Monday, November 10, 2014

Why Solution Dye?: Environmental Advantages

English author and historian Thomas Fuller once said, “We never know the worth of water till the well is dry.” This quote brings to mind one of Americhem’s most sacred company principles, which is, “Be a proactive steward of the environment.” One of the ways we do this as a company is to promote environmentally friendly practices and manufacturing methods. One of our biggest company initiatives toward that end is our promotion of the solution dyeing of synthetic fibers. With a solution dye process you not only see better quality, but the process preserves more natural resources.

Post dyeing is the process by which finished white yarn is colored with liquid dyes after the fiber is made.  This process leads to an extraordinary amount of water being used and a huge amount of that water being permanently polluted. According to the Color Masterbatch Technical Handbook, there are about 30 metric tons of PET fiber produced globally every year. Let’s assume that a third of those products will require color. In this scenario, if post dyeing is used exclusively, 99,000,000 gallons of polluted color effluent is produced. It brings to mind the African proverb, “Filthy water can not be washed.” And indeed, the industry must find a way to safely dispose of this effluent water, which is not an easy task.

Solution dyeing, which adds the colorant from a masterbatch to the fiber as its being spun, presents a more eco-friendly alternative. No water is used during the solution dyeing process and very little water is used in the overall process.  It has been estimated that the overall water consumption in post dyeing is one hundred times greater than that of using masterbatch in the solution dye process.

Solution dye not only saves water during the process, it also saves energy. By combining fiber spinning and coloring into one step, the amount of energy used is considerably reduced. This one-step process also means that no additional equipment is needed, whereas the spinning and coloring steps in post-dyeing each require their own special equipment.

You can read more about the advantages of solution dye from Americhem global director of business development, V.G. Kulkarni, in his recent article in International FiberJournal.

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