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Taiwan’s Sustainable Digital Dyeing Technology

A low-energy, waterless textile digital dyeing technology is being installed at a major Taiwan textile manufacturing plant to improve the sustainability of the company’s textile production. More importantly, this should introduce smart dyeing and highlight the platform’s ability to make such improvements across the industry.

Thus, this could be great news for the planet. The digital dyeing platform is developed by an innovator of inkjet-inspired digital manufacturing technologies. It is being installed at one of Taiwan’s innovative fabric producers with the hope of revolutionising the textile industry. The groundbreaking technology produces no wastewater and reduces energy consumption by 85% compared with traditional textile dyeing. Plus, it is also a lot more cost-effective.

The revolutionary process has been called the world’s first smart dyeing process. Breaking itself from the traditional mould of dyeing technology, it utilises advanced digital manufacturing technology to deliver a breakthrough in the cost structure, supply chain capability and sustainability of fabric colouration.

The system itself uses a throughput roll-to-roll single-pass technology. As a result, it delivers dramatic manufacturing cost reductions and profitability benefits compared to conventional methods. Moreover, as a digital-on-demand process, it reduces minimum run lengths and enables rapid changeovers between colours and fabrics. With its quick supply-chain agility, it has the potential to transform manufacturing capabilities — by eliminating inventories and waste in the delivery of fabrics to market.

Indeed, this smart dyeing process may sound like an attractive option for textile manufacturers that want to improve their bottom line. However, its biggest contribution may well be in building a more sustainable, livable planet.

Textile production may sound like a harmless industry. However, it is estimated to be responsible for up to 10% of the world’s carbon emissions and causes more than 20% of the world’s water pollution. Industry research shows the fashion industry is the second-largest polluter second only to agriculture. To a large degree, a more sustainable technology for the industry can make a big dent in carbon emissions by improving textile dyeing technology.

If the textile industry gets its act right, it can certainly contribute a lot to a better planet. The Global Fashion Agenda (GFA), the leading forum for sustainability in fashion, reported that the industry has the potential to be almost completely recyclable and if the sector invested $5 billion to $7 billion by 2026 it could become 80% circular.

A circular economy is a term that has been thrown around a lot by environmentalists. At its core, it talks about sustainability. In a linear economy, raw natural resources are taken, transformed into products and get disposed of. On the opposite, a circular economy model aims to close the gap between the production and the natural ecosystems’ cycles – upon which humans ultimately depend.

Additionally, a report from Planet Tracker, a non-profit financial think tank that aligns capital markets with planetary boundaries, says that improvements in textile wet processing could cut water waste by 11.5% and emissions by 11%. If such upgrades were made across the industry it could lead to savings of $6.1 billion a year.

Taiwan is harnessing digital technology to move its economy forward. Its digital transformation is taking all necessary fronts to leapfrog the country into the future. As the semiconductor basket of the world, it certainly is investing in Information and Communication Technology (ICT) to do just that.

The use of smart dyeing is a concrete example of that. But it’s just one of many fronts the island nation is exploring. As reported on OpenGov Asia, Taiwan is poised to be a global leader in Artificial Intelligence by establishing the AI HUB on its shores.

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