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Xeros technology is being installed by a major denim manufacturer - a first step to greener jeans  Denim is arguably the world’s favourite fabric. Popularised by 19th century labourers requiring hard wearing garments, denim has been transformed from the original workman’s PPE to become a staple of the global fashion industry. Today, more than 1.2 billion pairs of jeans are sold every year. It’s thought the average woman has 7 pairs in her wardrobe, the average man, 6. But denim exacts a high toll on our environment. Every pair of jeans consumes a vast amounts of fresh water during production and manufacture. Harsh chemicals are used to produce fashionable looks like acid washes, generating harmful emissions, while the fabric itself releases microfibres into our oceans every time it’s washed. And because of this, the industry is under pressure to reduce the impact its products have on the environment. Thankfully, forward-thinking companies are working hard to change this, striving to produce denim in a more sustainable way. Two such companies, Ramsons Garment Finishing Equipments Ltd and ABA Group are valued partners of Xeros, adopting our sustainable technologies. Following a landmark deal between Ramsons and ABA, jeans made in Bangladesh and supplied to brands like H&M, Zara and America Eagle, will be made using our sustainable technologies, dramatically reducing their environmental footprint. Why Xeros? Having proven that our XOrb™ and XDrum™ technology can dramatically reduce water, chemistry and energy use, and lower emissions in laundry, we turned our attention to developing solutions for apparel manufacturing. Making clothes is a complicated business that involves many distinct and specialist techniques. But one common process that is used repeatedly in factories, is washing. Before finished garments can be shipped to stores around the world, the fabrics made to use them, and the finished garments themselves, are washed many times. Washing processes are also used in applying certain textile finishes. This is particularly important when it comes to denim. Raw denim is hard and stiff. But by applying special finishes, it is softened and made comfortable to wear and, crucially, achieves the all-important looks that consumers love. The most common of these is Stone Washing. Many of you will remember Levi’s TV commercial from the 1980s when a young man walks into an American laundrette, strips to put his jeans in the drum before tipping in a bag of stones. The classic stonewash look is achieved by washing jeans with lots and lots of stones. Pumice stone to be exact. All of which degrades to a sludge after just three or four washes and must be manually disposed of. XOrbs can be used to achieve the same stonewash effect, but without using stones, using around 75% less water, less chemistry and less energy. So, just as our technologies reduce the environmental impact of laundry, they can significantly improve sustainability in denim finishing. These were just some of the factors that convinced Ramsons and ABA of the benefits of Xeros technologies. WHY ABA? ABA Group is one of the largest manufacturers of finished garments in Bangladesh supplying many of our most familiar fashion brands. It makes 45 million garments every year and 70% of those are denim. It has long advocated sustainable processes and has already taken giant steps to improve environmental performance. Four of its manufacturing facilities are certified by the US Green Building Council as compliant with ‘LEED’ (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design). And to date the company has made water savings of 53%, energy savings of 46% and reduced its carbon footprint by 45%. The addition of Xeros technologies offers ABA even greater scope to improve these figures – and produce outstanding denim! Sunder Belani, Managing Director of Ramson said: “Xeros technologies were one of the principle reasons for ABA Group selecting Ramsons to equip their new denim finishing operation. “As one of the largest apparel manufacturers in Bangladesh, supplying global leaders in the fashion industry, ABA operates to the highest environmental standards.” SECURING THE DEAL For several months we have been producing sample products for ABA to demonstrate that we can deliver garments to the high quality required by ABA’s clients. This wasn’t easy during lockdown! Normally, our teams work side by side with our partners to ensure everything runs smoothly. This time however, working with Ramsons, which has the exclusive rights to use and distribute Xeros technologies in South Asia, and ABA, we managed to achieve the same thing, virtually. Thank goodness for Zoom! One of the samples we were asked to produce was a high fade / bleaching effect, like that sought by the leading High Street brands they supply. Historically, ABA has used a multi-stage, multi-machine process that involves pumice, abrasion, washing, bleaching, ozone, and acid washing. Not only were we able match the quality of the samples using our technologies, but we could complete the whole process in a single Ramsons machine, using significantly less water, energy and chemistry – reducing effluent emissions, saving time, improving productivity and reducing costs. The result is that ABA will install 9 Xeros-enabled Ramsons denim finishing machines in a brand-new ABA facility. Eight of the machines are 5,000 litre capacity each able to process up to 300 pairs of jeans at a time. GIANT STEPS The deal with ABA is an important step for us at Xeros. It marks the first time that our sustainable technologies will be used in the supply chains of the world’s leading fashion brands. It demonstrates too, to companies across the apparel manufacturing industry, that technologies exist that can help them meet, and go beyond, tough environmental and quality standards required by legislators and consumers alike. The order with ABA Group is a first step for Xeros into garment manufacturing. But it will be the first of many that help us take a giant step towards achieving more sustainable clothing for all. If you would like to find out more about how we are applying our technologies in the apparel sector, or if you are a garment manufacturer looking for sustainable solutions, please get in touch using our contact form. Mike Ferrand Managing Director, Commercial Products     [Sustainability, Case Studies, Apparel, Xeros Technologies, Blog, Commercial Progress]

Mike Ferrand: How Xeros Is Making Your Blue Jeans, Green

Xeros technology is being installed by a major denim manufacturer - a first step to greener jeans ...
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As water shortages become more common around the world, the laundry industry is under pressure to reduce consumption of this precious resource and generally minimise its environmental impact. As water shortages become more common around the world, the laundry industry is under pressure to reduce consumption of this precious resource and generally minimise its environmental impact. When Johannesburg native Charl de Beer moved back to South Africa, he started a company aiming to rent out freshly laundered linens to the 18,000 Airbnb hosts in Cape Town. But then Cape Town experienced a water shortage crisis that threatened his business - his water costs quadrupled in a year. "If you're a business, that's catastrophic," he says. Fortunately for him he came across a new technology - polymer beads to replace water - that could apparently reduce the amount of water laundry uses by up to 80%. British tech firm Xeros had started selling these specially designed washing machines, under the name Hydrofinity, on the back of scientific research from the UK's University of Leeds. Nylon polymers "have an inherent polarity that attracts stains" and can replace most water in a laundry cycle, says Stephen Burkinshaw, chair of textile chemistry at the university. After you put in your laundry, the drum adds about 23,000 small recyclable polymer spheres - which the company calls XOrbs - with a total weight around 6kg, plus a cup of water and detergent. The spheres absorb the stains, then get collected through the drum, and afterwards are stored behind it to be reused next time. The household machine uses 50% less water than a conventional washing machine, while the commercial version, which uses 70,000 spheres weighing 20kg, uses 80% less. Mr de Beer offered to distribute their washing machines in South Africa, just so he could buy them himself. A single industrial-sized 25kg machine running 14 cycles a day can save two million litres of water each year, he says. And "in Cape Town, that saves 177,500 rand (£9,641; $12,547)". Washing machine makers can integrate the technology "very, very simply" into their products, says Mark Nichols, chief executive of Xeros Technology Group. Xeros is currently working on licensing its technology to seven global washing machine makers, Mr Nichols says, and its machines are being adopted by hotels in dry countries such as the United Arab Emirates. Water intensive sectors - think hotels, hospitals, caterers that do a lot of laundry - have been keen to cut their consumption for many years. For example, California-based Mission Linen Supply, a uniforms and linen services company, says it saved 141 million gallons of water in 2017, earning it a "Water Hero" award from the drought-affected City of Santa Barbara. During a busy week in the summer months the business can process up to 77,000kg of uniforms, towels and linens, the company says, making water saving a prime business, as well as environmental, objective. Over the years it has refined a system for recycling and reusing rinse water, reducing consumption to roughly half that of a typical domestic washing machine. The company also treats the waste water before sending it back into the city supply. Meanwhile, other companies are developing ways to clean clothes with hardly any water at all. Consumer goods giant Unilever, for example, has produced a spray called Day2 that works like dry shampoo, designed to refresh those clothes that lie around on the floor on on the back of a chair but aren't really that dirty at all. It won't work for muddy socks, says Clare Dolan, Unilever's chief executive for Day2 and global water innovation director, but for shirts, say, "it eats odours, leaves fibres soft, smooths out the wrinkles, and freshen clothes to wear again, without washing them". One bottle of the spray can save 60 litres of water, she says. And Swiss start-up Dolfi has come up with a device that cleans delicate fabrics using ultrasound to agitate a small amount of water and detergent. Despite its misleading name, the dry cleaning industry also uses a lot of water - used in the form of steam - not to mention potential carcinogens like the solvent perchloroethylene, or perc for short. But in the last five years, technological improvements have meant water and biodegradable detergents and conditioners can clean "dry clean only" garments made from wool, silk, or suede, says Nick Harris, managing director of VClean Life. VClean recently launched a "wet cleaning" factory in Watford, Hertfordshire, that "weighs clothes and works out exactly how much water is necessary", says Mr Harris. And the boiler water used to make steam is recycled. Dry cleaning is more efficient with larger loads, says Mr Harris, so it will be cheaper for small family-owned dry cleaners to send garments to a large factory like his than to clean them themselves. VClean plans to launch 24-hour "drop off and collect" vending machines throughout London. Back in Cape Town, tourists are becoming "more and more discerning" about whether places they visit "are good stewards of the environment," says Mr de Beer. So hotels and restaurants that don't find new ways to conserve water in areas that are running dry may find their businesses being recycled. This story was first published on BBC News 5.10.18 - https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-45711230 [Case Studies, Xeros Technologies, Blog]

Why the laundry industry is in a spin to save water

As water shortages become more common around the world, the laundry industry is under pressure to...
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