The ITMA Blog


Transparency and moral business is the new norm

by Adrian Wilson | 13 Nov, 2015

Up against two very tough competitors, Tonello and Levi Strauss have claimed the first ITMA Sustainable Innovation Award for NoStone® denim finishing technology.

Gala dinner showtime at La Pelota

Gala dinner showtime at La Pelota

Interviewed after receiving the award at last night’s gala dinner at La Pelota, Franky Vangaever, R&D Product Manager for Levi Strauss said the development was the result of a long and fruitful collaboration with the Italian developer of finishing technology, and truly keeping in with the ITMA 2015 theme ‘Master the Art of Sustainable Innovation’.

Franky Vangaever of Levi Strauss

Franky Vangaever of Levi Strauss

“This really will make a big impact on the market in terms of clean production,” he said. “There are alternative treatments available but they need chemicals and energy and don’t really achieve that authentic ‘Vintage US Denim’ look and feel. It’s an extremely clean process.”

The NoStone® technology involves a modified washing-machine drum with an interior abrasive surface that can be tailored depending on the desired effect.

Tonello’s NoStone® technology

Tonello’s NoStone® technology

It produces neither dust nor sludge, and doesn’t damage either the garment or the machine, creating a uniform effect in both sampling and production machines. Recycling water after the NoStone® process is very simple and also ensures big savings in water – a liquor ratio of 1:5, instead of 1:10 which is still standard for many laundries all over the world.

Digital revolution
SPGPrints also revealed last night that it has sold its first PIKE single-pass digital printing system – on show in Hall 18 at stand E103 – to KBC Fashion, based in Lörrach, Germany.

The 25-metre long SPGPrints SPIKE digital printer

The 25-metre long SPGPrints SPIKE digital printer

What an impressive system this 25-metre-long line is. The system can conceivably print around thirteen million linear metres annually, but becomes profitable at volumes of around three-to-four million metres per year, according to Jos Notermans, the Dutch company’s Commercial Manager of Digital Textiles.

The first PIKE printer is a six-colour machine in which each colour is represented by an Archer print bar containing 43 print heads, giving a printing width of 1.85 metres. The print bar has a native resolution of 1200 x 1200dpi, variable drop sizes from 2-10pl and a jetting frequency of 32 kHz – a combination which delivers a typical productivity of 40 linear m/min.

In conventional systems eight colours are usually standard, including CMYK, red, orange, blue and grey, Notermans explained.

“Each extra colour affects the overall price of the system, but we tried to avoid this by choosing the basic CMYK colours plus orange and blue,” he said. “Customers particularly value the proposal to cover all print head costs in the PIKE inks, marketed by SPGPrints as ‘no print head headache’. It’s the reason why, with respect to cost the company also plans to make its solution more attractive by offering free replacement of faulty print heads, in exchange for a ‘small’ premium on the ink price. With the cost of head replacement being a major concern for investors in fixed array machines, SPGPrints is proposing a unique arrangement in combination with PIKE inks, in which the customer will initially receive a number of spare heads and any faulty heads returned will be replaced free of charge.”

The benefits in terms of sustainable production that such cutting edge digital printing systems will deliver appear to be ushering in a new, cleaner and less resource-hungry era for the textile printing industry.

Sustainable benefits
Cost savings, higher revenues, reduced risk, enhanced reputation, better human resources and improved access to capital.

These are the key benefits of a sustainable approach to business, according to Mary Porter-Peschka, Director of Advisory Solutions for the International Finance Corporation (IFC) – a division of the World Bank.

In her keynote address at the 2015 World Textile Summit this morning, she emphasised that for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) cost savings are the key, while for national and multi-national corporations based in emerging markets, there are even wider gains, many of which could be intangible, such as risk reduction and human capital development.

Among many global projects, the IFC has been involved in helping textile manufacturers in Bangladesh improve their operations.

“As the second largest garment producer country in the world, the Bangladesh industry has had to respond fast, because its survival is dependent on adopting both less thirsty manufacturing processes and better working practices,” Porter-Peschka said. “This has already resulted in US$19 million in new investments, saving around eight billion litres of fresh water – enough to fill 134,000 swimming pools – along with 6,000 MW of energy. As far as business is concerned, it has resulted in the equivalent of US$47 million in additional sold goods.”

Industries face a complex array of challenges, but there are also many positives, she added, citing the strategy of Levi Strauss in offering financial incentives to its suppliers to improve their processes as an example of the new thinking around familiar problems.

“Sustainably responsible investment (SRI) is also gaining considerable ground and is expected to amount to US$26.5 trillion this year – so the investor market is now responding very forcefully.”

Sustainability can also be a key factor in differentiating brands and companies, said Paula Oliveira, Director of the consultancy Interbrand.

“Building brand trust and reputation are the top reasons for taking action on sustainability but it has to be about driving substantial and authentic change,” she said. “If you promise more than you actually deliver you will be found out. We live in the internet age and companies have to be transparent. It is in any case, the new norm and about creating value for business, so there’s a financial rationale.”

Artistic transparency at the stand of Groz-Beckert

Artistic transparency at the stand of Groz-Beckert

There is, she added, a generational change taking place.

“Children are growing up much more conscious about the choices they make and we need to be prepared for this future.”

ITMA show owner CEMATEX and organiser MP Expositions have already welcomed a number of important delegations to ITMA 2015. Yesterday saw the arrival of government ministers from both Russia and Uzbekistan for tours of the halls, along with more than 200 visitors from Taiwan, in a visit organized by the Taiwan Textile Federation.

Today, further delegations have been greeted from Vietnam, Tajikstan and Belarus, along with members of the European Commission and the Belgian Ministry.