It’s the flexibility and precision of this new technology which is opening up so many possibilities, since manufacturers have the option of treating either side of a material at any stage in the manufacturing run, or both – allowing two treatments to be added simultaneously and all other variants.
“The obvious example of what is immediately possible is the combination of a hydrophobic, water repelling surface with hydrophilic, moisture absorbing reverse side, in a single material,” explains Peter Tolksdorf, Head of Technology Department.
“These materials are proving extremely popular in sportswear, for example, and the ECO Applicator allows tremendous savings to be made in respect of the energy in the subsequent drying process.”
In addition, textiles for sportswear are often subsequently laminated to other materials such as performance films, he adds, but if fully coated with fluorcarbons can prove difficult for processors.
“If you’re able to just treat one side of the material, the subsequent lamination is much more effective, or as an alternative, the already-laminated material can be treated, depending on requirements.”
The ECO Applicator found initial success in the denim industry, where it is positioned in front of the stenter to work in combination with the traditional padder, or even as an alternative to it, in wet on wet applications for applying chemicals such as functional softeners, fluorcarbons to provide water and oil resistance and also in some applications pigments, for one-side dyeing.
Another popular application is as an Eco Applicator in front of a Monfortex shrinkage machine, where it makes the application of low viscose liquors possible. Such a configuration avoids problems with precipitations and blocked tubes and pipes due to insufficient cleaning.
Another interesting area in wet-in-wet applications is in the production of terry towels where an additional liquor treatment can be applied to the fabric in very low quantities in order to eliminate an entire drying stage, with subsequent savings in energy.
“This additional add-on is very reproducible, with the precise amount electronically controlled,” Mr Tolksdorf explained.
In a further example of added efficiency, a mattress manufacturer in Portugal is now employing the ECO Applicator to apply, for example, antimicrobial products instead of a conventional padder.
“The ECO Applicator requires just 50% of the pick-up previously needed, with a resulting 50% savings in energy in the subsequent drying process, while doubling treated throughput capacity,” said Peter, “and it’s even been possible to very economically apply flame retardant treatments in this way.”
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