emerging technology has the potential to revolutionize the textile manufacturing process and it is very satisfying to see the first of Nike Inc.'s ColorDry products derived from this new process and our dyes," said Steve Gray, vice president of strategic marketing and planning, Huntsman Textile Effects.

DyeCoo plans to open an office in Taiwan to provide service for the growing market for its technology. The company also is working to develop the technology to use with cotton and other natural-fiber fabrics.

"I see enormous possibilities to reshape the dyeing industry and adjacent industries as we work together to expand the application of our technology beyond polyester," said DyeCoo spokesman Geert Woerlee.

Nike's ColorDry products are expected to be available to consumers in early 2014.

December 17, 2013