Emerging trend: Open width knit processing

The demand for comfortable garments is expanding by leaps and bounds. With clothing and fashion trends changing, there is major growth today in the sportswear and active wear sectors - the so-called "athleisure" segment. The data available from Suvin's analysis show that the Indian athletic apparel market grew by a whopping CAGR @ 19% between 2009 and 2017, while the Indian footwear market, which includes sports footwear, grew at a CAGR @ 24% during the same period. This market is further estimated to grow, to bring in $83 billion in sales by 2020 (Source: www.complex.com). India will again be no exception to the growth in this sector.

Many athleisure products are knit goods of different sorts. The growth statistics of athleisure products are hence encouraging Indian knit processors to consider expansions and diversifications to cater to the needs of this segment. Many investments are therefore being planned to tap the huge potential presented by this segment, especially as there is not much competition so far.

Garment properties like protection, insulation, vapour permeability, stretch, shape retention, optimum heat and moisture regulation, rapid drying, dimensional stability even when wet, durable, easy care, light weight, soft touch, etc., are intrinsic to active wear garments. However, these properties are not readily achievable in 100% cotton, circular knitted fabrics. Hence the need for synthetic circular or warp knitted fabric production and processing becomes inevitable for addressing the opportunities in the active wear segment.

The very first step in synthetic active wear processing or spandex wear processing is spun oil washing. Goller is a major international player in this segment.

Goller - a brief introduction

Goller is a pioneer and a global market leader in the manufacturing of open width textile processing ranges, including those for spun oil washing. Goller was founded in Germany in 1948, and became a member of the CHTC Fong's Group in 2006. The integration of Goller into the CHTC Fong's Group helped it to develop and spread at a tremendous rate its highly engineered textile wet finishing ranges for the textile industry. Goller has assembled 239 ranges for woven fabric and 174 ranges for knitted fabric in its Shenzhen factory since 2007.

Objectives of spun oil washing

Spun oil washing is a treatment of synthetic woven or knitted (circular/warp knit) fabrics with de-oiling chemicals to remove lubricating oils from the fabric structure. These lubricants are needed in spinning and remain on the fabric through the knitting process. The purpose of open width spun oil washing is to reduce oil on the fabric virtually to zero, and to thus ensure uniform dyeing and finishing results in subsequent finishing steps.

If a grey fabric with oils on it is heat set, there is an accumulation of these oils in the stenter. This creates chances of fire in the exhaust pipe lines and in the heat exchangers. Oil dripping further creates quality problems in subsequent processing. But after spun oil washing, if the cleaned fabric is pre-heat set, the stenter remains oil-free and safe, eliminating risks of fire and improving fabric quality.