POWER: towards more sustainable and cost- effective textile manufacturing processes
The POWER Project - "Atmospheric plasma treatment for enhancement of textile surfaces for more efficient treatment processes", which officially started on December 2013, aims at develop and place into the market a new manufacturing process that will suit textile industrial needs and enable a more sustainable and cost-effective textile manufacturing chain. The project is funded under the Eco-Innovationprogramme of EACI(Executive Agency for Competitiveness & Innovation) with contract number ECO/12/332996.
Wet chemical processes are common in the traditional textile production chain for different purposes such us dyeing, washing or finishing. Big amounts of water and pollutants such us dyestuffs or additives are used, especially in the case of polyester that is naturally hydrophobic.
On the other hand, plasma technology has been demonstrated as an efficient dry, environmental friendly and economic alternative for the surface modification of textiles. Moreover, atmospheric plasma treatment improves the fabric finishing by the deposition of thin film surface coatings with added value, such as anti-stain properties. Also, plasma treatment can be used to improve the hydrophilicity of the fabric prior to a wet surface treatment.
New technologies for more sustainable processes
The project POWER aims to develop a more sustainable and cost- effective manufacturing process based on the use of atmospheric plasma technology in key points of the textile production chain. POWER solution will improve the textile manufacturing chain in three different ways:
- Cost of production, due to materials and timing reduction.
- Performance of the textile product: enhancement of color resistance and final properties by the improvement of dyestuffs and finishing chemicals fixation degree.
- Environmental impact, derived from the reduction of water and chemical consumption, as well as energy saving.
POWER will be specially focused on those fabrics required by the automotive sector, concretely on the manufacturing chain of car seats upholstery. However, one of the goals of the project is to replicate POWER solution in different markets.
An international and multidisciplinary team
Six entities from three different countries participate in the project:
- PRODINTEC(Spain)is a technology centre specialized in industrial design and manufacturing. PRODINTEC is the project coordinator, and is also in charge of pilot line manufacturing and assembly and LCA analysis.
- CENTEXBEL(Belgium)is the Belgian Textile Research Centre. They bring to the project their expertise in textile characterization.
- GRINP(Italy)is an SME specialized in plasma technology. Within the project, they will design and manufacture plasma reactors for the pilot line.
- Centro Ricerche FIAT(Italy) is the research centre of the Fiat Group. As end-user, they are responsible for final product assessment and cost analysis.
- AUNDE(Italy)is a large textile manufacturing company whose main role in the project is assessment on fabrics manufacturing and textile novel production line.
- INTEGRA(Spain)is a technology-based company dedicated to R&D activities on systems, processes, products and their components. They will be in charge of the integration of the plasma reactors in the pilot line.
First results already coming!
The key outcomes reached since POWER project started are:
- Definition of fabric requirements. The selected fabric is woven fabric as plain weft warp textile.
- Definition of test methods to ensure the quality of the textile manufactured after the application of atmospheric plasma technology.
- Definition of end user finishing process limitations and requirements in order to integrate properly the new Plasma Unit into the Production Area of AUNDE.
- Definition of plasma unit requirements for the proper design of the plasma reactor, the integration elements and the succeeding manufacturing stages of the APP Unit.
- Environmental impacts: a Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) was performed focusing on current AUNDE´s manufacturing process in order to evaluate the environmental impact of the project. The results of this analysis with the results reached of the new manufacturing process will quantify the environmental improvements reached.
- Exploitation and IPR Plan with potential results to be exploited by partners and its protection was defined.
- Market update and replication: a business plan with commercial interests of partners involved was defined.