WASHINGTON — RevoLaze LLC, an Ohio-based laser-technology firm, has joined forces with an Austrian chemical research company to commercialize a new eco-friendly denim finishing process that gives fabric a distressed look.
RevoLaze is partnering with Acticell GmbH to eliminate what they consider a hazardous process of using potassium permanganate spray in the denim industry.
Acticell was behind the original concept. In collaboration with RevoLaze, the companies have tested and created a nonhazardous chemical and laser treatment in the form of a spray for denim garments that replicates the same look as potassium permanganate spray. The treatment is said to eliminate the neutralizing step in the process, as well as the need for hand sand touch ups.
The companies said the intensity of laser usage has also been lessened, which results in a “major increase” in production per laser machine. They also noted that the costs are competitive with the PP spray.
“Major denim companies in the U.S., Mexico, India and China have been able to successfully replicate original standards from several top denim brands,” said Christian Schimper, chief executive officer of Acticell. “This chemical has already proven to be a significant advancement in the industry and to our knowledge, the only one that is truly 100 percent eco-friendly. We look forward to the worldwide launch and working together with the entire denim community to produce sustainable garments.”
Darryl Costin Jr., president of RevoLaze, said the technical “breakthrough” will be a “complete game-changer” in the denim industry.
“For the past several years, it has been a top initiative among both denim brands and manufacturers to find a solution to one of the industry’s biggest environmental issues in denim finishing,” he said. “This is a 100 percent safe Green solution and we’re very excited to be a part of it.”
He also noted that by eliminating PP spray, while achieving increased laser production, will benefit the entire supply chain.
“And because of the reduced laser intensity required with the new nonhazardous chemical, laser abrasion will now be more suitable for denim with polyester, Lycra and other synthetic fibers,” Costin said.
A test run for the process has been set up at Mexican-based denim manufacturer SingleSource Apparel, which will work on proving the technology, according to the companies.
According to RevoLaze and Acticell, SingleSource has already been successful with changing multiple denim finishes from the PP spray to their technology for a major customer.
“Virtually the entire industry is seeking an alternative to the use of potassium permanganate or sodium permanganate in garment finishing,” said Gary Coleman, president of SingleSource. “Our company is working in concert with RevoLaze and Acticell to achieve the same or similar aesthetics on denim products while eliminating the use of harmful chemicals.”
Coleman said his company was one of the first manufacturers to license laser etching and finishing from RevoLaze.
“We see this as the next major initiative to improve conditions for garment industry employees and the environment,” he added.
The two companies have applied for several patent applications and said they plan to showcase their technology for commercial use in the near future through chemical distributors.