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Enzymatic Solution to Pilling Problem in Textiles

Pilling is a major problem in Textile and Apparel manufacturing. Pilling is defined as the tendency of fibers to work loose from a surface and form balled or matted particles that remain attached to the surface of the fabric. For the end consumer, it affects fabric aesthetics and comfort. For the manufacturer, fabric pilling is a headache that affects the appearance and wearability of finished apparels. It turns out that pilling is a complex phenomenon comprised of multiple stages that progressively accelerate the rate of fiber removal from the yarn structure, thus shortening the life span of garments and other textile products. Pilling is particularly problematic for knitted fabrics. At the same time, knitted fabrics have several advantages over woven fabrics, such as higher production rates, lower production costs and softer fabric structures. Still, the pilling problem that results from the slack fabric structure remains a significant objection. Essentially there are a number of methods to reduce pilling in commercial use. One approach is to apply surface active agents, like a polymeric coating that binds fibers to the fabric surface. These are often friction reducing lubricants, such as acrylic copolymers. Shearing and Singeing are common methods used to produce a clean, smooth surface on fabrics. Singeing, in particular has the very real potential to scorch the fabric surface. The down side of surface active agents include a reduction in hydrophilicity and the gradual loss of the agent after a few washes, which eventually makes fabrics harsh and fuzzy.

Enzymatic removal of fuzz is carried out under milder conditions and is absolutely safe, efficient and permanent. Cellulose enzymes give fabrics a clear, even surface appearance. They reduce the tendency to pill and improve softness, especially when compared to traditional softeners. More importantly, they accomplish this without polluting the environment. As a result, Cellulases are increasingly being applied to textile finishing. They are widely used to remove fibrils and fuzz fibers from cotton fabrics, or to produce a “stone-washed” look in denim garments. However, there is some loss of tensile strength with cellulase enzymes.

Advanced Enzyme Technologies offer Addscour LPP and Addscour PCLP – Bio-scouring enzymes for complete removal of pectin, oil, wax & dirt from raw cotton, under caustic-free or low caustic conditions during the scouring process. SEBrite is a very unique product used for biopolishing of cotton fabrics.


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