Innovation in textiles is a difficult and complicated task, but not impossible. Jeanologia, a company from Valencia on Spain’s eastern coast, has shown how this can be achieved and has successfully developed new technologies for washing, dyeing and finishing textiles, especially jeans.
The invention of a textile laser that reproduces the ageing effect on jeans, the use of industrial eco-washers that do not require water or chemical products, and the development of software that can measure the environmental impact caused by processing garments, have made Jeanologia an innovative leader in the textile finishing sector.
This technology has made the Valencian company a pioneer with regard to the changes currently taking place in the jeans sector, which is increasingly looking for “ecological and ethical solutions, but especially efficient solutions”, explains José María Pérez de Villegas, sales manager of Jeanologia.
Until very recently, to give jeans or garments a vintage (aged or distressed) look would normally involve processes that are harmful to the environment and to the health of the workers performing this work.
However, Jeanologia’s textile laser has resolved these problems. The system is relatively simple. It photographs an old pair of jeans and then converts this image to grayscale using software designed by the company. Once the system has read this data, the textile laser emits heat that reproduces the worn look on the new pair of jeans, in the same places as on the original jeans, creating an identical replica of the original pair.
Many manufacturers still use manual ageing techniques on jeans, with processes based on friction until the garment has the aged look desired by the manufacturer. They therefore use sandpaper, chemicals such as bleach, stone washing and especially sandblasting, a technique that consists of firing sand and water at high pressures at the trousers until the desired finish has been achieved. This method, which was banned in Europe decades ago, is still used in some parts of the world and can have a devastating effect on workers’ health. The sand jet creates huge amounts of crystalline silica dust which, when inhaled, causes silicosis, the terrible lung disease that often afflicts miners.
Jeans finished with Jeanologia's laser system. Photo: www.jeanologia.com
ETHICAL AND ECOLOGICAL INVENTIONS
In addition to replacing the techniques that damage workers’ health, the textile laser significantly increases production output in terms of the number of garments. Manual sanding produces 10 units per hour, sandblasting 30 and spraying 60, while the laser can produce up to 200 units per hour.
In addition to the laser, G2 eco-washing also contributes to solving some of the problems affecting the jeans industry, mainly related to energy consumption and “the unnecessary usage of water and chemicals”, says Pérez de Villegas.