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ITMA Preview: Sustainable Dyeing, Finishing and Weaving Innovations

May 20, 2023

The tools and technologies that will help pave the future of fashion will be on display at ITMA June 8-14 in Milan. The world's largest international textile and garment technology exhibition will be home to innovative companies in spinning, finishing, software, logistics, fibers, yarns and fabrics, including key players that serve the denim industry.

From indigo dyeing alternatives to quality control solutions, here's a look at what companies plan to pitch to the global supply chain.

Dyeing and coloration

Sustainable textile coloration company Colourized is building on the success of its QuantumCOLOUR technology with a machine designed specifically for denim. The company will introduce the QuantumCOLOUR Denim Machine, a system that creates yarns that emulate indigo and deliver the depth of color layers and vintage aesthetic that consumers love about denim.

Sustainability, quality and cost savings are among the machine's benefits. It boasts larger capacity, consistent and reliable results and the ability for continuous processing. The company said it eliminates "the need to accept color variations often associated with washed-down effects."

"With our innovative approach to indigo emulation and the numerous benefits offered by the QuantumCOLOUR Denim Machine, we are confident that it will revolutionize the denim industry and set new standards for sustainable denim coloration," said Jennifer Thompson, CEO at Colourized, LLC.

Sedo Engineering will showcase SmartIndigo, a dyeing process that uses electricity instead of toxic chemicals to dissolve indigo dyes. The alternative technology reduces water consumption in the dye process by 70 percent. It is a BlueSign approved system partner and ZDHC level 3 certified.

To date, more than 20 SmartIndigo machines are already installed at leading denim producers, helping them to achieve cleaner production. Some have already ordered their second or third machines, the company said.

"We’ve combined economy and ecology in one groundbreaking innovation," said Werner Volkaert, managing director of Sedo Engineering. "Denim brands and textile factories can move towards this sustainable production structure easily and with more benefits at a lower cost. It is a win-win solution for our clients, their employees, and consumers."

Circular dyestuff is the focus for Officina39. The Italian chemical company will highlight Recycrom Ready to Dye, a collection of 15 standard ready in-stock colors obtained from a minimum of 65 percent recycled textile pre- and post-consumer materials. The fashionable dyes and colorations can be applied to cotton, wool, nylon or any cellulosic and natural fiber or blend.

Agteks, the Turkish yarn twisting machinery company, will present a suite of quality control products for the denim industry.

Shade Box is an online quality control system that is specifically designed to detect color variation that occurs during the production of dyed denim yarns. The system allows manufacturers to monitor the color quality of their denim yarns accurately and efficiently throughout the production process.

Shade Box achieves this through a spectrophotometer, which is a device that measures the color of an object by analyzing the light that it reflects or transmits. The system operates according to the standards and recommendations of the International Commission on Illumination (CIE), an organization responsible for establishing standardized methods of color measurement and ensuring consistency in the way that color is described and analyzed.


"Reduce, refocus and rethink" is Rudolf GmbH's moto going into ITMA. The German chemical manufacturer will present a new "strategic perspective" that maximizes synergies between its product innovations and reduces their overall environmental impact.

The company teases a new generation of systems "designed to simulate, analyze and measure the environmental impact of a given industrial textile process to then provide insights into the optimization of resources, costs and CO2 emissions."

"We have been rethinking our commitments to the environment and society through the overall reduction of our environmental impact and by refocusing on new processes and renewable raw materials," said Oliver Kusterle, MD of Rudolf GmbH. "These are the pillars on which we are building our path to the future."

Rudolf's Bionic Finish Eco is part of the Reduce pillar. The idea for the fluorine-free water repellent textile finishing agent is based on proprietary dendrimer technology, or molecules made of multi-functional branches that interact among themselves, co-crystallize, and self-organize into highly ordered, multi-component systems. The molecules attach to the textile and embed fluorine-free water repellent performance.

The company will present the technology alongside bio-based performance and process chemicals from its Bio-Logic range that uses natural, sustainable and renewable raw materials.


Tonello's solution for a more agile, integrated, and sustainable laundry is the Laundry (R)Evolution, a two-machine system that saves resources, time and space.

The first machine is The Laser, available as a table for larger surfaces, a mannequin for 360-degree effects, and a conveyor belt for continuous processing. The Laser replaces the traditional manual abrasion process and gives laser designers more creative control.

The second is Tonello's All-in-One System, which executes its washing operations by incorporating four technologies into a single machine. Each technology operates efficiently and reduces water consumption.

Ego allows garments to be treated with ozone in both water and air to achieve authentic bleach effects without using hazardous chemicals. NoStone is the abrasive drum that creates stone washed effects without using pumice. UP is a patented system that consists of a continuous and regular flow of water, injected inside the machine, then recovered and recirculated. Core produces a fine mist inside the basket, resulting in uniform or contrasting effects on the garments.

Tonello will also showcase DyeMate, a patent-pending technology that reimagines the traditional indigo garment dyeing process and makes it automatic, repeatable and sustainable. With DyeMate, the dyeing process is carried out in an oxygen-free nitrogen atmosphere with controlled reduction and oxidation.

The process works at low temperatures and lowers the use of reducing chemicals. Additionally, Tonello said it is possible to make sulfur and VAT dyes with the same technology.

Jeanologia will showcase Atmos, a new atmospheric washing process that achieves natural aging of garments without water, chemicals or pumice stones.

Through Jeanologia's G2 ozone technology and Indra patented system, the Spanish company makes an authentic vintage and stone wash look possible by replacing traditional water washers with air washers. Indra allows designers to control the humidity and temperature to achieve their desired level of abrasion and discoloration and replicated for scaling production.

ITMA is an opportunity for Jeanologia to share its vision for future production plants powered by "the seamless integration of its technologies."

The plants are designed based on automation, connectivity, digitization, sustainability, and creativity with the focus on achieving an authentic fashion product in a sustainable and efficient way, and at the lowest production cost, the company said.

Jeanologia claims that its laser machines are up to 50 percent faster and use 50 percent less energy than other laser technologies on the market. Its high-speed washers with "class-leading" low-water consumption can be easily connected to its eFlow nano bubble system. These technologies, coupled with the company's H2Zero water recycling system, creates a circular loop.


Cellulosic fiber producer Lenzing Group and textile machinery company Karl Mayer Group will join forces at ITMA to present a solution for using a higher percentage of Tencel lyocell fibers and Tencel lyocell filament during textile production in both warp knitting and flat knitting machines.

The strategic partnership is described as an important step in guiding the industry toward a more sustainable future and underscores their commitment to empowering partners in the textile chain with value-added solutions and innovation in reducing the carbon footprint of their supply chains.

"Through this partnership with the Karl Mayer Group, we will inspire the textile value chain to take proactive steps towards achieving their climate goals with easier adoption of botanic and biodegradable materials, meeting the needs of brands and consumers who are looking for eco-conscious products," said Florian Heubrandner, Lenzing VP of global textiles business.

The companies will showcase a series of concept products, technical samples and fabrics at the show to illustrate the potential of knitting innovation leveraged through their collaboration.

Infinited Fiber will highlight the commercial success stories of its circular Infinna fiber. Generated from 100 percent textile waste, Infinna can be used for denim as the sole fiber or as part of a blend.

Weekday, Jack & Jones and Wrangler have introduced Infinna denim. Fast Company gave an honorable mention to Wrangler for its Infinited Blue collection in the sustainability category of its Innovation by Design Awards 2021.

Along with introducing a project with short-staple fiber spinning supplier Rieter Group that focuses on recycled content in yarn, Recover Fiber will present a "teaser" of its new tracer solution. The company has designed a unique tracer that enables the detection of the Recover fiber during all the manufacturing process as well as creates a digital transaction certification.

Recover said the traceability solution ensures that third party manufacturers can use its branded fibers in yarn and fabric in a sufficient volume and in compliance with the agreed terms in yarn and fabric, and it also helps fight the issue of counterfeit or fake Recover products.

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