The water saving challenge: TANA®ZYM NCP for Bioscouring and Desizing put into practice
The textile industry is one of the most water consuming industries in the world. Every stage in the production process requires water, either to apply substances or to wash them off. Now, water scarcity has been a global problem for some time, but the awareness of today’s textile manufacturers is increasing, causing them to take responsibility and search for ways to reduce the amounts they consume. One of the success stories leads us to the Middle East, where TANATEX experts deployed bioscouring in the production process of one of our customers. They managed to reduce water consumption with 50% and limit process steps to 2-3. How? We’ll tell you here.
Social and environmental implications
Maybe you closely monitor the amounts of water you consume; maybe you brush your teeth leaving the water running. In some areas in the Middle East, people don’t really have a choice. They not only deal with physical water scarcity: there’s also a lack of adequate ways to supply for the region’s water demand (so-called economic water scarcity). This means that the litres used by textile plants influence the water supplies that are also needed for irrigation, drinking water and cleaning water. Our customer therefore looked for ways to save out on (waste) water to release pressure on the regional water supplies and to deploy a greener and more effective pre-treatment process of cotton fibres. They also wanted to create a cleaner working environment for employees, and maintain the quality and speed of the different stages of pre-treatment. Quite the challenge!
Bioscouring for scouring and desizing
TANATEX experts studied the production process and machines of our customer, who produce cotton woven fabric for shirts manufacturing, and introduced bioscouring in the form of TANA®ZYM NCP. Bioscouring is a different kind of scouring that uses enzymes instead of alkaline to treat the fibres. It’s a well-known eco-friendly way of scouring that reduces waste water, but what many people don’t know, is that it can also be used for desizing, so that you can combine two steps in one. In a traditional pre-treatment process, textiles are desized, scoured and bleached before they’re dyed or printed (see fig. 1). TANA®ZYM NCP contains an enzyme for desizing starch size, but also an enzyme for bioscouring to remove pectines and wax in a non-aggressive way. The product improves bleachability, has good desizing and hydrophilic properties and good results in dyeing. It also improves the handle and has a positive impact on the final finishing stage. You have to know how to integrate bioscouring in the pre-treatment process, though, which is why this application is not commonly used. TANA®ZYM NCP simplifies processing and makes processes more reliable.
The gift that keeps on giving
The benefits that come with the combination of bioscouring and desizing make great changes to the pre-treatment process. First of all, you can scour the fibres with less water and at lower temperatures, and desize them at the same time, making you save out on water, time and energy. As bioscouring is a natural way of cotton fibre treatment, the waste water is better biodegradable, so that it can be used for other purposes without harming the environment. Additionally, the enzymes you use during the scouring stage enable you to reduce the usage of chemicals in the bleaching stage, or to even eliminate this stage if you work with dark shaded fabrics. Additionally, bioscouring causes no damage to the fibres whatsoever, so that you end up with higher quality textiles while using less resources.
The TANATEX touch
TANATEX experts took bioscouring as their starting point and used the technology in a new way. With TANA®ZYM NCP, they created an enzymatic desizing and bioscouring application that is suitable for all common processes in the textile industry. TANA®ZYM NCP offers a mild enzyme treatment, providing woven fabrics with an outstanding surface optic and soft feel. It optimises tensile strength and reduces weight loss, two important features that are decisive when you want to reach high quality fabrics. And as TANA®ZYM NCP comes with non-corrosive conditions for equipment and workers, it also creates a safer and healthier working environment.
That sounds promising, but let’s have a look at some hard numbers. How much water did our customer save out on? In what ways did TANA®ZYM NCP make an actual difference to the quality of the output and the production process? Before starting the bioscouring experiment, TANATEX experts carried out a base line experiment to assess water consumption, usage of chemicals and working safety. They then made the transition towards bioscouring, by fine-tuning TANA®ZYM NCP on existing machines and resources of the customer. Their work resulted in the following numbers:
- Water consumption: reduced with 50%
- Customers process steps: reduced from 4-5 to 2-3
- Usage of sodium hydroxide: from high to none
“We are very pleased with the first test results of enzymatic desizing and bioscouring application. We are able to maintain the quality of the fabrics and reduce the production time. This means we can offer a very good product in our competitive market.”
This customer case provides the ultimate proof that it’s possible to deploy a greener production process that saves out on water while improving quality. And this is just the beginning, as plants all over the world struggle with waste water loads, the inevitable usage of hazardous chemicals and time restraints. By switching to more natural fibre treatments, textile manufacturers can reduce their footprint or maybe even contribute to a better world. Take our customer , that now uses its waste water to irrigate natural areas in the region!