LENZING™ ECOVERO™ Eco Viscose As Sustainable Botanical Alternative

By Jayaraman Sethuraman

Sustainability has not only become a key consideration for consumers and brands alike, it has also become one of the biggest and most consistent trends the fashion industry has ever observed. For consumers, this has evolved over time to include other considerations, such as comfort and longevity. Materials that can tick most boxes are preferable for consumers but can be hard to come by due to several reasons. For example, the sourcing of natural fibers has become more unstable as global supply chains have faced challenges in recent times. Extreme weathers caused by climate change has also hampered the crop yields of raw materials, causing supply instability.

The price of cotton, one of the key cellulose fibers used in the market, has been fluctuating in recent times due to a lack of acreage, yield, climate change, low opening stock as well as increased production cost caused by a rise in energy price and shipping costs. As prices continue to fluctuate, retailers and manufactures are increasingly looking for quality alternatives with more price stability.

While supply chain players have the option of synthetic alternatives, they do not address the need of consumers who are becoming increasingly aware of the shortcomings of synthetic fibers. Known to be more breathable than synthetic fibers and bring more comfort to users, there is a rising demand for cellulose fibers to cater for both comfort and sustainability in textile products, opening the door for wood-based fibers to be viewed as an alternative to cotton.

As a wood-based cellulosic fiber, viscose is often preferred by price-sensitive spinners and fabric markers in the market. Out of the 7 percent wood-based cellulosic fibers consumed globally, 76 percent of the fibers are viscose. Despite the popularity, viscose has historically been perceived to have a negative impact on the environment due to the methods adopted by many manufacturers, where toxic chemicals and non-renewable energy sources are often used to process the fibers.

Hence, to reduce environmental footprint of finished products, it is important to look into the sourcing and production process of the viscose fiber. For instance, the wood and pulp used in the production of LENZINGLENZING™ ECOVERO™ Eco Viscose As Sustainable Botanical Alternative ECOVEROLENZING™ ECOVERO™ Eco Viscose As Sustainable Botanical Alternative viscose fibers come from certified and controlled sources following the stringent guidelines of the Lenzing Wood and Pulp Policy. In addition, the production process of Lenzing Ecovero branded specialty viscose fibers has up to 50-percent lower water impact and up to 50-percent lower carbon emissions when compared with conventional viscose fibers, as confirmed by the Higg Material Sustainability Index. Certified by EU Ecolabel for textile products and ranked among the top global viscose producers in the world, Lenzing Ecovero offers a sustainable eco-viscose choice that answers consumers’ need for comfort and sustainability.


Editor’s Note: Jayaraman Sethuraman is senior commercial director for AMEA & NEA textile business, Lenzing AG, Austria.


November 22, 2022

Does The Pareto Principle Work In Spinning?

Does The Pareto Principle Work In Spinning?Assessing its role with Uster contamination control in yarn production

TW Special Report

Profitability is obviously a basic requirement for spinners, so how might they benefit from applying wider economic ideas alongside established ways of improving mill productivity? This article examines contamination-controlled spinning from the viewpoint of one such well-known concept — the Pareto Principle — and assesses its validity in a yarn production environment.

In the late 19th Century, Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto made the initial observations on which the Pareto Principle is based. Also known as the 80-20 rule, it suggests that in many cases only 20 percent of the effort put in will account for 80 percent of the result. This imbalance between input and output has been used in business to choose priorities and focus on the most effective areas to bring the greatest reward. Although not a hard and fast rule, the Pareto Principle can help to increase productivity and efficiency in industrial settings.

Specifically, it can be applied to determine best practice in some elements of spinning when focused on contamination control.

Small Effort, Big Effect

Experienced spinners know that contamination control in the blowroom exactly follows this principle. Correct positioning of the fiber cleaning system — at the point where the fibers are most open — is crucial. Contaminants might otherwise be hidden inside bigger tufts, but not with Uster Jossi Vision Shield at the fiber opening stage.

Uster Jossi Vision Shield is backed by 20 years experience. Conventional camera-based systems cannot match its performance. Operating across a much greater wavelength, Uster’s spectroscopes can find contamination even within the ‘invisible’ range of IR and UV light. Fragments of contamination in light pastel colors and white also pose no problem.

The Final Check

Any remaining contamination or defects will then be identified and removed by the final-stage check at the Quantum 4.0 yarn clearers, which will ensure the yarn meets customer requirements. The good news for spinners wondering about capacitive or optical clearing for a new production line, or for retrofit, is that Uster Quantum 4.0 has both capacitive and optical sensors, applicable to different yarns and changing conditions.

Does The Pareto Principle Work In Spinning?The Non-Pareto Effect

The second part of the Pareto concept — that the ‘other’ 20 percent of the results require 80 percet of the effort, does not actually apply for contamination-controlled yarn production. The principle here is “managing remaining contaminants in yarns at minimum possible cost,”  and the solution is Total Contamination Control, which achieves far more than any 20/80 correlation! Total Contamination Control means precisely controlled contamination levels in yarns, with minimum waste as an integrated solution.

Total Contamination Control (TCC) balances ejections in the blowroom along with cuts in winding in the most advanced way. Uster Jossi Vision Shield and Uster Quantum 4.0 are two perfectly-linked systems in the production process, minimizing the risk of foreign matter quality issues and focusing on defined quality and profitability.

TCC is an Uster Value module with Quality Expert, which also reveals optimization potential to save costs. Data from Uster Jossi Vision Shield and Uster Quantum 4.0 combined with Uster’s long experience in contamination control, answer the following key questions in practice. What is the right level of contamination removal? How does fiber cleaning and yarn clearing achieve consistent levels of contamination that will satisfy the customer requirements? And how does it prevent waste of good material?

Beyond Pareto

Vilfredo Pareto of course couldn’t know, more than 100 years ago, about Uster’s preventive yarn clearing. This solution follows its own rules: preventive means that there’s no 20 percent or anything remaining needing extra effort, but there is security. The new combined clearing and enhanced detection modes protect yarn quality, while reducing cuts at the same time.

Furthermore, disturbing defects cannot pass, so that issues in downstream processes are prevented. Upstream, connectivity to Uster’s quality management platform contributes to preventive yarn clearing. Perhaps preventive yarn clearing could be called a 100/0 rule?

November 22, 2022

Building Trust In Dope-Dyed And Vegetable-Dyed Textiles

Building Trust In Dope-Dyed And Vegetable-Dyed TextilesTW Special Report

When a consumer buys a clothing or textile product, the choices they make are more affected than ever before by concerns over health, safety and sustainability. They want products that reflect their values, and they are actively looking for evidence that a product is better for society, human health and the environment.

Textile dyeing is now an area of increasing concern. Traditional methods have been wasteful, requiring harmful chemicals and the use of large amounts of water and energy. These harmful chemicals are often lost into the process effluent and dumped into the environment.

Brands and consumers want commercial alternatives that provide improved sustainability, without a loss in quality. Forward-thinking manufacturers are turning to alternative dyeing techniques, such as dope dyeing and vegetable dyeing, to meet these requirements.

Dope Dye

Alternatively known as spun dyeing or coloration, mass coloration or dyeing, or solution dyeing, this technique involves the coloring matter being incorporated into a polymer solution, or polymer melt, before the fiber filament formation. It is an increasingly popular technique for coloring textiles, compared to piece dyeing.

Since the color is incorporated directly into the fiber, it provides exemplary colorfastness and superior coloring matter dispersal. This method also negates dye loss into effluents and ends the need for after-treatments and additional rinsing. However, it is only applicable to manufactured fibers, therefore slow to change and making it difficult to adapt quickly to changes in fashion.

Vegetable Dye

Many brands are also turning to natural dyes to improve sustainability. These dyes are biodegradable, renewable, and have a reduced negative impact on human health and the environment.

As the name suggests, vegetable dyes originate from plants — their seeds, flowers, roots, leaves, fruits, etc. While they are better for the planet, they do also have limitations for the manufacturer — poorer colorfastness and reproducibility of shades and a low affinity for synthetic fibers.

Challenge

These two dyeing techniques offer the textile industry multiple advantages in terms of reducing their environmental footprint while meeting the changing demands of consumers. However, without independent laboratory analysis, it can be difficult to differentiate between textiles that are dyed using traditional methods and those that have been dope or vegetable dyed.

This creates a challenge for garment makers and brands: how do they build trust in their products and demonstrate to consumers and buyers that they have used these alternative methodologies when dyeing fibers?

The solution is independent screening by a third-party service provider and the application of a recognized product mark that both consumers and retailers can understand and trust.

SGS Solution

SGS has developed two dedicated screening services to help manufacturers and brands confirm the dyeing method used in their products:

  • SGS dope dyeing verification service; and
  • SGS vegetable dyed material verification service.

Using an analytical laboratory testing approach that covers colorant type and/or index ingredients, SGS is able to differentiate between vegetable dyes, normal dyes, pigment dyes and dope dyes.

Once the dyeing method has been corroborated, the product can carry the SGS Independently Checked (IC) Mark. This is a clear indication to the buyer that a fabric or product has been independently verified as conforming to agreed test parameters, including dyeing criteria.

To display the mark, a product must undergo:

  • Laboratory analysis to verify dyeing method;
  • Compliance testing against mandatory regulations;
  • Document review and on-site/remote assessment of manufacturing processes; and
  • Restricted substances testing.

The mark also contains a QR code that gives stakeholders access to details of the used test criteria, thereby improving transparency and consumer trust. After all, in the end, it’s only trusted because it’s tested.

November 22, 2022

Upscale Your Performance: 100-Percent Color Monitoring Leads The Way

Upscale Your Performance: 100-Percent Color Monitoring Leads The WayTW Special Report

Profitability is taken to the next level with the best technology on the market. Resource conservation and utilization are — and remain — two of the most important aspects in all manufacturing processes. So, spinners rely on YarnMaster® PRISMA to take them another step towards maximum profitability.

Once again, Loepfe delivers pioneering technology to the textile market. As proven in the latest customer trial, the detection of foreign matter in all colors opens up new possibilities in terms of quality, profitability, optimal use of raw materials and process optimization.

Maximum Performance With 100-Percent Color Monitoring

Seeing is believing. The control and handling of contamination in cotton are some of the biggest challenges in spinning technology. With the introduction of YarnMaster PRISMA, Loepfe has set a new benchmark in quality control, especially for cotton, but also for colored yarns, melange yarns and man-made fibers. Loepfe’s newly developed F-sensor enables 100-percent color management for the first time in the history of yarn clearing. True foreign matter detection eliminates unjustified cuts which directly leads to higher performance and a reduction in yarn waste.

Upscale Your Performance: 100-Percent Color Monitoring Leads The Way
Figure 1: RGB color lightning within the clearing channel

The RGB technology used by Loepfe to detect foreign matter and organic components of cotton, is based on detection with the full spectrum of light. The yarn gets illuminated in the full spectrum of light using the additive RGB color model. This unique technology for yarn quality control uses the three primary colors — red, green and blue — adding wavelength to enable full-color monitoring, a globally unique feature. RGB technology makes it possible for the first time to precisely detect all colors, thus scan the whole raw material and classify the unwanted components within it.

 

Optimized reflection and adapted optical technology in PRISMA further results in 360° all-round monitoring. This novel clearing technology achieves unprecedented precision in the yarn clearing of staple fibers.

Upscale Your Performance: 100-Percent Color Monitoring Leads The Way
Figure 2: How foreign matter is seen by the sensors

Production Optimization Through A Cut History Overview

The PRISMA operating system provides a Cut History in which the detected colors are displayed for each cut. This enables data-based decisions on quality–mill management optimization and helps to increase efficiency from the blow room to the winding machine. This unique feature provides important information about 100 percent of the spun yarn and opens up new possibilities in raw material selection, blending, and cleaning.

Upscale Your Performance: 100-Percent Color Monitoring Leads The Way
Figure 3: Foreign matter color mapping

Only The Necessary: Intelligent Organic Filtering

PRISMA’s uniqueness supports increases in efficiency with a holistic approach. The PRISMA software system uses algorithms and statistical models to analyze and draw inferences from data patterns, ensuring recognition of all possible organic matter.

In addition to color management, RGB technology enables color-oriented selection of organic material in the cotton yarn, which does not necessarily have to be removed, as it does not cause disturbances in downstream process steps and is eliminated by other means.

Loepfe has fed the system with thousands of samples of organics, showing what they look like and how disturbing they are. The system can then recognize the organics without following explicit instructions, relying instead on the collection of organics and the patterns it has made from it. Customers can benefit from this intelligent organic filtering which offers an even more accurate detection of organic substances. The filter has learned whether organics need to be removed or not, leading to considerable savings, clearer cuts and higher winding efficiency. Machine learning methods take the organic clearing function to the next level.

Trials with several customers have shown that PRISMA is able to maintain yarn quality while increasing clearing efficiency through a lower cut-rate. This is achieved by the unique combination of software and precise and sensitive sensor technology which allows error-free detection and classification of disturbing or non-disturbing defects.

Focus On Customer Needs: Customer Trial Results

In production, certain parameters are given. The level of efficiency to be profitable and the level of yarn quality to guarantee flawless further production. Various customer tests have shown that the unique measuring technologies of PRISMA enables the producers to achieve a higher yarn quality at a fixed cut-rate, i.e. a fixed productivity level, or vice versa provides a higher productivity (lower cut-rate) at a given yarn quality.

Upscale Your Performance: 100-Percent Color Monitoring Leads The Way
Figure 4: Customer test result

Figure 4 shows a test carried out with a customer in China manufacturing an Ne 60 compact yarn. Since the yarn quality now produced is not always satisfying, the goal was to reach a higher yarn quality while keeping the defined level of productivity (cut-rate).

The on-site test showed that the target — higher quality while maintaining the cut-rate — was met. This important production optimization was achieved by the more precise removal of colored foreign matter and fewer cuts on non-disturbing organic events. This result also achieves improvements in raw material utilization, since a higher quality could be achieved from the same raw material with the same cut-rate. The performance of PRISMA convinced the customer and leaves him room for further optimization of his profitability. This new and trend-setting innovation shows once again how further optimization of spinning mills can be achieved through 100 percent online quality control with the latest technology on the market.

November 22, 2022

Researchers Eye Embroidery As Low-Cost Solution For Making Wearable Electronics

Researchers Eye Embroidery As Low-Cost Solution For Making Wearable ElectronicsTW Special Report

Embroidering power-generating yarns onto fabric allowed researchers to embed a self-powered, numerical touch-pad and movement sensors into clothing. The technique offers a low-cost, scalable potential method for making wearable devices.

“Our technique uses embroidery, which is pretty simple — you can stitch our yarns directly on the fabric,” said the study’s lead author Rong Yin, assistant professor of textile engineering, chemistry and science at North Carolina State University. “During fabric production, you don’t need to consider anything about the wearable devices. You can integrate the power-generating yarns after the clothing item has been made.”

In the study published in Nano Energy, researchers tested multiple designs for power-generating yarns. To make them durable enough to withstand the tension and bending of the embroidery stitching process, they ultimately used five commercially available copper wires, which had a thin polyurethane coating, together. Then, they stitched them onto cotton fabric with another material called PTFE.

Researchers Eye Embroidery As Low-Cost Solution For Making Wearable Electronics“This is a low-cost method for making wearable electronics using commercially available products,” Yin said. “The electrical properties of our prototypes were comparable to other designs that relied on the same power generation mechanism.”

The researchers relied on a method of generating electricity called the “triboelectric effect,” which involves harnessing electrons exchanged by two different materials, like static electricity. They found the PTFE fabric had the best performance in terms of voltage and current when in contact with the polyurethane-coated copper wires, as compared to other types of fabric that they tested, including cotton and silk. They also tested coating the embroidery samples in plasma to increase the effect.

“In our design, you have two layers – one is your conductive, polyurethane-coated copper wires, and the other is PTFE, and they have a gap between them,” Yin said. “When the two non-conductive materials come into contact with each other, one material will lose some electrons, and some will get some electrons. When you link them together, there will be a current.”

Researchers tested their yarns as motion sensors by embroidering them with the PTFE fabric on denim. They placed the embroidery patches on the palm, under the arm, at the elbow and at the knee to track electrical signals generated as a person moves. They also attached fabric with their embroidery on the insole of a shoe to test its use as a pedometer, finding their electrical signals varied depending on whether the person was walking, running or jumping.

Lastly, they tested their yarns in a textile-based numeric keypad on the arm, which they made by embroidering numbers on a piece of cotton fabric, and attaching them to a piece of PTFE fabric. Depending on the number that the person pushed on the keypad, they saw different electrical signals generated for each number.

“You can embroider our yarns onto clothes, and when you move, it generates an electrical signal, and those signals can be used as a sensor,” Yin said. “When we put the embroidery in a shoe, if you are running, it generates a higher voltage than if you were just walking. When we stitched numbers onto fabric, and press them, it generates a different voltage for each number. It could be used as an interface.”

Researchers Eye Embroidery As Low-Cost Solution For Making Wearable ElectronicsSince textile products will inevitably be washed, they tested the durability of their embroidery design in a series of washing and rubbing tests. After hand washing and rinsing the embroidery with detergent, and drying it in an oven, they found no difference or a slight increase in voltage. For the prototype coated in plasma, they found weakened but still superior performance compared with the original sample. After an abrasion test, they found that there was no significant change in electrical output performance of their designs after 10,000 rubbing cycles.

In future work, they plan to integrate their sensors with other devices to add more functions.

“The next step is to integrate these sensors into a wearable system,” Yin said.

The study, “Flexible, durable and washable triboelectric yarn and embroidery for self-powered sensing and human-machine interaction,” was published online in Nano Energy. Co-authors included Yu Chen, Erdong Chen, Zihao Wang, Yali Ling, Rosie Fisher, Mengjiao Li, Jacob Hart, Weilei Mu, Wei Gao, Xiaoming Tao and Bao Yang. Funding was provided by North Carolina State University through the NC State Faculty Research & Professional Development Fund and the NC State Summer REU program.

November 22, 2022

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