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  • Emerging trends in textile processing
    The processing sector is undoubtedly the most significant stage in the textile value chain. C.N. Sivaramakrishnan discusses the technologies that are contributing to more sustainable processing.

    The Indian textile industry is as diverse as the country is and as complex an entity. There is an organised, decentralised sector and down the line, there are weavers, artisans as well as the farmers. The spectrum of technology is widespread, right from handmade to semi-mechanical and highly sophisticated information- and micro-processor based technologies. The processing sector is undoubtedly the most significant stage in the value chain contributing to the end user an array of properties like easy care and wrinkle free finishes besides aesthetic value addition in terms of colours, motifs and designs. The value addition at this stage is often manifold, with a range of other functional finishes like hydrophilic, stretch-back effect, oil and water repellant, and peace effect, to name a few. Specialty chemicals have played a significant role in the production of fibres and textiles. Awareness of chemical reactions, polymer sciences and understanding complex biochemical reactions have resulted in what we see as a dramatic shift in the minds of a processor.

    The tools available to a processor today are plenty and technological positioning of ideas from other streams of sciences converts a modern day scientist into a virtual magician, especially when it comes to polymers. Fibre blends bring in a series of substrates available for any type of application including routine clothing to exotic spacewear suits. Filament or staple yarn properties can be enhanced to get synergistic updates with several available techniques.

    Textile manufacturing begins with the production or harvest of raw material. Fibre used in textiles can be harvested from natural sources like wool and cotton or manufactured from regenerative cellulosic materials like rayon acetate or they can be entirely synthetic like polyester and nylon. After the raw, natural or manufactured fibres are shipped from the farm or the chemical plant, they pass through four main stages: yarn production, fabric production, finishing and fabrication...