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Washing Techniques for Denim Jeans

Denim Jeans Washing Methods

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Washing can be considered the final process in denim production and is the core of denim finishing. The washing of denim is directly related to the aesthetic, quality, and value of denim garments. In processing, sizing and coloration form the base of color in denim garments (Wang, 1995).

Denim and jeans washing machines

In the past decade, there have been many developments in denim washing machines. Many machine manufacturers offer various kinds of denim washing machines. This section summarises the development of different denim washing related machines exhibited in the International Textile Market Association 2007 (Kan and Yuen, 2008) and International Textile Market Association 201 shows by different manufacturers (Kan, 2012). For more information related to the recent development in denim wash- ing machines, please visit the manufacturers’ Websites.

AVANTEC

The Turbo Pintora garment dyeing machine from Avantec S.R.L., Italy, has differ- ent operating volumes (Avantec S.R.L., 2007a), 1300 L (Turbo Pintora 1.3), 2200 L (Turbo Pintora 2.2), 3100 L (Turbo Pintora 3.1), 4100 L (Turbo Pintora 4.1) and 5000 L (Turbo Pintora 5.0). The machine is driven by two motors to provide max- imum basket rotation flexibility and has a self-balancing system with special elec- tro-pneumatic shock absorbers to ensure perfect stability during the centrifuging phase. It has special fixed and removable beaters to ensure the most appropriate move- ment of the garments. The Turbo Pintora allows very low liquor ratios. The machine can be equipped with a colour kitchen which includes: (1) a tank for chemical prod- ucts introduction; (2) a tank for dissolving and introducing dyestuff and (3) a tank for dissolving and dosing auxiliaries. All of these systems are controlled by a micropro- cessor. The Super Pintora is a new dyeing system that reduces the dyeing time; con- sequently, there is a considerable reduction in the relevant dyeing costs of about 30% (Avantec S.R.L., 201a). The Super Pintora can work at a very low bath ratio, between 1:4 and 1:5, and can avoid those annoying problems of abrasion and mechanical fric- tion of the garments that industrial washers often have.

The OLA LIMPIA washing machine is an industrial ‘Superspin’ machine for ready- made garments. It is particularly suited to water washes, ‘stone wash’ treatments with enzymes and chemical treatments (Avantec S.R.L., 2007b). In this washing machine, a microprocessor permits manual and automatic control of all machine functions. Solarium is constituted by a ‘double mannequin’, one opposite to the other, rotating 180° and a drying area, in which the 3D effects are fixed at a maximum temperature of 80 °C (Avantec S.R.L., 201b). After that, complete polymerisation of the resin is done in a traditional static oven, the versatility of this machine allows easy and simple interchangeability (less than 1 min) of the manikins, to perform, besides the traditional horizontal moustaches, also new 3D effects like the new diagonal moustaches or anal- ogous applications on jackets and sports jackets.

Diablo laser machine with software permits change of parameters like power, fre- quency and speed to reproduce on the garment any kind of effect, like personalised drawing, images, trading marks, whisker effect and stripes (Avantec S.R.L., 201c).

BRONCO

BRONCO S.R.L., Italy, provides different machines for washing and dyeing of ready- made garments. The rotary machine model LCOs are machines designed for all kinds of treatments on ready made garments such as enzyme stone wash, rinsing, softeners, milling and dyeing. Front loading washing machines are particularly designed for treatments such pumice stone wash (Bronco S.R.L., 2007).

BLASTEX

BLASTEX, Brazil, offers different jeans finishing systems (Blastex, 2007a). The BPR100 Compact model is a single head compact form thermic press. The BPR150 Simple model has a single Teflon covered head and large format thermic press. The BPR200 Twin compact is a double Teflon covered head and compact form thermic press. The BPR series is operated with manually actuated heat form linked to a digital time and temperature control. The BPA 700 Thermic is a double head thermic press for wrin- kle effects. This machine is fully automatic, controlled with pneumatic actuation with digital programmable-logic controller to program, time, speed and temperature.

The C1 is a dextramer with pneumatic auctioning that produces popping or popcorn effect with quality and repeatability. The X2 is a hand sanding equipment with a vertical double dummy hand sanding system, rotating and articulated dummies, equipped with trigger action and rotating sandpaper cartridges brush supported by ergonomic balancer with more productivity and less effort. The L2eL2 automática is a horizontal hand sanding dummy with two rotating articulated and inflatable legs. It is easily hand manipulated with automatic pressure controller for inflatable dummies.

The J1 works in vertical and horizontal positions. The dummy rotates, allowing brushing on both sides. The move- ments and inflation are controlled by a pedal. The Laser Smart 250 is a laser engraving machine operated with 250W plus auto focus correction mirrors marking technology (Blastex, 2007a). The laser machine is equipped with height and printing area digital adjustment. The P3 Dry Spraying Cabin consists of twin dry filter cartridges with easy filter cleaning system so that 98% of potassium permanganate can be retained (Blastex, 2007a). This machine is operated with pneumatic ergonomic pedal trigger for faster application and higher production speed. The series WAVE is a washing machine suitable for all kinds of washing processes on ready-made garments (Blastex, 2007b).

CELIKHAN

CELIKHAN, Turkey, offers A6 Jumbo washing machine which provides advantages of: (1) saving 50% of process time and producing effects or bleach without using any chemical substance; (2) reducing 90% of chemical substances, 60% electricity and labour cost; (3) eliminating back staining problems; (4) cleaning the agricultural wastes; and (5) providing the effects from grey to blue bleach on the same garments (Celikhan, 201).

CIBITEX

CIBITEX S.R.L., Italy, offers denim finishing plants which consist of machines for finishing and achieving dimensional stability on denim fabric (Cibitex S.R.L., 2007). CIBITEX denim finishing lines lead to a flawless result as regards final dimensional stability. To obtain a flawless shrinkage and facilitate the shrinkage of this fabric, it is necessary that moisture penetrates into the cotton fibre with a residual moisture per- centage (before entering the shrinkage unit) ranging from 13% to 15%. The best sys- tem to achieve this moisture content is full impregnation followed by drying adjusted by a moisture control system which ensures the requested moisture percentage.

GFK

GFK, Spain (a brand under Jeanologia), developed high technology solutions for gar- ment finishing (GFK, 2007). The MAORI is customised dyeing machine which allows the user to achieve a number of different garment dye effects on wool, cotton and its blends. The MARGARITA is an automatic machine for industrial use aiming at obtain- ing 3D effects (3D scratch) such as round shaped moustache and back knee effect on trousers. Its unique technology offers various applications with the features: (1) a single operator working the machine; (2) the whisker form is made in 5 s; and (3) production up to 40–50 garments per hour. The SCRUNCH is a high speed garment packing machine for tie-dye, tie-bleach and other localised permanent wrinkling. The POPPING is a high performance fabric punching machine to create personalised break points on garments in automatic mode with the features of:

  1. automatic mode adjustment;
  2. needle penetration adjustment;
  3. needle holding mould;
  4. easy garment handling.

The KNEEMATIC is a machine for permanent fabric widening to produce authentic bombed knee effect. It is the first and unique technology to create vintage knee shape on denim and twills. The TECA is a machine for creating authentic 3D wrinkles on any area of the garment (moustache, back knee, waist belt, bottom, etc.). The FGM is a fabric grinding machine with the fastest and most controllable technology of GFK for automated warp removal to achieve vintage worn effects and breaks on garments.

JEANOLOGIA

JEANOLOGIA, Spain, (Jeanologia, 201) presents the Plug & Design system for laser treatment which allows creating and improving the art of jeans without waste of time in preproduction. The Rotatex Technology is a rotating table with transition in 1.3 s with absolute precision in laser treatment.

The G2 is a colour fading technol- ogy which can be considered as an ecological production process without

  1. any toxic emissions to the atmosphere;
  2. any water consumption;
  3. any toxic dumping;
  4. any chemicals consumption;
  5. large energy consumption (reduce more than 65% energy for 100 kg of fabric).

Laser system technology

Laser System Technology, Turkey offers the LSTTEX laser system which provides efficient, fast and cost effective solutions for all localised abrasion needs on garments (Laser System Technology, 201). Creating authentic looking garments with whis- kers, chevrons, damages and 3D effects is easy with the system. Multipreview mode and continuous printing is used and while one design is being printed, a second design is visually marked on the printing area with a second marking head so that the opera- tor can exactly position the next garment to the subsequent printing area. This feature virtually eliminates manipulation time and thus increases production. Automatic filed size and height adjustment are available and therefore no lenses are needed to be changed during operation.

OMI washing machinery

OMI Washing Machinery, Italy, offers automatic systems with modules for wash- ing, stone washing, spinning and drying with automatic garment loading and unloading. The LSCO 360 TSM High Speed Machine is a machine for garment dyeing with loads varying from 40 to 200 kg (OMI Washing Machinery, 2007). This system is made of a motor driven pump with variable pressure, which picks up the dip from the machine, filters it and injects it with adjustable pressure through 500 nozzles distributed and mounted on the axis and also on the two lateral sides of the rotating basket of the machine.

The radial injection takes place on the centre and on the length of the basket towards the external side and from the lateral sides to the opposite ones, creating a cross injection of the dip that permits a high dyeing penetration on garments in a short time. The machine is extremely versatile even with very delicate garments.

TUPESA maquinaria textil

TUPESA, Spain, offers a wide range of machines for garment processing (Tupesa Maquinaria Textil, 2007). For the washing process, washers model Stone is available from TUPESA which is a frontal machine for washing and treating garments with enzymatic and stone wash processes. The TUPESA wrinkle free curing ovens (e.g. WF-80-Gas) are specially designed for the processes and finished garments that need a curing process at high temperature. Its exclusive design guarantees a constant and homogenous circulation of the internal air, obtaining identical temperature in all its compartments.

TUPESA makes several models of curing ovens with capacities from 10 to 80 garments and with production of 40–80 garments per hour at temperatures of up to 180 °C. The TUPESA curing ovens have a movable hangers system, divided in one or two internal departments depending on the model. The heating system can be operated by electricity or by gas. TUPESA also provides different types of mannikins for treating and brushing jeans like trousers or jackets which is easy to use and install. An independent blowing system is used with fast and simultaneous air discharge from both legs through a special wide opening drainage valve. Manual or pneumatic system clutches with blocking system in every position.

TOLON

TOLON, Turkey, provides machines for garment processing (Tolon, 201). The Pro Wash series, THW 150, THW 300, THW 400 and THW 500 are heavy service machines used in stone washing and bleaching of denim garments. They are also used for rinsing and enzyme washing operations. The Comfort Wash washing machines, THW 150CW, THW 300CW and THW 400CW, are manufactured for the same use with Pro Wash wash- ing machines and the same properties. They are different from Pro Wash machines in that they offer simplified compact structure, reduced drive system and maximum 40 rpm pre-extraction. This is also a heavy service machine type used in stone washing and bleaching of denim garments. It is also used in rinsing and enzyme washing operations.

TONELLO

TONELLO S.R.L., Italy, offers garment finishing equipment (Tonello S.R.L., 2007a). The Professional Compact series are garment dyeing machines with a high speed and jet system. The garment dyeing machines are equipped with variable speed, extraction as well as automatic balancing system. They work with open basket and with the high speed dyeing system.

The Brush Robot Model E4 (Tonello S.R.L., 2007b) has been developed for auto- matic brushing of jeans, that is to give them a ‘used look’ effect. This system is a valid alternative to the sand blasting or chemical processes. It is equipped with four brushes, two in front and the other two on the rear part of the jeans.

To reduce downtime, the machine is complete with two mannikins and so loading and unloading operations can be performed while the machine is working. The Brush Robot Model E5 (Tonello S.R.L., 2007b) is used for automatic brushing of jeans that is to give them a ‘used look’ effect. This system is also a valid alternative to the sand blasting or chemi- cal processes. Different from the Brush Robot Model E4, this machine works with one brush controlled by an anthropomorphic robot. One column, placed in the centre of the machine, supports a rotating device with three mannikins. One mannequin is in a loading and unloading position and the other two are in working positions. Different effects can be obtained using different types of brushes and changing their working conditions.

The Bohemia is an automatic spraying system and resin spraying can be done man- ually or automatically for producing: (1) spray wash effect and (2) 3D effect (Tonello S.R.L., 2007b). This system can also create special ‘3D Real Look’ effects on the garments. The spraying on garments like jeans, jackets and shirts, etc., of chlorine derivatives, pigments and resins has the function to create on garments themselves special effects and particular finishing.

TONELLO has added a new manual equipment brand that sprays and brushes jeans, jackets and shirts, etc. The equipment mainly includes a spraying booth and accessories for manual spraying and brushing (Tonello S.R.L., 2007b). Spraying booths are of dry type with ‘paint stop’ filtering panels which can be easily removed for cleaning or replacing. They can be equipped with manikins from one to four. The booths are supplied with a differential pressure switch to signal filter clogging, light- ing and electric board as well as with one or two centrifugal fans in relation to their sizes. The LASER BLAZE is a machine for treating denim and dyed garments with a laser (Tonello S.R.L., 2013). The action of the laser produces variations in intensity of colour and so produces a greater variety of different imaginative effects, images and designs. The intensity of the results depends as much on the power of the laser as on the characteristics of the fabric.

VAV technology

VAV Technology GmbH, Germany, offers the Picasso SS 330 robotic system (VAV Technology GmbH, 201). With its two pieces of robotic arms and two modelled loading system, Picasso SS 330 is two times faster than humans. Although humans have difficulty in spraying with one hand, Picasso SS 330 reaches a production speed which humans can never reach by putting the right part of the trouser on one arm and left part of the trouser on the other.

A process which takes 80 s for a human is completed in 40 s with Picasso SS 330. The X-burner SR series is an economical 3-Axis Galvo laser machine with its modern and ergonomic design (VAV Technology GmbH, 201) and the specially designing Galvo Optical System. It can be used for denim and leather cutting. Its two-axis pointer system provides great speed and convenience in product locating. Although the operator places four to five jeans at once on the sliding stand depending on size of the model, the machine can burn four to five jeans preplaced on the other stand. Because this placement is very fast with the two-axis laser pointer, one operator can operate two X-burner R series laser machines by himself.

YILMAK

YILMAK, Turkey, offers different types of wet processing machines for garments. The OZYY ozone washing machine is a high technology machine that uses ozone for bleaching, various finishing processes and to clean back staining in indigo dyed textiles (Yilmak, 2007a). The HBM 50 is designed for sample washing and dye- ing processes in laboratories with flexible construction which provides a wide range of loads for a wide range of treatments (enzyme, washing, reactive and direct dyeing, etc.) (Yilmak, 2007b). The HBM 50 is installed with a heating battery for indirect heat- ing as a standard unit.

The HBM 3860 (Yilmak, 2007c), HBM 3860S (Yilmak, 2007d) and HBM 3860C (Yilmak, 2007e) series are open pocket washing machines especially designed for denim and gabardine garments; stone, enzyme and/or any other washing treatments for best results with various drum rotation speeds, that is 0–125 rpm for HBM3860 and 0–40 rpm for HBM 3860S and HBM 3860C.

The Carousel Spray Robot is a system designed and manufactured to spray on jeans, jackets and shirts various chemicals such as chlorine derivatives, pigments and resins (Yilmak, 2007f). It includes one robot and an overhead carousel with 12 manni- kins. It reduces labour cost and increases efficiency.

The system includes:

  1. carousel designed and built mainly to carry out spraying and painting operations;
  2. easy use which reduces labour cost and increases efficiency;
  3. spraying system including a spray gun which includes pump, pressure regulator and connection equipment;
  4. spraying booth type of ‘water curtain’ with a special filter where the overspray is elim- inated by the water curtain.

The Spraying and Brushing Booth (Yilmak, 2007f) is also designed and manufactured for spraying on jeans, jackets and shirts various chemicals such as chlorine derivatives, pigments and resins. The H1 106 Used Look machine is designed for dry fashion treatment by special brushing device and pattern (Yilmak, 2007g). With the adjustable pressure, different special worn effects can be obtained.

MACTEC

MACTEC, Italy, offers a wide range of washing equipment for denim garments (Mactec, 2013). The Margherita machine HD and Oven 2000 provides the path for 3D whiskers process in which 24 dummies are available in the Margherita machine. The ‘Icelite’ process makes use of carbon dioxide as a finishing agent to achieve sim- ilar effect as potassium permanganate spraying. In addition, the spray cabin system provided by MACTEC equips with weighing system to measure the exact quantity of resin sprayed on each part of denim garments.

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