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Dyeing/​Finishing/​Printing

Plasma finishing technology for Swiss knit fabrics

Swiss knit fabrics manufacturer Eschler and Austrian textile finishing specialist Grabher Group, have joined forces to engineer a new generation of functional fabrics for sports and workwear using cutting edge plasma finishing technology. Plasma, known as the fourth state of matter, is created by applying electrical fields to pure gas or gas mixtures in a vacuum chamber. The gas is then ionized and leads to a chemical reaction on the surface of the respective mate

13th July 2010

Innovation in Textiles
 |  Buhler

Sports/​Outdoor, Protective, Medical/Hygiene, Clothing/​Footwear

Swiss knit fabrics manufacturer Eschler and Austrian textile finishing specialist Grabher Group, have joined forces to engineer a new generation of functional fabrics for sports and workwear using cutting edge plasma finishing technology.

Plasma, known as the fourth state of matter, is created by applying electrical fields to pure gas or gas mixtures in a vacuum chamber. The gas is then ionized and leads to a chemical reaction on the surface of the respective material.

From a textile perspective, the right combination of gas mixture composition, frequencies and gas flow, results in the systematic surface modification of fabrics. Durable effects such as hydrophilicity, hydrophobicity and dirt repellency are achievable.

Until now, the standard for textile finishing has been wet chemical processes where the desired effects are usually achieved by the use of additives or coatings. However, these treatments often interfere with key textile properties such as flexibility, strength and handle and permanency can be limited due to mechanical abrasion and low wash resistance.

The combination of different properties can also be restricted and plasma technology aims to avoid these disadvantages. Eschler says it works exclusively with a so-called ‘dry process’, which it says is extremely eco-friendly and uses a minimum of water and chemicals, saves energy and is free of fluorocarbon compounds (PFOA or PFOS).

Product Manager Markus Lutz says: “The new technology allows a great eco balance that no other treatment gets even close to. The new high-tech fabrics are ideal for a broad range of sports depending on the plasma treatment: cycling, triathlon, running, functional underwear cross-country and alpine skiing, trekking and mountaineering. The first apparel pieces will be available for end consumers in summer 2012.”

 

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