Textile chemicals specialist Archroma has launched an optical brightening agent that is being used in what the company claims is the world’s first process chemical-free and water-free dyeing solution.
Thailand-based Tong Siang, a member of the Yeh Group, is using the CO2 dyeing process along with Archroma’s Ultraphor KCB agent to colour its white, high performance sportswear.
The dyeing technology is based on carbon dioxide instead of water, and was developed and patented by Dutch company DyeCoo Textile Systems. Textiles produced by Tong Siang, using this technology, are branded as DryDye fabrics.
The technology involves pressurising carbon dioxide until it becomes “supercritical” – a phase between a liquid and a gas. In this state, carbon dioxide possesses a high solvent power that allows the dye to dissolve and be transported deeply into fibres, creating bright whites and vibrant colours.
The carbon dioxide is reclaimed from existing industrial processes, recycling 95% of it in a closed-loop system. The technology uses 100% pure dyes with more than 98% uptake, and uses no process chemicals and no water, and produces no waste water.
“While humans have used water to dye fabrics for more than 2,000 years, today water is an increasingly scarce resource that needs to be conserved,” says Andrew McDonald, global head of business development for synthetics and wool at Archroma’s brand and performance textile specialities business. “DyeCoo’s CO2 dyeing process offers an important step forward.”
The Ultraphor KCB concentrate is manufactured at Archroma’s OBA plant in Germany, and marks the company’s first entry into the CO2 dyeing field. Archroma says it is now looking to introduce further colouration and finishing effects in the future.
“With increased scrutiny by consumers and environmentalists alike, textile manufacturers are eagerly seeking new, sustainable dyeing techniques that do not harm the environment,” it says.