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ITMA Technology: Dyeing, Printing & Finishing

Peter J. Hauser, Ph.D., Technical Editor

The focus of the textile wet processing technology shown at ITMA 2011 was doing more with less — processing textiles with less water and energy but with greater productivity than in the past. From high-efficiency washers to extremely low-liquor-ratio dyeing machines to more energy-efficient tenter frames, the textile machinery industry is embracing the worldwide trend of wise resource management. The manufacturers mentioned in this article demonstrate the progress made toward the goal of high-quality production with minimal resource consumption.

Preparation Equipment
Benninger AG, Switzerland, presented knit processing machinery with a focus on reduced carbon footprints to reduce the environmental impact of wet processing. Wet-on-wet mercerizing is said to reduce carbon emissions by 40 percent owing to elimination of a drying step. The high-efficiency Trikoflex drum washer uses less than half the amount of water compared to conventional washers. Utilizing a cold pad batch dyeing process with the Benninger Küsters DyePad can produce 60-percent less carbon emissions compared to exhaust dyeing.

Goller, part of Germany-based Fong's Europe GmbH — the European arm of Fong's Industries Co. Ltd., Hong Kong — displayed the Sintensa Plus, the latest in the Sintensa line of preparation equipment for knitted goods. A high level of automation and precise control of fabric tension provides well-prepared fabrics using less water, energy and chemicals than in the past.

Italy-based Sperotto Rimar, part of Santex AG, Switzerland, showed the Nova solvent scouring system. This continuous system uses perchloroethylene to scour fabrics made with natural and man-made fibers, with significantly reduced energy consumption compared to conventional aqueous preparation ranges. No additional chemical auxiliaries are required, and increased productivity is seen.

Alliance Machines Textiles, France, exhibited several dyeing machines with unique features. The Rotora Y&F is designed to dye yarn packages and beams of fabric at the same time in one machine, leading to a claimed 50-percent cost savings over conventional processes. For piece dyeing, the Riviera Eco Green can dye a variety of woven and tubular or open-width knits at a liquor ratio of 3:1.

Loris Bellini S.p.A., Italy, known for yarn dyeing and drying expertise, emphasized several products in this area. The APPC-LV, a pressure cabinet for dyeing yarns in hank form, combines excellent performance with low water and steam consumption; while the ABP, an automatic spray-dyeing machine, is designed for delicate yarns on hanks. For yarns in package form, the RBNO-I for horizontal package-dyeing and the RBNV-I for vertical package dyeing provide shortened processing times and reduced water and energy usage. After package dyeing, the ARSPV vertical dryer and the ARSPO horizontal dryer can recover 90 percent of the drying energy to produce hot water for use in the dyehouse.

Brazzoli S.p.A.
, Italy, showed several innovative piece-dyeing machines. The InnoEcology machine is able to dye cotton at a liquor ratio of 3.7:1 with lower liquor ratios possible for man-made fibers. Fabric speeds can be increased by 50 percent, while nozzle pressures are reduced by up to 40 percent. Effective dyeing of two fabric strands per tube at a liquor ratio of 3.5:1 is the premise behind the InnoTwin. Dyeing times and energy consumption can be reduced by 20 percent compared to typical dyeing systems. The unique InnoTech machine uses two conveyor belts to carry the fabric in the machine, allowing for very delicate fabrics to be dyed at liquor ratios from 3:1 to 5:1.

Flainox S.r.l.
, Italy, exhibited garment-dyeing machines that were redesigned to provide a more sustainable, environmentally friendly dyeing process. In particular, the NRG line has been ISO 14064- and PASS 2050-certified to have reduced carbon emissions. Not only are the machines capable of dyeing garments at liquor ratios as low as 4:1, they also use 60-percent less water, 50-percent less steam, and up to 20-percent less chemicals than other garment-dyeing machines. In addition, Flainox manufactures its machines in facilities powered by renewable energy sources.

The phrase "One Stop — Green Innovation" was prominently displayed throughout the ITMA halls. This phrase was Fong's message to ITMA attendees that Fong's machinery on display clearly had an environmentally friendly focus. The Allwin HT package-dyeing machine can dye a variety of fiber and blends at a liquor ratio as low as 4:1 with 40-percent less energy and water use and significantly lower chemical costs than comparable machines. Overall production costs are estimated to be 30-percent lower. The latest generation of the TEC series of high-pressure, high-temperature dyeing machines is able to achieve high-quality dyeings of natural, man-made and blended fibers with reduced energy and water usage.

Gaston Systems Inc.
, Stanley, N.C., showed an upgrade of its Formula N foam dyeing system. Up to five foam heads can be used to overdye denim fabric with fiber reactive dyes at a total 30-percent wet pickup. The system can be configured to treat both sides of the fabric if desired.

Gofront Holding Ltd., Hong Kong, showed a variety of very low-liquor-ratio machines. The Excel GF241XL was designed to dye yarn packages with a liquor ratio of 3:1. For piece dyeing, the Airforce Extreme machine can process fabrics efficiently at a 2.8:1 liquor ratio. The savings in water, energy and steam are significant.

Lawer S.p.A., Italy, presented an automated color kitchen system that weighs powder dyestuff with the Supercolor unit and uses the Dyematic unit to dissolve and dispense the dyestuff to the dyeing machine. The Dos-Chem system is used to dispense auxiliary chemicals to the dyeing machine.

MCS Officina Meccanica S.p.A., Italy, exhibited a more efficient piece-dyeing machine. The Dynamica has proprietary pumping and dosing systems and was designed to run at a liquor ratio of 3.5:1. Both single-rope and multiple-rope versions are available as well as special models for upholstery and toweling.

Sclavos S.A.
, Greece, showed the Athena 2 piece-dyeing machine. This machine boasts very low water and energy consumption along with minimal tension and abrasion.

Then Maschinen, also part of Fong's Europe, presented several innovative dyeing machines. The LOTUS (long tube sensitive) machine was developed to dye sensitive fabrics at the extremely low liquor ratio of 2:1 using Then's AIRFLOW® technology. The latest iteration of Airflow development is the Synergy 600G2, which incorporates a self-cleaning filter system that can save significant processing time. The TDS dyehouse management system can link an automated color kitchen, dye and chemical dissolving unit, and dispensing system for complete control and reporting functions.

The iMaster H2O dyeing machine shown by Thies GmbH & Co. KG, Germany, was designed to dye fabrics with minimum tension at a liquor ratio of 4:1 while reducing total water and energy consumption. Its adjustable internal walls and Teflon®-lined chamber allow a wide variety of fabrics to be processed successfully. To provide companies a link between laboratory-scale and full-production machinery, the miniMaster, a pilot-plant version of the iMaster H2O, was developed. For package dyeing, the eco-bloc quattro mini-bloc can dye yarns in quantities down to 50 grams. Treatment of rinsing liquor can be carried out on the dyeing machine with the Advanced Aftertreatment Process (AAP) system that uses active oxygen to decolorize rinse water before discharge. The hankMaster provides reduced water and energy consumption for dyeing yarns in hank form.

Durst Phototechnik AG, Italy, introduced the Kappa 180, an ink-jet printer that uses the proprietary Quadro print head system to produce printed goods using acid, reactive or disperse dyes at speeds up to 606 square meters per hour (m2/hr). All important printing parameters can be monitored remotely using the Durst Advanced Remote Diagnostics (DARD™) system for process control.

Forbo Siegling GmbH, Germany, showed the Print 6646-2.15E printing blanket. The blanket was designed with single-ply construction to allow maximum repeat accuracy with rotary screen printers.

Jakob Müller AG
, Switzerland, unveiled the MDP2 MÜPRINT2, an ink-jet printing system for narrow polyester fabrics measuring 15 to 400 millimeters (mm). Up to 16 rolls at 15-mm width can be printed simultaneously at a speed of 0.4 meters per minute (m/min).

Stork Prints BV, the Netherlands, introduced a new digital printer. The Sphene, with new PrinterServer 7 RIP software, can print eight colors on fabrics 1.85 meters wide at speeds up to 555 m2/hr with 600 dots per inch (dpi) resolution. The newest printer in the Pegasus line, the Pegasus EVO, was shown with enhanced flexibility and remote diagnostic capabilities. The digital drive introduced with the EVO can be retrofitted on older printers, offering customers an opportunity to upgrade equipment at minimum capital cost.

A milestone in printing speed was reached with the Xennia Osiris digital printer from Xennia Technology, United Kingdom. The Osiris is capable of printing speeds of 30 m/min (3,330 m2/hr) at 144-dpi resolution, providing a low-cost option for both sample lots and short production runs. For very wide substrates, the Xennia Emerald digital printer can print material as wide as 3.4 meters at a resolution of 600 dpi with 600-m2/hr speed.

Zimmer Maschinenbau GmbH, Austria, introduced the Colaris printer, touted as the most economical digital printer available. This printer can print eight colors on fabrics up to 3.2 meters wide ranging from lightweight silk to heavy toweling, and can be joined to an inline continuous pretreatment range. Printing speeds range up to 1,200 m2/hr depending on the specific configuration chosen, and resolution up to 720 dpi can be achieved.

Arioli S.p.A., Italy, exhibited an atmospheric pressure plasma unit for surface cleaning and etching, graft polymerization, and thin film deposition. A modified corona discharge electrode system provides the helium-based plasma in the roll-to-roll lab and production units. Fabrics can be treated in 2.4-meter width at 25 m/min.

Brückner Trockentechnik GmbH & Co. KG, Germany, introduced several additions to its Techno-Line coating line. New applicators were shown that allow simultaneous coating of bi-elastic knitted fabrics on upper and lower sides of the fabric inline with a tenter frame.

Erhardt + Leimer GmbH
, Germany, showed several useful tenter frame add-ons. The ELCut BTA 80 trims the glued edges of fabric at the tenter exit and suctions away the trim automatically. The ELCount system uses high-resolution cameras to automatically measure the pick count of fabric as it enters and exits the tenter. Fabric temperature and residual moisture as well as exhaust moisture and tenter temperature can all be monitored with the ELMat system.

Fibroline, France, presented its D-Preg™ dry powder impregnation system for composites and technical textiles. Dry thermosetting, thermoplastic or functional powders are imbedded in the textile with the aid of a high-voltage electric field. Further thermal processing produces the final finished textile without the need for water or solvent evaporation.

Kusters Calico Machinery Ltd.
, India, exhibited the TwinNip, a new padder for wet-on-wet finishing. The compact padder has a low footprint for reduced space requirements and can be used as both a double- and single-dip padder. An S-Roll is employed to provide the maximum dewatering of incoming wet fabric.

Mahlo GmbH & Co. KG
, Germany, displayed the Orthopac CRVMC-12, a web-straightening system featuring a patented concept that automatically measures the web and adjusts the drives to maintain the input parameters. The system can process a wide range of fabrics from carpets to technical textiles.

A. Monforts Textilmaschinen GmbH & Co. KG
, Germany, offered several new or improved products for fabric finishing. The redesigned Montex 8000 tenter frame has improved air flow to reduce chemical or dye migration during drying, as well as the Eco Booster HRC that uses exhaust air to heat incoming air. The Matex Eco-applicator is a kiss roll chemical applicator for wet-on-dry or wet-on-wet finishing that can treat both sides of a fabric with minimum wet pickup while automatically adjusting the kiss rolls to maintain the desired wet pickup. The redesigned Monfortex 8000 provides compressive shrinkage to fabric at 20-percent-higher speeds with 40-percent-less water usage and 20-percent-longer belt life.

Monforts' redesignedMontex 8000 tenter frame offers improved air flow to reduce chemical or dye migration during drying.

Morrison Textile Machinery Co.
, Fort Lawn, S.C., exhibited a closed-loop Sanfor machine, the SanforTROL™. This compressive-shrinkage machine measures shrinkage continuously online, and controls temperature and moisture levels to automatically maintain the desired shrinkage within set parameters.

Oerlikon Textile Components GmbH, Germany, highlighted an improved belt for compressive shrinkage. The Daytex® Shrinkage Belt is seamless and has unique curved edges to increase belt life significantly.

Ontec, Germany, showed a complete line of coating systems. Coating units are available for offline coating as well as coaters that mount directly on warp knit or looms.

Switzerland, offered the ECO-OPTIDRY® controller for drying and heat-setting processes. Actual energy consumption is calculated in real time and displayed for use in process optimization. Energy savings of 30 percent can be realized.

Santex introduced three innovative products. The ESC-Energy Saving Chamber is an additional drying zone that when installed on an existing tenter frame utilizes the heat of exhaust air to increase dryer capacity by 15 percent. A new coating/laminating machine, the Cavi 2 Coat, is designed to coat substrates with any of four different coating heads for hotmelt applications. The Synpact compacting machine combines a rubber belt shrinkage unit with a felt blanket shrinkage unit to yield a process that offers twice the speed realized on traditional felt shrinkage machines.

Stalam S.p.A.
, Italy, exhibited the RF 180 kW dryer. This radio-frequency dryer for yarn packages has the capacity to dry more than 9 tons per day of cotton yarn.

The X-treme XEB shown by Xetma Vollenweider AG, Switzerland, is a new brushing, sueding and emerizing machine with higher speed — 100 m/min — and greater energy input to provide higher productivity. A unique quick-change system allows rapid replacement of components. The new X-plore XCS shears carpets up to 6 meters wide with special heavy-duty units.

Zimmer's Triplexcoat machine can coat fabric with either knife-over-air, knife-over-roll, or rotary screen technologies. In addition, slot nozzle and foam coating options are available. Substrates up to 3.4 meters wide can be accommodated at speeds up to 100 m/min.

November/December 2011