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Content archived on 2024-06-16

Development of an online-sensor-based washcontrol system and water recycling for use in textile dyeing houses and laundries

Final Report Summary - WASHCONTROL (Development of an online-sensor-based WashControl system and water recycling for use in textile dyeing houses and laundries)

Washing and rinsing processes represent very important and cost intensive steps in small and medium dyeing houses and laundries (SMEs). However, they are mostly performed under weak process conditions and without any controlling due to lack of suitable sensors. Such non-controlled processes are very time consuming and require lots of water and energy.

The WASHCONTROL project aimed to develop an innovative, online, sensor based system to be used in discontinuous dyeing ranges and laundries. The proposal enabled water savings of up to 30 %, combined with cost effective water recycling using membrane technology.

Firstly, sensors and control parameters for rinsing and washing were identified. Conventional washing processes were analysed in order to display inefficient process conditions and the potential for water saving, so as to eliminate ineffective washing and rinsing. The potential to substitute hazardous chemicals by less harmful compounds was also investigated, along with the effect of wastewater pollution reduction. The proposed innovation, consisting of a multi-detector system and controlling software, was developed, applied and implemented in order to assess its stability and reliability.

The system was firstly tested and optimised in the laboratory and then developed in prototype scale, installed and evaluated under actual industrial conditions. In addition, water recycling methods exploiting membrane technology were analysed, along with the effect of alternative process chemicals and type of wastewater on membrane performance and permeate quality. It was observed that permeate from selected nanofiltration (NF) or reverse osmosis (RO) membrane treatment could be used for rinsing and dyeing without any negative influence on the fastness properties. Water recycling was also successfully achieved in pilot scale. These findings were subsequently combined with software development to result in cost effective control and efficient recycling during the dying process.

The outcome of WASHCONTROL was anticipated to ensure clean and proper textile production in an ecological and economical emphasised environment in order to boost the competitiveness of the European SME sectoral industry, which suffered from cheap alternatives provided by low cost countries. The estimated required time for the commercialisation of the prototype was less than one year, with relevant attempts following the research completion. Based on this conclusion, knowledge and state of the art were disseminated in accordance to a clearly defined strategy.