Selected Important News of the past weeks (Part 3)


How to do more with less explored at Kingpins24 Flash

Major Monforts denim customers continue to pioneer new initiatives that are pushing the boundaries of sustainable production.

Recycling their cotton waste has become one way these companies can do more with less, and at the recent Kingpins24 Flash online event, Sedef Uncu Aki, director of Orta, headquartered in Istanbul, Turkey, announced a new partnership with leading recycling operation Gama Recycle.

Proprietary robotics for garment finishing at AGI Denim.


“Through this local partnership we will supply the waste from our spinning mills and return around 3000 tons of premium quality cotton back to them,” she said. “We have established a truly controlled and traceable system and partnering with a domestic recycling centre is important because a lot the carbon emissions associated with recycling usually come from transportation.”

Orta’s ZeroMax range meanwhile uses no cotton at all, being based on Lenzing’s Tencel cellulosic fibre, while the company’s involvement in denim production for a recent launch by Levi Strauss, of jeans made with organic cotton and Circulose – a breakthrough material developed by re:newcell of Sweden and partners – was hailed as a further step forward.

To make Circulose, re:newcell repurposes discarded cotton textiles, such as worn-out denim jeans, through a process akin to recycling paper. The incoming waste fabrics are broken down using water. The colour is then stripped from these materials using an eco-friendly bleach and after any synthetic fibres are removed from the mix, the slurry-like mixture is dried and the excess water is extracted, leaving behind a sheet of Circulose. This sheet is then made into viscose fibre which is combined with cotton and woven into new fabrics.

Circular Park

Omer Ahmed, CEO of Artistic Milliners also announced plans for his company’s new 70,000 square-foot Circular Park in Karachi, Pakistan, at Kingpins24 Flash.

Spinning operation at Artistic Milliners in Karachi, where the new 70000 square-foot Circular Park for recycling yarn and fabric waste is being planned. Image courtesy of Artistic Milliners.

Once complete, this will add three million square metres of additional denim capacity a month to the company’s production and take its total recycled output to a monthly five million metres.

Ahmed observed that there is currently a lack of sustainable fibres that are readily available to use for denim production at scale.

“Organic cotton is too expensive, and in my opinion always will be,” he said. “Cottonised hemp is also not cheap and it’s hard to mix with cotton, while the new regenerated cellulose fibres that are now emerging are promising, but currently in short supply. Recycled polyester is meanwhile still based on petroleum resources which we want to move away from. As a consequence, there are only a few other options for us as a manufacturer and this new project will help us minimise our own waste while significantly lowering our carbon footprint.”

Other Monforts denim customers to introduce cotton fibre recycling operations at their plants recently include AGI Denim, Bossa and Soorty.

Vertical savings

Refresh is the name of the latest collection from AGI Denim – reflecting the company’s significant reduction in water consumption.

AGI Denim now recycles 4.4 million gallons of water each month as a result of its new wastewater treatment plant.

The company has just opened new fibre spinning and denim mills at its complex in Karachi, Pakistan.

“Over the years we’ve gone through a series of backward integration steps to become fully vertical,” said AGI Denim executive director Ahmed Javed, at Kingpins24 Flash. “In our latest expansion, we revisited every step of the production processes in order to make resource savings.”

Innovations have included the installation of proprietary robotics for garment finishing, but the most attention has been paid to water savings.

“Pakistan is one of the largest cotton-producing companies in the world and we’re fortunate that the type of cotton that is grown here is well suited to denim production and also helps us lower our carbon footprint, with everything done in close proximity,” Javed said. “In the lifecycle of a pair of denim jeans, however, cotton fibre production contributes 68 % of water consumption. While we cannot control how much water cotton needs for it to grow, we can rethink the way we use it in our factory.”

Monforts has a leading position in the field of denim finishing with its well proven Thermex continuous dyeing systems, Montex stenter dryers and other lines for resource-efficient and economical processing.

Refresh-branded denims are washed from 100% recycled water as a result of the company’s new wastewater treatment plant, which puts production wastewater through a series of steps beginning with equalisation, followed by aeration and concluding with sedimentation. The water travels through filtration and ultrafiltration systems before being subjected to an activated carbon system and finally a reverse osmosis system to reduce any dissolved salts.

AGI now recycles 4.4 million gallons of water each month – enough to wash a million pairs of jeans.


Monforts has a leading position in the field of denim finishing with its well proven Thermex continuous dyeing systems, Montex stenter dryers and other lines for resource-efficient and economical processing.

Hans Wroblowski, Monforts Head of Denim

“Our denim partners are constantly setting themselves new goals in respect of sustainable production – and more importantly, achieving them,” says Hans Wroblowski, Monforts Head of Denim. “We work closely with them with the aim of constantly optimising processing parameters and achieving further savings in energy, water and raw materials throughout the dyeing and finishing stages of production.”

The latest Monforts innovation for denim is the CYD yarn dyeing system. This technology is based on the effective and established dyeing process for denim fabrics that is now being applied for yarn dyeing.

The CYD system integrates new functions and processes into the weaving preparation processes to increase quality, flexibility, economic viability and productivity.

A full CYD line is now available for trials at the company’s Advanced Technology Centre in Mönchengladbach, Germany.”

Digital Printing

JEKA Studio Upgrades Kornit Digital DTG Capabilities, sees increased Orders

Digital could fulfil orders quickly, with very little waste and low cost per print—and Kornit Digital offered the best technology on the market.

Kornit Digital (Nasdaq: KRNT), a worldwide market leader in digital textile printing technology, announced Bratislava, Slovakia-based JEKA Studio has upgraded its Kornit Digital technology for single-step, digital direct-to-garment (DTG) production on demand, resulting in clear efficiency and bottom-line benefits for the textile services provider.

JEKA Studio produces a variety of production services for agencies, e-commerce businesses, and end consumers, spanning various quantities. In addition to digital DTG production, they offer offset printing, large-format digital printing, screen printing, sublimation, embroidery, and other services.

Having installed the Kornit Storm HD6 system with scentless fixation and eco-friendly NeoPigment inks, the business is able to produce garments at a 30 % faster rate, while higher-quality impressions have delivered an increase in orders.

“Like many screen printers, we added digital textile print because it could fulfill orders quickly, with very little waste and low cost per print,” says Michal Krásnohorský, Owner at JEKA Studio. “Kornit Digital offered the best digital print technology on the market, and now the increased color gamut and retail quality has helped us grow our customer base, giving us reason to believe in future expansions.”

“It’s very common for commercial and screen printers to supplement their services with direct-to-garment, which offers immediate production on many fabrics, with unlimited graphic capabilities and a consistently low cost per print, in any quantity,” says Chris Govier, KDEU Managing Director. “JEKA Studio demonstrates how Kornit’s customers continue to grow and expand their capabilities as we continuously develop our systems, and continue to meet the demands of today’s web-driven, see-now-buy-now consumer mentality.”

Kornit Digital (NASDAQ:KRNT) develops, manufactures and markets industrial digital printing technologies for the garment, apparel and textile industries. Kornit delivers complete solutions, including digital printing systems, inks, consumables, software and after-sales support. Leading the digital direct-to-garment printing market with its exclusive eco-friendly NeoPigment printing process, Kornit caters directly to the changing needs of the textile printing value chain. Kornit’s technology enables innovative business models based on web-to-print, on-demand and mass customization concepts. With its immense experience in the direct-to-garment market, Kornit also offers a revolutionary approach to the roll-to-roll textile printing industry: Digitally printing with a single ink set onto multiple types of fabric with no additional finishing processes. Founded in 2003, Kornit Digital is a global company, headquartered in Israel with offices in the USA, Europe and Asia Pacific, and serves customers in more than 100 countries worldwide.


Transparent electronics  – The invisible keyhole Electronics

By guest author Andxrea Six from Swiss Empa

Hard times for burglars and safecrackers: Empa researchers have developed an invisible “keyhole” made of printed, transparent electronics. Only authorized persons know where to enter the access code.

At first glance, Empa researcher Evgeniia Gilshtein’s idea seems inconspicuous – or more precisely, invisible. What initially looks like a simple transparent film conceals a whole new level of security. Invisible buttons are printed with conductive ink on the transparent carrier material, the position of which is known only to insiders. Such circuits can be connected to a door lock as an access code, for instance. If the buttons on the polymer film are pressed in the correct order, the door opens.

Related video

Conductive secret ink

A research team at Empa’s “Thin Films and Photovoltaics” lab in Dübendorf, where Evgeniia Gilshtein works, has previously succeeded in printing electronic circuits and sensors on polymer films. Together with researchers from the Paul Scherrer Institute (PSI) and EPFL, they applied thin-film transistors to paper and PET films within the FOXIP research project (short for “Functional OXIdes Printed on Polymers and Paper”).

To do this, the team uses transparent conductive metal oxides (TCO). The conductive ink can be applied onto a surface using an inkjet printer, for example. “Of course, we don’t use ordinary office printers for this, but the highly specialized equipment at Empa’s Coating Competence Center,” says Ghilshtein. After all, the precision with which the electronics are printed is in the micrometre range.

An elegant detour

Now the transparent security film is being used to advance one of many potential future applications of the technology. “What was most important to us was that the film’s additive manufacturing process could also be used on an industrial scale,” Gilshtein says. The invisible door lock could be used in banks or hospitals, for example, but also for private homes.

To make the metal-containing nanoparticle ink more transparent and conductive than conventional products, the researchers used an elegant detour in the production process: After the circuits were printed on the carrier foil, the foil was dyed blue. Since the blue ink, unlike a transparent film, can absorb light, this now enables the ink to be “burned” onto the substrate, using high-energy light irradiation. In the process, not only does the blue color disappear, but the “secret ink” made of indium tin oxide becomes invisible in the same step. “The result is printed circuits that have significantly higher conductivity than previous solutions,” says the Empa researcher.

The sensor surfaces cannot be seen by the human eye and can be positioned in suitable locations, such as above a door hinge. Says Gilshtein, “But the circuits can just as easily be positioned on a pane of glass or a curved door handle.” The film is also coupled with a display that shows whether the code was entered correctly. Thanks to the comparatively simple printing process, the number of sensors can be increased almost at will.

A competence centre for coatings

Closing the gap between laboratory research and industrial production for coatings – that is the goal of Empa’s Coating Competence Center (CCC). Research is conducted not only on printed electronics, but also on materials, processes and technologies for coatings in general, as well as on additive manufacturing (AM) methods, in which components are built up layer by layer. The CCC is structured as a private-public partnership (PPP). The idea is that all partners along the entire value chain, from academia to industry, work together to develop new technologies and find creative solutions. The center is open for collaborations for partners from industry and research.

Public jury: Your vote is required!

Empa’s new technology for printed electronics is currently a finalist in the OE-A-Competition 2021: Empa researcher Evgeniia Gilshtein has already been able to present her transparent safety system to the expert jury at the competition organized by the international industry association Organic and Printed Electronics Association. The annual competition honors innovations, prototypes and designs in the field of flexible, organic and printed electronics. As of 18 March 2021, voting is open to the public. Here you can support the Empa researcher and her project until 25 March with your vote. So please vote!!!


The Transistor out of the Printer ; Media release Sept. 2020
Empa’s Coating Competence Center
Empa’s Printed Electronics Team

The project was funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) (project number IZ-LCZ2_170276 / 1).