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Aniline-free denim without chemicals

Combining the Archroma’s Pure Indigo Icon dyeing system with Jeanologia’s G2 Dynamic finishing technology.

18th January 2022

Innovation in Textiles
 |  Pratteln, Switzerland

Clothing/​Footwear, Sustainable

Archroma and Jeanologia have joined forces to launch an eco-advanced alternative to the denim fabric washing process – including in some cases mercerisation, one of the most water-intensive and polluting processes in denim fabric finishing.

The production of denim requires a succession of steps aimed at imparting the desired qualities in a pair of jeans.

It starts with spinning where the cotton is turned into yarn, followed by a pretreatment that will prepare the yarn for dyeing. The dyed yarn then goes through the sizing process, which is a treatment preparing it for weaving. After weaving, the fabric may undergo a washing treatment or, in some cases, mercerising, which consists of treating it with caustic soda in order to obtain a more lustrous, flat and less reddish-blue and black denim.

In both traditional ways to clean the fabric – washing or mercerising – multiple highly water intensive washings are required in order to restore optimal fabric pH and remove unfixed dyestuff and any undesired deposits or impurities from the fabric. One of such impurities released in the washing process is aniline – a substance that is classified as a category 2 carcinogen and considered toxic to aquatic life.

The breakthrough alternative to the fabric cleaning concept presented by Jeanologia and Archroma combines the use of the aniline-free Pure Indigo Icon dyeing system of Archroma, and the water-fre and chemical-free G2 Dynamic finishing technology of Jeanologia.

Archroma Pure Indigo Icon is based on an innovation launched by the company in May 2018 – its aniline-free Denisol Pure Indigo. Aniline is a key ingredient to make the indigo molecule. Unfortunately, during this process some aniline impurities are carried through into the indigo dyestuff. When the indigo is dyed on the fabric, a lot of the aniline impurity is locked into the pigment in the fabric. The remainder of the aniline impurity – approximately 300 metric tons annually – is discharged during dyeing. This can be an issue as aniline is toxic to aquatic life and in addition, exposure levels to factory workers can be high. The new Denisol Pure Indigo 30 liq was therefore developed as an aniline-free indigo solution for designers, manufacturers and brand owners.

Jeanologia’s G2 Dynamic is an ozone treatment for continuous fabric which dramatically reduces the amount of water and chemicals used, while at the same time saving costs at the mill and eventually at the garment finishing facilities. This technology makes fabric more stable and consistent and better prepares it for the use of other technologies like laser. As presented a few months ago in partnership with Archroma, this machinery can be used along with Pad-Ox technology to help clean fabric, improving fastness results at room temperature with significant savings in energy and CO2.

The Archroma and Jeanologia solution allows aniline-free denim to be achieved through a fully chemical-free and almost water-free cleaning alternative treatment, while also improving the final aspect of the fabric.

The solution can also be used with additional Archroma coloration systems such as Indigo Reflection or Pure Undertones.

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