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DuPont delivers cost effective, sustainable, enzyme-based innovation for the textiles industry

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DuPont is a science company dedicated to solving challenging global problems. DuPont scientists have brought transformative innovation to the global marketplace for over two centuries, making DuPont one of the most successful and sustained industrial enterprises in the world. Dr. Eric Choban, Global Business Leader, Textiles and Industrial Markets recently visited Bangladesh and sat down with Textile Focus to discuss different issues facing the industry:

 

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(from left) Dr. Eric Choban, Global Business Leader, Textiles and Industrial Markets, DuPont Industrial Biosciences; M A Islam Riyadh, Editor, Textile Focus

Textile Focus: Can you please brief on DuPont present business?

Eric: DuPont is a 215-year-old science company founded in Delaware, United States and recently merged with DOW Chemical to bring further innovation to the markets we serve around the globe. Relevant to Bangladesh, we offer a complete range of enzymatic textile processing solutions and Sorona®, a polyester biomaterial used in carpet, apparel, and automotive applications.

Textile Focus: How does DuPont develop the innovations and deliver them to the global industry?

Eric: One thing we are known for is listening closely to our customers.  We focus on this so we can develop a deep understanding of the markets we serve and keep our finger on the pulse of how those needs are changing over time.  This is the best way to apply our latest innovations in the laboratory to solve real world problems.  In fact, that is a big part of our work here in Bangladesh – meeting with customers (and future customers) to hear firsthand what is currently challenging their businesses.  We then translate our learnings into products at our applications laboratories and iterate in collaboration with our customers. I recently spent time in our Shanghai laboratory, reviewing some of our new products in development, and believe our industrial customers in Bangladesh will find these new offerings provide them with opportunities for cost and energy savings while improving performance.

Because innovation is at the heart of ours and our customers’ success, we are extremely vigilant when it comes to protecting these innovations in the global marketplace.  Doing so can be challenging, but we persist to ensure our customers get a return on their investment in quality products from DuPont. Counterfeit products can result in lower performance or a lack of consistency in performance which can hurt operations.

In July 2017, one of the companies involved in such counterfeit products, issued an apology in China for violating a patent which is licensed to DuPont for a textile neutral cellulase used for biofinishing of cotton.

We have seen multiple cases of infringement of our neutral cellulase technology and we continue to monitor and take action against violators. We also wish to make the textile industry aware of this issue as it is not befitting of great brands to source material produced using counterfeit technology.

Textile Focus: What are the strengths of DuPont as a company?

Eric: We recognize that higher performance alone is not enough in today’s textile industry.  Focusing on better performing, cost effective and sustainable products is what is required to get a business edge over competition.  Specifically, we’ve developed enzymes that help reduce energy and water use and provides sustainable alternatives to harsh chemicals. As an example, we offer PrimaGreen EcoScour, which allows processors to pre-treat cotton fabrics by eliminating caustic soda for selected shades or reduce it by as much as 50% for all other shades in addition reducing time, energy, and water usage.

Textile Focus: What about DuPont business in textile?

Eric: We have over 30 years of experience in enzymatic solutions for natural fiber textile applications.  This makes us a leader in the market with a track record of success.  It helps our customers feel comfortable working with us because they know we will be here for the long haul. We continue to develop high performing cost-effective products such as Primafast AC Plus our new acid cellulase product recently launched into the Bangladesh market.  This product is highly effective at bio-finishing in the low pH range (4.0 to 6.0). It also provides increased strength retention, minimized shade  change, and reduced weight loss vs. conventional acid cellulases. 

For the Bangladesh textile market, DuPont offers some functionalities that are totally unique in the industry, such as neutral pH pre-treatment which enables zero alkali pre-treatment resulting in saving in time, energy, water & better, higher quality of fabric.

In addition, we have a world class application development team, who brings scientific insights into textile applications. For instance, the team has developed a method to quantify subjective de-pilling or biofinishing which enables comparison of biofinishing efficiency.

Textile Focus: How do you see the issues like eco-friendly, sustainability, compliance etc. for the industry?

Eric:  Conventional textile processing uses many hazardous materials causing major damage to water resources in addition to being highly energy intensive. Consumers across the globe have evolved and demand textile processors adopt gentler & safer production technology. Consumers identify with and prefer brands which address their sustainability desires and employ ethical working practices.  As a leader in industrial biotechnology, DuPont is helping move the textiles industry toward long-term sustainability, using renewable enzyme products and environmentally progressive processes.

In Bangladesh, we are doing our part and have invested in PaCT (Partnership for Cleaner Textile), over the last 4 years. PaCT engages with leading global garment brands and many leading textile local companies. As a part of the partnership, we worked closely with one of our customers who adopted a full enzymatic process replacing the more conventional way of producing textiles.  The conversion resulted in the following:

  • Estimated water savings of up to 11 million liters/ year
  • Estimated reduction in steam use of up to 140,000 kg/year
  • Overall processing time was reduced by an hour
  • Drastic reduction in the use of caustic soda in pre-treatment as well as minimization of acid use
  • A substantial reduction of BOD of approximately 30% as well as COD in wastewater, thus reducing wastewater treatment.
  • The elimination of pilling, which in turn lowers friction and can ultimately contribute to a longer garment life by improving color retention and overall look and feel over time;
  • Improvements to fabric strength,
  • Reduction of fabric weight loss from around 8-10% to less than 5%;
  • Reduction in dyestuff usage
  • Reduced risks to workers in handling corrosive chemicals.

Textile Focus: How do you see Bangladesh textile market?

Eric: The textile industry is Bangladesh’s number one industry in export revenue and globally is only behind China in total textile exports.  The expectation is that Bangladesh’s role in the global textile market will only grow. Additionally, the textiles industry in Bangladesh has started to undergo a green transformation with producers adopting new technologies, including enzymatic solutions, and incorporating these values added environmentally sustainable solutions into their textile processing facilities. We look forward to doing our part to help the textile industry and to help Bangladesh’s role in this industry throughout the world.

 Textile Focus: Thank you!