What became of ….?
In 2017, the Swedish firm Coloreel won the Texprocess Innovation Award in the ‘New Technology’ category for their instant-dyeing process for textile yarns used in industrial embroidery. How bright and colourful has life been, then, for the innovative Swedish company in the two years since then?
Colourful. More colourful. Chameleon-like. Whilst humans are restricted to the colourful costumes of carnival week, once a year, this colourful reptile can celebrate in colourful splendour 365 days a year. Scientists now believe that nanocrystals are what is behind the chameleon’s changes of colour.
No wonder that the Swedish company, Coloreel, have adopted this little creature, renowned for its magical ability to change colour, as their company logo: since 2009 they have been developing an instant-dyeing method, which is set to revolutionise industrial embroidery as, for the first time ever, this process enables yarns to be coloured in real time.
You only need to colour the yarn that you need
Background: embroidery is the exquisite art of decorating – often very colourfully – its background material, including materials like textiles or leather. To do this, modern embroidery machines have up to 16 threads on the go, which can be used to decorate dresses, T-shirts, shoes, caps, pullovers, trousers, school uniforms and home textiles. At the same time, it is coloured threads (blue, red, yellow etc.) that are mostly used, so as to create the desired embroidered pattern with the resultant mix.
The Coloreel approach is completely different: it uses just one roll of yarn per embroidery head. This roll has white thread on it, which is dyed in real time only when it is used in the embroidery process. “Instead of using (wasting!) hundreds and thousands of spools of yarn, we colour only the yarn that we really need,” says David Borg, Digital Communicator at Coloreel.
Texprocess Innovation Award a milestone
An important milestone in the nine-year development, says Borg, was winning the Texprocess Innovation Award 2017: “It not only boosted our self-confidence, it also opened doors for some amazing partnerships.” As a result, the attention of potential customers, media representatives and, most importantly, also of potential investors was drawn to this technology company from Jönköping.
In September 2018, the first operational yarn-dyeing equipment was presented at Avantex in Paris – a trade fair for high-tech textile technology. According to marketing man, Borg, embroidered goods producers, designers and manufacturers of sport, lifestyle and haute couture fashionwear had something of a field day at the Coloreel stand: “The response was unbelievable; we had a huge number of enquiries from potential buyers.” Shortly afterwards, Coloreel won the SKAPA Prize – which attracts a cash sum of SEK 500,000 (about € 48,000) – one of Sweden’s best known and most prestigious innovation awards, founded in memory of Alfred Nobel.
“We’ll see what we are going to revolutionise next”
Currently, the Coloreel unit is on the point of final completion and the first machines are due to be delivered in 2019. If what the Coloreel people are telling us all goes according to plan, the yarn-dyeing unit is set to conquer the European market first, subsequently going on to provide colourful embroidery across the USA and Asia. And then what? ”Then we’ll have a look and see which other textile sectors we are going to revolutionise next with our technology,” says Borg. But he is serious! The innovative approach to dyeing yarn should, for instance, allow wovens and sewn material to be coloured more efficiently.
You can, moreover, get to know the colourful group of diverse people at Coloreel, including embroidery experts, software developers and data and electronics engineers, as well as mechanical engineers and chemists, at the upcoming Texprocess (14 -17 May, Frankfurt/Main). The Texprocess Innovation Award will again be conferred for outstanding, innovative technologies, techniques and procedures for processing textiles and flexible materials.
Title image source: Coloreel