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A more sustainable colorant technique for polyester fibers

By Mary Page Bailey |

The global textile industry generates a great deal of waste, and many efforts are taking place to make textile processing more sustainable. PolyOne Corp. (Cleveland, Ohio; www.polyone.com) has introduced a new fiber-colorant technology for polyester that incorporates proprietary high-pressure metering equipment with the company’s ColorMatrix liquid concentrates. The technology enables the color-injection step to take place further downstream than in conventional colorant processes.

In the new ColorMatrix process, liquid color is injected into the polyester melt-flow between the end of the extruder and the spin head. This later-stage injection minimizes color contamination and reduces the time required for cleaning and color changeout. Furthermore, several injection points can be added to run multiple colors or additives simultaneously on a single extruder line. This flexibility is especially beneficial to small-batch production, as manufacturers can use the same process to make a wide range of volumes and the process can be rapidly scaled onsite. Also, the new technology enables facilities that use reactor spinning lines to produce standard white polyester fibers to produce colored products inline, eliminating the need for a secondary aqueous dyeing process.

Traditional aqueous dyeing processes can use up to 10 L of water to color a single kilogram of fiber, but this new spin-coloring technology reportedly requires no water and consumes less energy and fewer chemicals. Additionally, it eliminates the secondary treatment operations typically required to discharge wastewater safely into the environment. The technology’s precise mixing elements are crucial to harnessing the full benefits of flexibility and efficiency, says PolyOne.

So far, the technology’s deployment has been focused on specific projects, such as high-performance textiles for sports and recreation, but plans are in place to scale up the process for users’ core product ranges. According to PolyOne, while the technology is currently targeted to polyester fibers, plans are underway to begin exploring its application for other polymer fibers, including nylon and polypropylene.

Polyone

Polyone

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