Partnership between Canepa and Italdenim

Industrialization of the SAVEtheWATER® process for denim

After signing a licensing agreement with Canepa, Italdenim has industrialized the SAVEtheWATER® process, which prevents harmful substances from being released into the environment and dramatically reduces water consumption for the production of thread for textiles. Italdenim’s CEO, Gigi Caccia, expressed great satisfaction after embarking on a new challenge to improve the environmental sustainability of denim production using the innovative industrial process patented by Canepa.

How did this agreement with Canepa come about?
“I heard about the project during a conference featuring Alfonso Saibene Canepa, Director of Supply Chain and Sustainability of the Canepa Group. It struck me as an extremely interesting idea to use chitosan in the production stage and I immediately asked whether I could carry out some tests with my products. After some initial experiments on traditional threads at the Tessitura del Salento, and a test on denim at our company, we gradually realised the enormous potential of the patent both in terms of qualitative efficiency and sustainability thanks to the elimination of harmful chemical products during the production stages. In this way, we created a modern and environmentally-sustainable product which is able to satisfy the demands of the clients”.

What results have been achieved so far?
“We have managed to save up to 60% water – even rising to 80% at times - compared to the traditional process and up to 40-50% energy through heat and electricity savings. We have totally eliminated the use of chemical products such as polyvinyl alcohol (PVA), a product which generates microplastics that do not break down and therefore accumulate when released and harm the environment. We have also removed fixatives, the extremely aggressive substances which help to bind the colour with the fibres. Finally, we have reduced the amount of colorant. This was possible because chitosan increases the product’s ability to hold colour. It amounts to a reduction of between 10%-20%, and varies depending on the type of product. For instance, with a darker item which requires more colour, the saving is greater”.

What impact has it had on the company’s finances?
“We have slashed energy costs as well as expenses arising from the water purification. Every day, we are finding out new things about chitosan and the improvements it can bring. The advantage of chitosan also lies in its ability to be used in all types of product, in both heavy and light textiles. Moreover, it has enabled us to eliminate acrylic resins which contain traces of formaldehyde: a significant feature when the textile is in contact with the skin. Furthermore, chitosan protects the textile from microbes, bacteria and mites. So what is our goal? We currently use this substance for between 50%-55% of our production, but in 2016 we hope to push this figure to 100%”.


Published on 15 September 2015

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