Business / Industries

Automatic textile dyeing equipment improves quality, cuts energy use

By WANG QIAN (China Daily) Updated: 2015-01-14 08:28

Shandong Companion Group Co Ltd won China's top science and technology award for its contribution to automatic and smart manufacturing in the textile dyeing industry.

The privately owned textile producer's digital automatic cone dyeing technology and equipment was awarded first prize in the State Science and Technology Progress Award at an annual ceremony held in the Great Hall of the People to honor technologies that bring considerable economic benefits on Jan 9.

"China's textile industry has entered a new stage in which Chinese companies must rely more on science and technology innovation to guide and support their development and progress," said Chen Duifan, president of the company.

In the company's dyeing workshops in Tai'an, in Shandong province, there are hardly any workers, which is rare in the traditionally labor-intensive textile dyeing industry.

"Cone dyeing is a key step in producing high-grade fabrics and involves more than 20 procedures, most of which had to be finished by hand before. It is difficult to control the quality of products," Chen said.

"We once introduced horizontal dyeing equipment from European countries, which is semi-automatically operated and consumes more water than our vertical ones," he said.

To solve these problems, the company spent eight years developing whole-process automatic dyeing production lines and a central digital control system with the China Academy of Machinery Science and Technology.

The research cost more than 180 million yuan ($29.02 million).

The solution is suitable for dyeing cotton yarn, wool yarn and cotton linen blended yarn and can also be applied to gray fabric dyeing and textile printing, among many others.

"Now it only needs one or two workers in the central control room who can real-time monitor the whole producing process ranging from distributing dyestufs, dyeing, dehydrating and drying, to surface finishing, delivering and loading," said Zhang Lin, general manager of the company.

The workshop previously needed about 100 people to work on three shifts, he added.

"The move represents leapfrog progress in the cone dyeing sector, making China the first country in the world that has mastered the full-process of automatic dyeing technologies," Zhang said. The equipment was granted 32 national patents, including 14 invention patents and 13 software copyrights.

More than 30 Chinese textile manufacturers, including Sunvim Group and Lutai Textile Co Ltd, adopted the fully automatic production lines and successfully used them for more than 30 varieties of textiles.

The practices show that the solution can reduce the color difference in the dyeing process, raising the color grade from the previous 4 to 4.5. The one-time pass rate of products now reaches 95 percent or above, at least five percentage points higher than advanced world standards.

Yu Jianyong, an academician at the China Academy of Engineering, praised the technological solution.

"It has not only improved the textile dyeing quality and eficiency, but also significantly cut energy consumption and emissions," he said. For every ton of yarn, the solution cut water consumption by 27 percent, electricity by 12.5 percent and wastewater discharge by 26.7 percent.

China is the world's largest textile producer and has an annual yarn dyeing capacity of 10 million tons, according to the China Wool Textile Association. The wide use of the new solution could save 300 million tons of water and reduce wastewater discharge by 297 million tons annually.

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