Dotz was approached by a cleantech startup that has developed and manufactures a bio-based recyclable textile fiber. The company’s patented recycling technology enables blend separation and contaminant removal, transforming discarded textiles into 100% virgin fiber. As all textile fabrics consist of varying fiber compositions, in order to reclaim and repurpose the recyclable fiber, and for it to stand up to stringent fabric recyclability guidelines and regulations, the company needed a way to track its fiber through its lifecycle. Furthermore, the ability to offer full provenance authentication and raw material traceability to its customers, whether yarn or fabric producers or fashion brands, created a significant value proposition for the company.
The company’s key prerequisite was that any in-fiber marker would have to be seamlessly incorporated into the production process, without changing the fiber’s unique properties or altering the process.
The simple detection would have to be carried out on-site, at any point across the value chain, and in real time. The data would need to be automatically collected, aggregated, analysed, and presented through a user-friendly, cloud-based dashboard that generates insights and supports optimization.
The traceable and measurable Dotz marker is incorporated into the bio-renewable fiber – without altering its unique properties or those of the fabric. With the miniature mobile detector enabling on-site, real-time detection, the company can now prove provenance and enjoy the benefits of a fully traceable product.
After receiving a sample of the company’s polymer granules, the Dotz R&D team identified the correct marker for the challenge and adapted it to the specific requirements. As the fiber is only a few microns in diameter, with unique properties, the chosen marker’s particles size had to be reduced without altering its detectability when used in minimal quantities.
The new marker was produced in powder form, enabling simple integration into the fiber’s extrusion and molding process. To test the production process and properties of the marked fiber, a masterbatch was created and sent to the company for assessment. Once the fabric had been produced and dyed, the marker itself was also tested, in varying fabric fiber compositions and pigments, to ensure that it was still detectable by the Dotz detector, and that the percentage of bio-renewable fiber could be accurately determined. It passed with flying colors!
For the detection process, a miniature, hand-held detector was developed, specific to the in-fiber marker. Enabling deployment and simple detection across the value chain, the detector was linked to a mobile app that routes information from the device to a SaaS platform for collection, collaboration and a user-friendly presentation.
With the traceable and measurable Dotz marker incorporated into the bio-renewable fiber, without altering its unique properties or those of the fabric, and with the miniature mobile detector enabling on-site, real-time detection, the company can now prove provenance and enjoy the benefits of a fully traceable product. With the ability to track the fiber’s entire lifecycle from production to regeneration, the complete solution generates significant added value to the company’s yarn or fabric producer and clothing brand customers. For fashion brands, this means traceability, validation and accountability of the entire supply chain, as well as upholding (and leveraging) sustainability standards by ensuring their garments meet the targeted recyclability ratio.