Innovation to overome environmental hazards in dyeint and finishing
Madelaine Cornforth provides some insight into the European dyeing finishing and coating market
While the dyeing and finishing marker is still dominant in Asian countries such as China and India,the European dyeing,fingishing and coating market is growing.This growth is largely due to increased interest in textiles with functional properties such as flame retardants,hydrophobic and high-performance materials for outdoor wear,protective wear and sportswear that therefore require functional coatings.Despite this,however,the European finishing industry is facing a number of challenges.The first of these is to do with REACH (Registration,Evaluation,Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals).REACH is a European Union regulation that came into force in June 2007 and replaced a umber of European Directives and Regulations with a single system.Its aims,among others,are to provide a high level of protection of human health and the environment from; the use of chemicals,to make the people who place chemicals on the market(manufacturers and importers) responsible for understanding and managing the risks associated with their use,and to allow the free movement of substances on the EU in quantities of one tonne or more per year.However,there has been increasing conern from the industry about REACH (PHASE 3),which took effect from June 2018,mandates that all listed chemical substances manufactured and marketed into the EU have to be registered with the new European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) in Helsinki,Finland and this has proven an expensive and daunting task of dye and chemical manufacturers.The textile chemical products available on the EU market mainly consist of several substances and REACH obligations apply to each individual ingredient of a commercial formulation.Companies who manufacture or import a chemical substance in the EU are responsible for registering it under REACH and this has proved especially problematic for smaller players.
The need for sustainability is also putting pressure on the the textile finishing industry.Governments,brands and consumers are demanding that textile manufacturers streamline their processes,reducing the use of water and hazardous chemicals and energy as well as decreasing their emissions and wastewater.The textile dyeing and finishing industry is the most pollutant and energy intensive process in the textile supply chain.To overcome these problems and meet the new informed expectations of global actors,new innovative technologies are being developed across textile finishing.Dyeing and finishing is probably the area with most textile products technological dynamism and opportunities,according to Michiel R Scheffer of Saxion Universities,the Netherlands in a report for the European Commission Enterprise and industy DG.And this is because in technical textiles,sports,outdoor wear and workwear,end users demand materials with a broad range of functionalities and extended durability.These technical coatings with added value functionalities include wind,UV and srain rsistance,flame retardants,waterproofness,increased abrasion,retro_reflection or fluorescence,antimicrobial or phase change materials (a substance with a high heat of fusion which,melting and solidifying at a certain temperature,is capable of storing and releasing large amounts of energy).The European market excels in functional coatings such as these.And as the consumer is expectation of what our textile products can achieve has increased,the abilities of these coatings have become; more advanced and more widely used.
Howeever,in the manufacture of these coated textiles,the industry must be sustainable to be able to manufacture within Europe,which is an expensive manufacturing hub,but also to meet industry and governmental sustainability standards.The dyeing industry is exciting at the moment,with innovative technologies being developed that can revolutionise the industry.An example of this innovation is waterless dyeing technology.There is a small but growing number of companies that have created these alternatives to traditional dyeing processes,such as dyeing with CO2,plasma and jetting,to name a fe.These technologies,some that also reduce the amount of chemicals used in the dyeing process,could have a profound effect on the textile industry in terms of the time and the cast of creating textiles and the effect the industry has on the environment.With sustainability still the key challenge for the textile industry ,innovation in this area is the only answer.