Specialty chemicals maker Clariant AG has developed a one-step sizing and dyeing process that significantly reduces the amount of water needed to dye denim - helping brand owners and retailers to offer jeans produced in a more sustainable way.

The Advanced Denim 'Pad/Sizing-Ox' reduces textile mills' water consumption by up to 92%, Clariant says, and generates virtually no waste water. It also claims energy savings of 30% together with waste cotton savings of 63% compared to conventional dyeing procedures.

The process is suited to dyeing of small and varied denim batches, yet it also maintains the ability to create special effects, colours and shades. This includes eco-bleaching wash-down with ozone and peroxide avoiding the use and consequently the presence in waste water of harmful chemicals like hypochlorite or permanganate.

The Pad/Sizing Ox process is based on Clariant's Arkofil Den-Fix sizing agent in combination with its full range of Diresul RDT dyes.

"Our extensive research and development to bring innovation through new products and technologies is creating new possibilities in fashion effects as well as addressing the need and demand for ever-more sustainable, efficient production by the textile industry," explains Miguel Sanchez, head of global PL cellulose dyes at Clariant's textile chemicals business unit.

The process is being unveiled in the Bluezone of the Munichfabricstart 2010 trade show.