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Finishing First

ATME-I 2001 showcases dyeing, printing and finishing technologies.

Finishing First ATME-I 2001 showcased dyeing, printing, and finishing technologies.  ATME-I 2001, held April 23-27 at Palmetto Expo Center in Greenville, S.C., featured weaving and knitting technology, as well as equipment for dyeing, printing, finishing and support services. In this report, Textile Industries Technical Editors Dr. Peter Hauser and Dr. Gary Mock review the dyeing, printing and finishing segment of the show, with assistance from Senior Technical Editor Eric Vonwiller. In August, Vonwiller will profile weaving technology, and Executive Editor Jim Phillips will report on developments in knitting machinery presented at ATME-I. Digital PrintingDigital printing was the highlight of the wet-processing portion of the ATME-I show in Greenville. Three important vendors emphasized different aspects in their offerings:The DuPont Artistri Color ControlandManagement System with the Ink Jet 3210 digital printing machine was first introduced at Heimtextil 2001, held in Frankfurt, Germany, in January. Marco Torri, European sales manager and John Kane, textile product marketing manager, said Artistri incorporates a unique colorant system, printer, and software. Artistri represents a remarkable re-entry into textiles and colorants for DuPont, which left the textile dye business in 1980. The 3210 prints 3.2-meter-width fabrics roll-to-roll in eight colors: CYMK, light C, light M, Orange, and Green at 30 to 60 square meters per hour (m2/hr). The current version will print pigment inks and binder, which dry and cure as they exit the machine. DuPont claims to be the first production-capable textile printer. The company aims this machine at the home furnishings market this year and looks to apparel with other dye systems at the end of the year.Another pioneer, the Netherlands-based Stork, which first introduced ink-jet printing at ITMA 1991 in Hannover, Germany, showed three printers. Ed Fesmire, sales manager of digital printing products in Storks Charlotte, N.C., office; and Lo Boelhouwers, manager of exhibitions, conferences and events, explained that the Amber is the oldest and most versatile of the current line. It prints 2 m2/hr using six inks: (CYMK plus) cyan, light cyan, magenta, light magenta, yellow, and black. Amber is capable of printing reactive and acid dyes.The new Zircon II printer, capable of 1.55-meter printing, was introduced at ATME-I 2001 and will print short-run disperse-dye polyester production printing at 10 m2/hr. The intended market is flags, banners, backdrops and fashion.The Amethyst prints roll-to-roll 1.6-meter-width goods with six reactive colors, CYMK times two, at a print speed of up to 16 m2/hr in high-speed mode. It is designed to be set up and run all night without supervision. The model at the show was to be shipped to the Springs Industries Design Center. Springs has used earlier Stork digital printers to print one-of-a kind samples for market presentation.
Austria-based J. Zimmer Maschinenbau GmbH, a pioneer in ink-jet printing for carpet, introduced Chromotex, a true-color printer capable of roll-to-roll printing of 2.2-meter-width goods in eight colors with a resolution equal to 125-mesh rotary screen printing. The emphasis is on small production runs. Hannes Fischer, manager, digital printing systems, explained that the companys choice of 80-micron-diameter nozzles and constantly circulating ink supply gives Zimmer the capability of printing 125-mesh resolution, an industry standard, with virtually no clogging. Indeed, this machine was shut down totally for a two-week Christmas holiday and restarted in mid-January with no problems. Print speed is given as 30 m2/hr in four-color mode and 15 m2/hr in eight-color mode. Pigments with binders included in the supply, as well as disperse and reactive dyes available from a choice of vendors, were felt to be strong points for seamless integration of this printer with production rotary screen machines. DyStar, Ciba, BASF and others have been involved in this project. Refillable tanks enable flexible operation. The print head is positioned some 60 millimeters (mm) above the moving apron, allowing flat goods and pile-fabric printing. It also minimizes clogging of the nozzles from any fabric dust or other contaminants. Penetration was shown to be excellent for a plush fabric.Spectrophotometry And Color ManagementColor measurement and management are the keystones in a successful apparel or home furnishings business. With increasing globalization, accurate color communication is imperative.Datacolor, Lawrenceville, N.J., and Dietlikon, Switzerland, showed a new portable product, the Mercury Color Management System. The Mercury has a one-piece tower configuration for one-handed operation with a customized Personal Data Assistant that uses the Palm operating system. The 9.7-centimeter (cm) by 9.5-cm by 24.6-cm unit weighs only 1 kilogram (kg), so it can easily be carried from one textile sample to the next. A dual-beam sphere with automatic specular port and a pulsed xenon light source allows rapid measurement. The touch-screen display puts the user in touch with up to 30,000 sample measurements using CIELAB and nine selectable illuminants. Color data can be captured anywhere and communicated later through an RS 232 data port.GretagMacbeth LLC, New Windsor, N.Y., and Regensdorf, Switzerland, introduced NetProfiler for color measurement instrument certification. NetProfiler tests, measures, and profiles color measurement instruments anywhere in the world using the open architecture philosophy of the Internet. Now, remote instruments from different vendors can be calibrated and certified on-line.Another product introduction was Net Palette, the first Internet-based supply chain tool for color communication to allow paperless color approval.Instantaneous exchange of color palettes over the Internet enables dyehouses to match design specifications, electronically submit lab dips, receive color approval via the Internet and obtain production approval. These two products can offer a great deal of comfort and satisfaction to managers who source worldwide.Also, GretagMacbeth announced a strategic alliance with color formulation software developer SheLyn Inc., Greensboro, N.C., to integrate its SLI-Form software with the NetProfiler. In addition, San Francisco-based Freeborders.com, a leading provider of Collaborative Product Management solutions for global retail, announced it would integrate Net Palette into its supply-chain solution for the textile and apparel industries. Many suppliers have large investments in so-called color legacy systems. GretagMacbeths open architecture solution allows various vendors to communicate seamlessly without reworking all their historical data and changing the data for various customers. More than 250 customers located in 26 countries and including Liz Claiborne, Levi-Strauss Inc. Nike, L.L. Bean, Lands End and Dillards use Freeborders.com solutions.HunterLab, Reston, Va., showed its portable spectrophotometer, the Lab Scan XE, which measures color the way the eye sees color. A built-in pass/fail quality-control system allows easy shade sorting. A series of sensitive khaki swatches was measured and sorted using the She-Lyn SLI-Taper software system. Other products shown were the new Color Quest XT, a self-contained spectrophotometer designed to measure transmitted color of transparent materials and generate ADMI values of waste water containing dyestuffs and textile effluents. Also exhibited was a new version of the Easy Match Textiles color formulation software. One of the many additions and modifications is the ability to show only those colorants that can match a requested setup type. This feature makes switching between dye classes much easier for blend formulations and allows users to perform formulations without the risk of mixing incompatible dye classes and process types. This software is also available as an upgrade to existing systems.At Mahlo, Spartanburg, S.C., and Saal-Donau, Germany the worlds leading specialist in monitoring and control systems for the textile, nonwoven, plastics, and paper industries the focus was on the small, hand-held Color-Guide spectrophotometer. More than 6,000 Color-Guides are in use worldwide. This instrument incorporates patented LED technology to deliver unsurpassed accuracy and stability in a portable instrument. Several new LEDs have extended the range of illuminants available in the latest model. The Color-Guide can take up to 10,000 measurements per battery charge and requires standardization only once every 90 days. Data is downloaded to a PC via the RS 232 interface. Mahlo also showed a number of fixed-base spectrophotometers and software provided by SheLyns SLI-Form NG/QC package and industrial online color measurement provided by the Colorscan CIS-10 traversing reflectance spectrophotometer.Dry/Wet Processing, Washing, TestingAmerican Monforts Corp., Charlotte, N.C., presented several new developments for drying fabrics. The Montex 5000 tenter frame has been outfitted with stronger chains, clips, and rails for more reliable operation at higher operating speeds. The new Dynair 5000 relaxation dryer allows knit goods to uniformly relax in all directions while being transported through the dryer on a pulsed air flow.Argelich, Termes y Cia. S.A. (ATYC), Spain, displayed a new Rapid System jet-dyeing machine that incorporates quick filling, draining, and rinsing features to reduce dyeing cycle times. Liquor ratios as low as 4:1 are possible.Babcock Textile Machinery (BTM), Pineville, N.C., exhibited the new tenter generation Babco-Star incorporating the new energy-efficient sealed oven. This tenter features no loop chain and is capable of running up to 250 yards per minute (yd/min). Krantz, a member of the BTM group, showed its new Shear Cut Batcher that permits tensionless cutting and features a mandrelless automatic fabric winder. The Krantz Syncro Double is a double-layer shrink dryer for knitted and woven fabrics and has a Siemens computer system with decentralized control logic. It features moisture control and emissions control, and permits up to 200 percent over-feed. At Loris Bellini S.p.A., Italy, the focus continues to be on yarn dyeing. The Autolabo, a laboratory machine for dyeing yarn packages, is the companys latest offering. This machine was designed to reproduce exactly the dyeing conditions in Bellinis production dyeing machines and includes computer-controlled dye and chemical additions. As a result, shades dyed in the Autolabo can be replicated exactly in production. From 1 to 3 yarn packages can be dyed at a liquor ratio of 8:1.
The U.S. market is important to Biancalani S.p.A., Italy. Its Petra machine was developed with the American market in mind. Petra was first shown at ITMA 1999 in Paris, but since then, it has been made more reliable and shows higher productivity over the earlier version. This machine produces color reduction and abrasion effects on full-width denim fabric at 10 meters/minute (m/min) by a series of abrasive cylinders combined with water. Fabric comes off the Petra ready for compressive shrinkage. Garments made from fabrics processed on the Petra require only one-third the usual amount of time to be finished. The line of Italy-based Bianco S.p.A. equipment has been supplemented with a new-width monitor and controller for use with tenter frames. In addition, a new rope opener and slitter has been developed that minimizes changeover time from one style to another.Italy-based Brazzoli S.p.A. exhibited its latest generation of dyeing machinery. The Saturno Lux, suitable for 100-percent cotton, cotton/Lycra® and cotton/nylon fabrics has an overflow system that reduces the time of the dyeing process. Brazzoli also featured the Sirio dyeing machine with Turbovario device, a variable bath passage cross-section. As well, the company displayed the Orion horizontal dyeing machine. At the show, company officials said Brazzoli has recently opened a new sales and service facility for the Americas in Mooresville, N.C. It includes a showroom and a well-stocked parts department.The CIBI Compactex, a new compacting machine shown by Cibitex S.r.l., Italy, processes woven and knitted fabrics in a very space-efficient configuration.The new development at Italy-based Comet S.p.A. (recently merged with Santalucia and now known as Unitech) is the PegasoX11, a machine that uses silicon carbide brushes and/or sandpaper to soften fabrics without raising a noticeable pile. Control features include adjustable contact areas and tensions. A wide variety of fabrics can be processed at speeds of up to 15 m/min. The Pegaso-X11 was based on Comets successful and proven napping technology.Corino Macchine S.r.l., Italy, has introduced a new laser-guided slitter/detangler to improve productivity, along with a reengineered extraction pad with improved safety features. A novel fabric plaiter on rails allows higher production speeds.Famas S.r.l., Italy, a member of the TEXBIMA consortium, produces satin and molleton wrapper fabrics for decatizing wool and wool-blend fabrics for the clothing industry.A new transfer printing machine designed for economically producing short runs and samples was shown by Gessner, Worcester, Mass. The Transcolorizer II uses a microprocessor controlled temperature system that maintains less than 1°C temperature difference while providing rapid warm-up and longer heater life. Another new development from Gessner is the Thermalbrush machine, which brushes and heat-stabilizes the pile fibers of napped automotive fabric, providing a longer-lasting surface appearance.Three new laboratory testing machines were introduced by United Kingdom-based James H. HealandCo. Ltd. The Impulse is a random tumble pilling instrument designed for the U.S. market. Its independently controlled modules and interchangeable impellers allow for compactness and versatility. User safety is assured by interlocks that stop the machine instantly if the doors are opened while the impellers are rotating. The TruBurst is a computer-controlled instrument for accurately determining the burst strength of a variety of substrates including traditional textiles, nonwovens, paper, and plastics. A special software package permits data analysis and report writing in five languages (See New Products, TI, this issue) A budget-priced 4-head abrasion and pilling tester, the Nu-Martindale, has many of the features of the widely used 6-head tester, but with a cost designed for smaller laboratories.Modular package-dyeing equipment by International Dyeing Equipment Inc., Stanley, N.C., can easily be configured to dye differently sized loads with the same unit. The Windows NT-based control system uses liquor flow rather than time to control the process. Continuous monitoring of pH and salinity provides real-time data on the dyeing process.Kusters Textile Machinery, Spartanburg, S.C., presented several innovations in the continuous washing of open-width fabrics. A new vacuum-assisted washer was shown that can be used in preparation processes of woven fabrics in combination with conventional wash boxes. Putting this vacuum washer as the last washer before drying replaces 1 to 2 conventional wash boxes and can produce extremely clean fabrics at production speeds of 150 to 200+ yd/min. The TurboFlush washer, shown at ITMA 1999, is widely accepted as state-of-the-art technology and provides excellent reproducible washing results for both pile and flat-woven fabrics with reduced water and energy consumption. Additional Kusters offerings include a calender for thermobonding nonwovens with a heated engraved roll and a modified dye-pad box with an insert to minimize the amount of pad liquor needed.Lawson-Hemphill Sales Inc., Spartanburg, S.C., exhibited its new high-speed production knitter that the company says is perfect for sample preparation for use in the dyehouse or laboratory. The Basic Knitter is a 3 1/2-inch knitting machine that features interchangeable cylinders for a wide range of yarn counts and yarn types.The company, as well, exhibited a wide range of testing products, including equipment for yarn analysis, quality control and laboratory testing.Germany-based Mageba Textilmaschinen, a producer of machinery for processing narrow fabrics, showed a laboratory system for warping, weaving, dyeing, and finishing these specialty fabrics. A new concept in jet dyeing was shown by MCS, Italy. In the Multiflow® machine, single-fabric rope moves in a helical fashion through multiple dyeing chambers, producing extremely level dyeings in 50 percent less time than in conventional one-rope-per-chamber jet machines.Special tenter rails and clips from Marshall and Williams, Greenville, S.C., allow the companys latest tenter frame to operate at production speeds exceeding 300 yd/min. Improved air flow from direct-drive fans gives better temperature control. The computerized control system automatically monitors and adjusts fabric width and tension.A new portable spectrophotometer, the CM2600d, was introduced by Minolta Corp., Ramsey, N.J. The optical system of this instrument is based on Minoltas successful bench- top spectrophotometers. A useful feature is automatic adjustment for ultraviolet light.The True-Matic inspection frame shown by Joseph Pernick Manufacturing Corp., Glendale, N.Y., is an improved version of an earlier model. In addition to measuring relaxed fabric width and length, this computer-controlled system stores the data automatically and can produce detailed reports for review.Santex AG, Switzerland, developed its new SANTAbrUSH machine using its existing sueding machine as a model. The SANTAbrUSH can be used with any fiber or fabric construction to soften and smooth surface appearance through the use of adjustable brush rollers. The machine operates on open-width fabrics, maintains constant fabric tension throughout the process, and incorporates a dust-removal system for worker safety. By adjustment of the operating parameters, a variety of effects is possible. Santex also introduced a new device to spread wet tubular knits without leaving permanent marks. The SANTAStrETCH uses only one-tenth the force of competing spreaders due to its unique magnetic spreading assembly. Another new machine by Santex, the SANTASPREAD TS, is designed as a high-speed compactor for tubular knits. Improved felts and heated shoes, along with constant tension, provide a more reliable compaction process. Technology from its partner SperottoRimar, Italy, has allowed Santex to develop the new Decofast, a continuous decating machine.Scholl America Inc., Charlotte, N.C., showed its new automated Century Intermix Dissolving System for powder bulk chemicals. The system is computer-controlled and automatically prepares solutions with glaubersalt, common salt, and soda ash. It allows automated dispensing and fast transfer into the dyeing process. Scholl also exhibited the new Rapidstar MiniLab sample piece-dyeing machine that was designed to transfer all important dye-setting data to the production machines for 100-percent repeatability and accuracy. The new Rapidstar Century provides fast process cycles for a large variety of knitted and woven fabrics and features a very low consumption of steam, water, energy, salt and chemicals. Its patented Rapidflex variable chamber adjustment option offers high flexibility that accommodates todays varying load sizes, fabric weights and fabric styles.
Sclavos, Greece, showed the improved version of the Robolab 240, an automatic dispensing and solution preparation system. Sclavos claims the Robolab is totally automated and extremely accurate with respect to color matching. Sclavos showed the prototype of the automated dispensing system from Pozzi that will be used in conjunction with its machinery, and displayed further the latest generation of its Venus dyeing machine.Superba S.A., France, showed its latest version DL 5 dyeing line for space-dyeing effects, originally introduced at ITMA 1999 in Paris. The line is made of stainless steel and features an on-line washing system. Drying capacity is up to 400 kg/hr. Superba showed for the first time the improved dyeing head with deflector plate. This allows the creation of special dye patterns in combination with the dye head.Thies Corp., Rock Hill, S.C., presented a sample jet-dyeing machine designed to give excellent correlation to production dyeings. Not present at the show, a recently patented development by a Thies/Dystar collaboration, the Luft-roto plus jet-dyeing machine delivers 100-percent cotton dyeings with very low liquor ratios (as low as 3.5:1), short process times, and extremely low energy consumption. Dispensing Systems
A number of companies exhibited dispensing systems. Several companies that have been in the market for some time did not appear to make it to this show. This is a mature technology, having been around for more than 20 years, with few innovations in 2001.Gaston County Dyeing Machine Co., Stanley, N.C., emphasized its new automatic chemical dispensing system that is an important integrated module of the SuperTex dyeing system for most efficient and quality oriented dyeing. SuperTex+SQL software provides control and supervision in virtually every dyeing area and is the perfect match to Gaston Countys Millennium dyeing machine. The Millennium itself was displayed with a space-saving horizontal charge tank and features now an increased capacity from 400 pounds (lb) to 500 lb per chamber. Its Sentinel control system is a profi-bus system with Internet capability for global customer service support.Technorama S.r.l., Italy, developed the first gravimetric dispensing systems, Dosarama, in 1986. The accuracy claimed was ± 0.01 grams (g). The new laboratory Dosarama WS at the show is a combined dispensing system for powder or granulated dyes with an accuracy of ±0.001 g using a Sartorious scale and a volumetric multi-pipette system for liquids and solutions. With this machine, standard concentrated solutions can be prepared for further dosage and automatic replacement of expired and exhausted sample bottles. Larger industrial systems were not exhibited at ATME-I 2001.Another well-established vendor of large dispensing systems is Lawer S.p.A., Italy. The Supercolor industrial-scale dispensing system shown at ATME-I 2001 consisted of 20 silos, a computer-controlled weigh trolley capable of moving at up to 6 meters per second and a Mettler multi-range scale with capacity of 32 kg and a resolution of ±0.01 g. The control system is Windows-based.Systems can be furnished in units of 10 silos, with one 120-silo installation existing. Each silo has a clear front panel for visual monitoring of dye content. Each silo can be individually removed for cleaning. A bar-code system on the backside assures refilling with correct dye.A reliable dispensing system for liquid dyes and chemicals was shown by Termoelettronica, S.p.A., Italy. The easy-to-use and -install system allows rapid dispensing by the use of air pressure followed by water rinsing, while a touch-screen controlled microprocessor ensures reproducibility. June 2001