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A cost effective, environmentally friendly total dyeing system for microfibre polyester


Microfibre polyester is a commercially and technically exciting part of the growing world textile market. Textiles based on it have unique properties and finishes which are very attractive to the market.
Although growth of microfibre polyester has been relatively rapid, difficult and cost-ineffective processing and finishing currently limit future growth.
In yam manufacture of melt-spun fibres many more fibres per yam are quenched, causing either quality or production rate to fall.
Dyeing of microfibre yarns is very difficult - unusual fibre microstructure and high surface area cause very rapid dye uptake and uneven coverage. Fabric is dyed with great care and difficulty which reduces productivity.
The smaller fibre cross section scatters more incident light than with conventional fibres so about three times as much dye must be used for the same visual depth of shade.
High dye loading and high surface area cause heat, light and wash fastness to be reduced.
Environmental problems are magnified due to high liquor ratios, large amounts of auxiliaries used, unfixed dye and reduction clearing of the dyed fabric to give adequate fastness.
Japanese and Far-Eastern manufacturers lead this market, and there is evidence there of collaboration between manufacturers. In Europe, companies have hitherto worked in isolation.
In this proposal, companies along the supply chain, fibre manufacturer, dyeing machinery manufacturer, dye manufacturer, dyer/finisher, and textile retailer will engage in collaborative applied and fundamental research with an academic textiles department. A wide range of scientific disciplines will be used. Our objectives are: a total dyeing process with cost savings of 2 30% compared to today,
environmental load of the dyeing process to be reduced by 2 40% compared to today,
remove reduction clearing and reduce the need for dyeing auxiliaries,
reduce liquor ratio from 15:1 to 3:1,
increase dye exhaustion to 100%,
dyed and finished fabrics with light fastness of 2 6, wet fastness cross-stain of 2 4, sublimation fastness > 4 (at 180øC) in industry standard tests,
significant improvements in yarn regularity and quality and in spinning capacity. These objectives will be achieved by development of:
novel modifications to fibre and fabric production to improve properties and economics,
new dyeing machinery specifically for handling microfibre based fabrics,
new dyeing and finishing methodology with improved economics and environmental impact,
a range of new dyes with greatly improved application properties,
a full fundamental theoretical and practical investigation of important factors in dyeing microfibre polyester,
new microscopical and other characterisation techniques.
It is expected that exploitation following successful completion of the project will result in significant financial benefits for EU based textile companies through technical leadership and enhanced competitiveness.
The partners are keen to take part in relevant established or new Targeted Research Actions in the textile field. Brite Euram III areas covered by the proposal are 2.2 (New Methodologies for Product Design and Manufacture), 2.3 (Reliability and Quality of Materials and Products) and 2.1 (Materials Engineering).


60007 Frankfurt

Participants (4)

9,Technologiepark, Zwijnaarde 9
9052 Zwijnaarde
4,Bld De Mons 4
59665 Villeneuve D'ascq Cedex
Sofinal Cotesa NV
8790 Waregem
Thies GmbH & Co.
155,Borkener Strasse 155
48653 Coesfeld