“A vital link between global technology developers and the local technology practitioners” Newsletter of the Technology Watch Centre (TWC), National Science Foundation VOL. 6, NO. 2 DECEMBER 2006 ISSN 1391-7897

DuPont Unveils roll-to-roll Digital Printing System
Wilmington, Del.-based DuPont has introduced its grand-format DuPont™ Artistri™ 3320 digital textile printing system. With its 3.3-meter-wide roll-to-roll printing capability, the new system enables new digital textile printing applications. The three primary components of Artistri systems are digital textile printers, brilliant textile inks, and state-of-the-art color and control management software. Applications include bedding, upholstery, window coverings and other interior textiles; flags and banners; trade-show and point-of-sale displays; apparel, silk accessories and swimwear; and other applications.
For more information, contact : H. P. Nanda, E-mail :

Innovative Dyeing Machine
To understand the importance of the new technology applied to INNODYE, it is necessary to analyze the phases that comprise a dyeing process with regard to the hydro and thermodynamic aspects. In the dyeing process, the main phases occur simultaneously, and therefore the velocity of the dyeing will be determined and depended upon the speed that the dyes diffuse within the fibers. Such velocity coincides with the speed of the bath exhaustion. INNODYEV creates a new kinetic molecular exchange with the translational motion of the treatment bath;

a unique hydrokinetic concept never previously considered in the industry dyeing treatment process. In present technologies applied to dyeing machines, there are well defined conceptual parameters which are influential to the final results obtained. A parameter of certain importance is the hydrodynamic limit layer, that is, the resultant between two speeds, and precisely the speed of the fabric flow and the speed of the treatment bath; the latter always superior to the fabric speed. INNODYEV by introducing this new bath translational motion technology interacts directly on the hydrodynamic limit layer, decreasing considerably the speed difference

“STRIDE INTO THE FUTURE BEFORE IT ARRIVES” TECHNOLOGY WATCH CENTER (TWC) TECHNOLOGY DIVISION National Science Foundation, No. 47/5, Maitland Place, Colombo 07, SRI LANKA. Tel/Fax - 2676766 E-mail : TECHWATCH LANKA STAFF: Manager - Technology Watch Centre Dr. Saman Fernando Coordinator - Textile Technology Mr. J.G. Shantha Siri Computer Application Assistant Ms. Radeesha Millawithana

On-demand Inkjet Printing System
The revolutionary SIP-100F and SIP-160F ondemand inkjet printing system from Shima Seiki, enables beautiful full color printing on a variety of fabrics, quickly and easily using design data created on our SDS-ONE apparel design system. SIP prints directly onto the fabric, thereby supporting quick response for customized designs in small lots. Not just limited to textiles and circular knit fabrics, it features a height-adjustable printing head for dimensional flat-knitted fabrics and even finished garments. With its special inks, vivid high-resolution fullcolor images can be printed with excellent tonal range, all while maintaining the original softness of each kind of fabric.
For more information, contact : Email:

between the fabric and the treatment bath. In this way, the resistances encountered by dye molecules in motion towards the fabric are reduced. The dyeing and treatment speed will be as much higher as is much smaller the “thickness” of the hydrodynamic limit layer. INNODYE with the bath translational motion, increases the reaction speed between the fabric and treatment bath, and reduces the hydrodynamic limit layer. This result is obtained with the introduction of a unique technology of its type that moves the fabric by an alternated motion and transversal to the conventional bath flow. This movement ensures a continuous mixing and uniformity of the bath, while approaching the real conditions of operation to those achievable in laboratory.
For more information, contact : Email:

BASF, Stork Unveil Pigment Ink Solution
Germany-based BASF AG and The Netherlands-based Stork Digital Imaging BV have partnered to develop a simple-to-use, highperformance pigment ink solution for digital textile printing. The new solution provides a larger color range and higher-speed performance than conventional solutions, as well as a stable, smooth, constant ink supply, even for long production runs, according to the companies. The solution has received Stork’s U See® accreditation, which guarantees reproductions made anywhere or anytime will be exact. The ink is calibrated for use with Stork PrinterServer software to ensure reproducibility. Thus, customers may print sampling fabrics locally and



be assured final fabrics that may be processed in another part of the world will match the samples exactly. Stork and BASF also offer global support networks to assist customers. “Our machine knowledge coupled with BASF’s know-how in pigment ink forms an ideal strategic fit,” said Fred Boes, managing director, Stork Digital Imaging. “We are delighted to be pooling our resources in this way, and look forward to building a long-standing relationship that will help us both deliver enhanced solutions to the textile printing industry.”
For more information, contact : Telephone: +49 (0)621 60-0 Telefax: +49 (0)621 60-42525

The researchers created the yarn by growing a mat of fibres on a substrate, called a nanotube forest. A sharp pointed instrument then pulled out the fibres along the plane of the substrate. Atkinson said the tubes then formed into a “conga line”, and were twisted and wrapped around each other as they were pulled. According to researchers nanotubes were usually grown to about 300 micrometres. And scientists could not make nanotube yarn with continuous lengths without blending the fibres with other materials. There are reports of nanotubes grown up to one metre. With spinning one can get pure nanotube yarn as long as you want, Atkinson said. The researchers were working with the U.S. Defence Department to develop artificial muscles based on nanotubes. The researchers suggest that the muscles would replace heavy hydraulics in robots working in battlefields. And a fuel cell would drive the muscles to expand and contract. Practical applications of the long nanofibres were still five years off. But the strength and breaking strain of the textile was “already in the same ballpark” as Kevlar, the material used for bulletproof vests. Atkinson said the team hoped to make it even stronger. Building better fibres A related technology for creating pure carbon nanotubes was described in the same issue of Science. Japanese researchers from the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology said they improved the method by adding water. This enhanced the activity and lifetime of catalysts used to make the tubes and produced nanotube material with a purity above 99.8%, the researchers said.
For more information, contact :Dr. .Ken Atkinson, Email: 3

Knitting in Nanometers
Yarn spun from carbon nanofibres could be knitted together to make artificial muscles for robot soldiers, say U.S. and Australian researchers. The team says its unusually long fibres could also be used to make bandages that help injured limbs move again, tighten to stem bleeding or send a signal to say someone was hurt. The scientists used the ancient technology of spinning wool to create a long yarn that conducts electricity. The researchers led by Dr Mei Zhang from the University of Texas at Dallas, said their technology could be used to make a yarn several kilometres long. Previously scientists had only been able to create short fibres, usually less than a millimetre in length, the researchers said. Australian team member Ken Atkinson from CSIRO Textile & Fibre Technology said the nanotubes’ structurewas similar to a square of hexagonal wire coiled up to form a cylinder.
DECEMBER 2006. VOL. 6, NO. 2


The Next Generation in Computerized Flatbed Knitting
A synthesis of all of Shima Seiki’s experience and know-how, the new FIRST series “Next Generation” computerized flatbed knitting machines offer tremendous capability previously unimagined in the world of knitting. Everything from full-fashioning, rib shaping to 3-dimensional shaping, as well as WHOLEGARMENT ® production can be performed. This all-purpose capability is made possible through the development of our revolutionary new SlideNeedle ® which offers remarkable improvements in product quality, variety and productivity. Other features such as the ContraSinker, Pulldown Device and Yarn Carrier Kickback Device all contribute to even further distinction as the knitting machine for the 21st Century. FIRST is available in three different bed-lengths, as well as triple- or four-cam versions for even more flexibility.
For more information, contact : Email ;

These quality production benefits, combined with the precision engineering required for 18G knitting, can produce ultrafine gloves so thin with such a natural and comfortable fit, at times you may not even notice you are wearing gloves at all. Fine and ultrafine guage gloves are perfect for high-precision work, medical applications, and coated gloves.
For more information, contact : Email:

Textile design today is influenced by industrial research projects into new fiber technologies for sportswear, industrial textiles, automation and flexible manufacturing systems. Industrial materials and techniques previously developed for completely different purposes are being utilized and expanded by textile artists and designers. The continuing concern for the environment claims the interest of those working with protective, recycled and responsive materials. Performance apparel represents one of the fastest growing sectors of the international textile and clothing industry. Technical textiles were known for their performance and functionality, whilst traditional textiles for their aesthetics. This distinction is no longer relevant. The two sectors have converged, and increasingly the so-called hightech technical fabrics and apparel designed for high performance have been developed. Specialty textiles use some specific technologies in addition to the conventional technologies so that the product would add value to a specific ‘attribute’ or function and/ or effect.

The Seamless Glove Knitting Machine for Ultrafine Gauge Applications
Shima Seiki’s NewSFG computerized seamless glove machine has gained a large following with users worldwide, thanks to its quality, reliability and unparalleled technology developed especially for fine and ultrafine gauge applications. In addition to its already impressive lineup of 10, 13 and 15 gauges, the NewSFG has now evolved to include an 18 gauge machine. The NewSFG’s proven sinker system and yarn insertion device carry on the traditionof producing seamless gloves which conform better to the shape of hands with smoother rounded fingertips.

There are many attributes which can be classified broadly. 1. Aesthetic Effects (Visual) Fiber blends, mélange effect, fancy yarns,surface treatments, woven textures, color development, dye-ability, patterns, luster etc. 2. Aesthetic Effects (Sensory) Friction/ smoothness, bending, compression, fragrant etc. 3. Wearing Comfort Weight, stretch, static charge dissipation/ reduction of clinging, slip-ability etc. 4. Comfort - Micro-climate control Warmth, coolness, wicking of sweat, reduction of next-to-skin humidity and stickiness, breathable waterproofing etc. 5. Easy care Dimensional stability, wrinkle resistance/ recovery, easy wash, easy dry, anti pilling, anti soil, moth proofing, anti bacterial 6. Garment formability Formability, sew-ability, non fraying, nondeforming etc. 7. Protective aspects Hygienic- anti bacterial, deodorizing; safety anti UV, healing, flame retardant; environmental friendliness and non-toxic etc. Schoeller of Switzerland introduced ultra-light wind protection with matt sheen effects, bicolour, high-sheen satins and color mixes. Many Schoeller fabrics combine a mixture of these features such as semi-transparent fabrics, bonded aluminums with metal sparkling effects in 3D structures, nano-sphere finishes or mirror and glow-in-the-dark effects. Metallics are used extensively in European collections for next year, from silver to metallic and aluminum to goldvaporized fabrics.

Luminex is a new kind of fabric that glows, literally. It is not shiny, it gives off its own light. Designers took tiny, flexible optical fibers developed for high-energy physics experiments and wove them into ordinary fabric. Power comes from an ordinary battery sewn into the cloth. Luminex is being used in stage costumes, handbags and curtains as well as clothing. Many technologies are available today that tend to soothe human senses. One of the important technology in this area is micro-encapsulation. Microencapsulated fabrics are among the latest generation of fabrics known as intelligent fabrics, taking into account the functions they perform i.e. cosmetic, with a gradual release of active or volatile micro-capsules for cosmetic, therapeutic, energy-boosting, stressbusting, moisturizing or deodorizing, and climatic fabrics with phase change microcapsules which are heat-regulating. Microencapsulation is a process consisting of encapsulating liquid or solid substances in sealed micro spheres. These micro spheres which vary in size between 0.5 and 2000 microns, form a suspension of tiny droplets surrounded by a thin polymeric wall protecting the active agent before it is released. This wall or membrane is made by emulsion or dispersion of a natural or synthetic polymer in a carrier liquid. These microcapsules gradually release active agents by simple mechanical rubbing which ruptures the membrane. There are a variety of fields of application: underwear and accessories ready-to-wear, sportswear and casual wear, footwear, bedding. Micro-encapsulation is also used in thermochromic fabrics i.e. Fabrics (woven or knitted) with colors which change, appear or disappear

DECEMBER 2006. VOL. 6, NO.2


under the effect of variations in temperature. The fabrics themselves are not thermo-chromic, but the colourings are thermo-chromic, and photo-chromic substances and liquid crystals are often microencapsulated, particularly for textile media. Comfort Fleeces were among the first fabrics to benefit from high-quality, high-tech approaches. Malden Mill’s Polarfleece® is the original synthetic fleece fabric that forever changed the way the world dresses for cold weather. This fabric is soft, comfortable, provides warmth without weight, is quick drying and durable for longlasting good looks. Its high breathability provides comfort in all activities and does not restrict the movement of moisture vapors. Technical fabric manufacturers such as Heathcoat of UK produce extreme-weather fleeces, which are used by the military, for outdoor workwear and also for recreational sports. Fleeces such as Polartec Wind Pro, Thermal Pro and Polartec 200 are also appearing in sports and leisurewear departments and Menswear retailers, who are marketing their extra qualities to consumers. Many of the fabrics, like Thermal Pro, are increasingly being customised, with different finishes available, such as water repellence. Complete moisture-management systems can be designed “au choix”. Easy care Teflon and similar treatments are used both as a stain-repellent and stain-release mechanism, prolonging the life of a garment and making it more saleable. Translated into the fashion arena, Teflon on suiting fabrics is becoming a selling point, found at all levels of the market, with the

increased cost apparently easily absorbed by the end users and also recognized on swing tickets. DuPont’s Teflon® can now also be applied to all types of yarn. The coating is invisible, it does not affect the yarn visually or physically, is breathable and has easy care properties. Nanotechnology is however, the new buzzword for the moment in almost all industries. Schoeller has a NanoSphere finish that is water-, dirtand stain-repellent and can be applied to a diverse range of fabrics, giving an extra dimension to fashion fabrics. Water simply runs off the nano-surface of clothing nor can staining substances such as ketchup, honey, coffee or red wine take hold. And even if they fail to run off of their own accord, the stain can easily be rinsed off under running water. The first products from top garment manufacturers as Berghaus, Bugatti, Hugo Boss, Mammut or Polo Ralph Lauren are being presented at the current fairs. A new elastic fiber with Lycra brand, T-400™ has revolutionized the comfort, hand, stretch and recovery, wrinkle-resistance, wash ability and care of contemporary fabrics. This includes synthetic woven, denims, lightweight cotton, wool and poly/cottons. T400 has uniform crimp, resulting in knitwear with a clean, smooth appearance. Garments have clear stitch definition and a beautifully soft handle versus knits made with textured yarns. Garments with T400 keep their shape, even after repeated washing and wearing. Sweaters resist bagging at the elbows so they look new and feel great. But it is really the denim jeans that provide the best opportunity for use of T400. Since T-400™ is chlorine resistant it can withstand a variety of bleaching and washing conditions that are not typically used on stretch

denim. The latest treatments, such as antique finishes, whisker washing and sandblasting can be applied to garments with excellent results. What is more, it can even give a more tailored look as the jeans hold a crease wash after wash. Jeans containing this fiber are among the most comfortable, as T-400™ provides a subtle stretch for comfort and ease of movement. Garments not only fit well, but retain their shape wear after wear. Garmenting process is also eased as fabrics with T-400™ have minimum shrinkage thereby simplifying the cutting and sewing process. Garments stay true to their original size for enhanced consumer satisfaction. Protective aspects The protective aspects of textiles have provided the most fertile ground for innovative developments. While the developments have focused on environmental protection and personal hygiene, it is the medical and therapeutic aspects, which have really caught the fancy of lifestyle product manufacturers. The wide scope for encapsulation in fabrics has allowed moisturizers, therapeutic oils such as Aloe Vera, or even insecticides for tropical climates to be incorporated into fabrics. Buzz Off, in the US , is a chemical treatment to prevent mosquito bites, originally a military invention that is now being sold worldwide for cotton fabrics destined for holiday clothing. Made from permethrin, a man-made form of the all-natural insect repellent derived from the chrysanthemum plant. Through a patent-pending process, Buzz Off insect shield apparel by Orvis provides protection from biting insects for the useful life of your clothes.
DECEMBER 2006. VOL. 6, NO.2

Meanwhile, encapsulation and medical research moves on, centered around the delivery of medicines and drug treatments through clothing, perhaps overnight, to patients. Antimicrobial treatments began as useful adjuncts to measures to cut down MRSA, the pervasive and pernicious hospital superinfection. Eschler, for instance, is producing a range of Trevira Bioactive fabrics for use in the medical field. Its potential for use in sportswear, underwear and workwear was soon recognised and now it is becoming a common treatment for fashion clothing. Trevira Bioactive was recently made effective for socks, a prime target that has been difficult to achieve, and there is great interest in this area. Underwear is branded at point of sale with labels such as Silfresh, Trevira’s Bioactive, or Amicor, as it has been found that customers recognise and value such quality marks. Technical yarns such as Meryl Skinlife for bacteriostatic qualities permanently contain the active substance in the polymeric matrix.
For more information, contact : Dr. Sanjay Gupta E-mail :

Thermochromic T-Shirts Sensory effects are not just limited to specialised fibers and finishes. The seam-less structure of whole-garment making technologies using 3D weaving or knitting technology offers great new sensorial experience. An example is provided by the Wholegarment® machines produced by Shima Seiki Mfg., Ltd, which is one of the leading manufacturers of computerized whole glove and whole garment flatbed knitting machines. Their machines are capable of imparting a range of open and close structures,


3D effects and contrasting surfaces, to whole garments. The range includes entire garments including scarves, hats, jumpers, dresses, skirts, cardigans, tights, legwarmers and socks. If one combines those new developments in yarn with 3D knitting it is possible to make exciting new textiles for garments. Polar fleece The latest on the scene is Polartec’s Heat Technology that provides “Warmth on Demand®” during stop-and-go activities. Powered by rechargeable lithium ion batteries, Polartec Heat panels deliver three modes of user-adjustable warmth. These panels are very thin, lightweight, and flexible, and are designed not to interfere with a garment’s function. They are also durable and machine washable. By providing warmth only when needed, this heating breakthrough reduces the need to add or subtract layers of clothing as weather or activity levels change. The panels are activated by the user with a controller. When resting after a period of high exertion, the user turns the panels on. When resuming activity, the user turns them off, as the body’s increased activity level provides the necessary warmth to maintain cold temperature. Jacket incorporating Polartec’s Warmth on Demand® Phase change micro-encapsulation or OUTLAST technology offers another way of maintaining body heat. The chemist introduces a paraffin hydrocarbon-based phase change material, as it is known, into plastic shells. In contrast to microcapsules destined for cosmetic textiles where the membrane must be flexible enough for gradual release of the product, the shells used for Outlast are hard to protect the paraffin based substance from external elements. Approximately 1,000 microcapsules

can fit on a single pinhead. The PCM (phase change material) is ultra-sensitive to temperature variations. Below 37° the PCM remains in its solid state. Above this temperature it turns to liquid storing surplus body heat. It can then change state an unlimited number of times. When it solidifies again, the PCM releases body heat stored in the plastic shells and distributes it evenly around the body. This re-heating effect can last several hours but it is necessary to regularly activate phase changes passing through periods of re-heating (more or less intensive activities) and cooling. Fabrics containing PCM microcapsules are capable of storing at least 10 times more heat than untreated products. PCM microcapsules A new range of yarn called “Extended Function” consisting of Polycolon® allows the body to stay drier for longer periods under heavy body perspiration. Polycolon® yarns are about 40 per cent lighter than cotton, and perform by quickly conducting moisture to the absorbent surface layers from where it gets evaporated. Trevira Bioactive garments for hospitals Sanitized® is a yarn which has an antibacterial effect. Its development was encouraged by the difficulty of eliminating bacteria from clothing. Sanitized® works by blocking the cell walls of the bacteria and cause them to starve, keeping the garment fresh and hygienic. Lenzing Fibres has launched a new lyocell microfibre based on Lenzing Low Fibrillation technology, allowing the ultra-fine fabrics to be processed like conventional cellulose fabrics, producing fine, soft fabrics with low allergic properties.