Industry Insights

Why Laser is the Best Finishing Option for Textile Manufacturers

February 8, 2021
by
the Editorial Team
Denim jeans designed with laser fading technology
Textile manufacturers must consider their garment finishing methods in this era where the industry is shifting to more sustainable, environmentally-friendly means of business. An up-to-date range of modern finishing methods and their environmental effects are explained in this article. Increasingly, laser machines are being used to replace traditional denim finishing processes in the textile industry. With this change, processes become more efficient, costs are reduced for labor, energy and chemicals, and creative freedom is preserved.

What is the environmental and human cost of making a pair of jeans?

Being one of the most polluting industries worldwide, it is not a secret that denim manufacturing uses a lot of water, and some other potentially harmful chemicals. Above that, people who work with sandblasting processes (removal of the indigo pigments) may be exposed to dangerous fumes which may cause tuberculosis and silicosis. As technology advances, it could reduce the harm it brings to people and the environment, while becoming more efficient. Denim laser technology is a great example of this.

Introduction to lasers, what is it and what does it do?

In the 1960s, Levi's Research Laboratory developed the first CO2 laser technology that has become commonly used in the denim industry today. Laser machines create intense beams of monochromatic light that generate heat within a focused region. 

Laser finishing machines are widely used in denim finishing, giving the fabric a faded or patterned look. In denim finishing, there used to be many traditional methods like stone washing, bleaching, distressed looks, 3D effects, PP sprays, and sandblasting, but these methods are not the most ecological or economical. More preferable methods include ozone fading, eFlow, and laser finishing.

What are the finishing options available on the market?

1. Ozone Fading

In Ozone technology, the natural bleaching capabilities of ozone gas are utilized to create a variety of effects. Compared with traditional dry finishing, this method offers many more advantages. Water consumption is not entirely eliminated, but it is significantly reduced as is energy usage, chemicals, enzymes, and stones. It bleaches faster than other chemicals and stone washing, thereby reducing processing costs, processing time, and impact on the environment.

Source: Jeanologia

Special Requirements: Ozone reacts with indigo fabrics only.

2. eFlow

The eFlow system works by converting air into air bubbles. By using wet air flow, these bubbles transport chemical finishing products (softeners, dyes, wrinkle-free resins, resins for 3D effects, liquid repellents, etc.) to the garment. The eFlow technique reduces water consumption by 70% and chemical usage by 50%.

Source: Jeanologia

The advantage of using laser technology

Laser technology has the following advantages:

  1. Use of laser reduces the consumption of energy by 62%, water by 67%, and chemical products by 85%.
  2. Appears to be much faster than conventional finishing processes, as it eliminates the need for multiple wash processes.
  3. By removing dry processes that require manual work and resources, laser technology reduces the costs for labor and production exponentially, it also hugely lowers production time.
  4. It's a great way to improve precision, lower error rates, and give you more creative freedom. Using laser technology, even the most complex designs can be produced with a lot more accuracy.
  5. In addition to reducing the likelihood of strength loss and hairiness, it prevents denim fabric from getting damaged by traditional methods.
  6. Almost any material, as long as it is made of at least 98% cotton, can use it. For instance, using a laser on polyester is quite challenging, but cotton generally works well.

"Blue Tron" fabric collection by Neela by Sapphire

We understand the importance of choosing the right fabric for the right finish. Therefore, we're introducing you to the "Blue Tron" collection of laser-friendly fabrics designed by Neela. With the collection’s efforts in creating eco-friendly denim fabrics alongside other companies, they benefit both people and the planet.

With laser technology, you are not only able to produce garments more environmentally friendly, but also redefine the future of denim as a whole.

Get in touch with our sales team by sending an email to info@neelablue.com to place an enquiry.