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June 3, 2021

Liquid technology simplifies whitening of recycled PET fibres

Global chemical company Venator has developed a new liquid pigment masterbatch technology for whitening recycled polyethylene terephthalate (PET) fibres quickly and cleanly.

By Michelle Russell

Based on the company’s established titanium dioxide (TiO2) platform for the fibre industry, the new Hombitan LQ range is optimised for delustering PET fibres from plastic bottles that will be re-spun into polyester – ready for creating new consumer products including footwear and apparel.

Hombitan LQ White 100 is optimised for semi-dull recycled PET fibres, and Hombitan LQ White 130 for the manufacture of full-dull fibres. Designed for small-scale recycled PET projects, conducted on a single extrusion line, both products are said to be simple to use and offer several advantages over solid (pelletised) masterbatch pigment solutions. 

Dosed via a precision pump, Hombitan LQ products can be easily incorporated into an extrusion line, Venator says. Homogenised into a recycled polymer melt, Hombitan LQ products have a higher solid pigment load than pelletised solutions – meaning fibre producers use a very small quantity to achieve comparable whiteness and opacity results. 

Designed to withstand temperature changes and pressure fluctuations during processing, Hombitan LQ products are said to deliver excellent uniform whiteness – reducing the gloss of recycled fibres that can be considered unsightly in some garments. 

In addition, the products require no pre-processing – saving fibre producers time and money. Unlike pelletised masterbatches, which need to be dried and crystallised, Hombitan LQ products are delivered ready to use, in easy to store drums. Hombitan LQ products can also be used near spinning operations – thanks to their liquid formulation.

“The use of recycled PET to create fibres for footwear, textile and apparel applications is now commonplace,” says Xandra Bläser, global business director, Specialty Pigmentary TiO2 – Fibres and Films at Venator.

“This shift has been gaining momentum over the last few years and reflects the wider corporate sustainability ambitions of manufacturers that want to reduce their dependence on virgin materials, cut their carbon footprint and give a second life to materials that would otherwise end up in landfill. Our Hombitan LQ range is designed to support these customers as they step up their environmental efforts.

“Applying our extensive knowledge of the fibre spinning process, we’ve created a liquid TiO2 technology that can help fibre producers achieve the high-quality end results they want from the PET they have recovered. The creation of Hombitan LQ is the first in a number of new liquid-based products, designed to simplify the use of TiO2 and other additives across a range of applications and industries.”

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