From its origins, Canepa has placed man and the environment at the centre of its Charter of Values. For years, the owners, researchers and technicians have had the primary objective of achieving absolute quality with minimum environmental impact. This has led the company to create CanepaEvolution, the research and development department of the group.
For Canepa, water and saving water has always been the primary objective and never secondary to profits. Industry in general, and the textile industry particularly, has always been a major and often, polluting, consumer of water. Canepa, thanks to the patented innovations developed by CanepaEvolution, has for years produced textiles using exclusive processes which have reduced the consumption of water and energy by nearly 90%, in addition to lowering CO2 emissions and eliminating harmful substances. The reduced quantity of water used in the production and refinement of textiles is the key aim of the SAVEtheWATER® project. To achieve savings which soon will reach over 70% compared to traditional production and finishing methods, the company has developed and patented, together with the laboratories of CNR-Ismac of Biella - Kitotex®, an innovative organic and biodegradable material to be used in the process of preparing yarns for weaving. But that is not all. Canepa has always dedicated special attention to the processing of silk for ties: another patent of the SAVEtheWATER® project, developed and industrialized together with Tinteco, allows for the finishing of silk destined for ties with a considerably lower environmental impact and use of resources compared to the prior process. The Canepa patent allows the elimination of methacrylamide substituting it with a non-toxic biocompatible substance whose polymer is also approved by the American Food & Drug Administration.
Comparing the SAVEtheWATER® - Kitotex® process with the known techniques, shows that the yield of silk treated in Canepa is 100% compared to 80%. The duration of loading and dyeing is four hours compared to seven using the prior art, the use of water per kilogram of silk is 85 litres compared to 131 litres and the number of water cycles is six versus nine. Overall, this innovative process allows a water and energy savings equal to 40% with a consequent 40% reduction of CO2 emissions. A major improvement on a universal level and makes Canepa ties a source of pride, not only for the style per se, but above all because they have become synonymous with ethics.
Sometimes all one need do is to change one element of an overall process to achieve amazing results.
CanepaEvolution, in collaboration with CNR-Ismac laboratories, has developed and patented (filed under patent number IT 148122) an innovative new technology capable of revolutionising the world of textiles and fabrics, in particular textile finishing.
By recycling the exoskeleton of crustaceans, a waste by-product of the food industry, one obtains “chitosan”, a biodegradable substance that can replace PVA and acrylic resin for both water dispersion (sizing) and reinforcing yarn. The use of chitosan results in a substantial benefit to the environment.
Its use, in fact, allows a reduction in water consumption of up to 12 times and a 90% reduction in energy consumption (CNR Biella certification). Furthermore, there is a reduction in the use of detergents, whiteners and other chemical agents, all to the advantage of consumer health and the environment.
By applying chitosan across the whole production chain, CanepaEvolution has changed the process of yarn and fabric production as part of a sustainable environment, creating significant improvements for both end-products and finishing procedures.
Traditional sizing processes use the sizing agent PVA and acrylic resin to render yarn more resistant and easier to work with. For the superlight fabric cashmere, the so-called “preliminary work” involves entwining a thread of PVA with a cashmere thread to strengthen it. the PVA is then removed with hot water in the final stages of the finishing process.
During weaving, standard procedures then require the use of antistatic oils. With chitosan, not only do you not need to add any further substances, but the thread is also more resilient, with fewer problems regarding peeling and anti-static, thus improving the performance of looms which have fewer stops while producing fabrics of the highest quality.
Finishing, which consists of both preparation and actual finishing, is a phase that has always had a strong impact on the environment, involving a high consumption of hot water and chemicals. Thanks to the use of chitosan, we can avoid using large volumes of water and instead remove these chemical agents to obtain natural anti-pilling and an incredible degree of dimensional stability.
The development of the Kitotex processes is excitingly pushing the industry towards a new era of textile finishing. Canepa has already begun sizeable studies, testing and deployment of industrial processes alongside leading companies in the textile field that are especially focussed on research, innovation and eco-sustainability. While preliminary work requires washing the fabrics at 70-80 °C and a large amount of water to remove the PVA, the Kitotex method allows for washing at 30-40 degrees without the use of chemical agents, reducing the consumption of water and energy by up to 95% (certified data from CNR_Biella labs). Also, thanks to the natural ability of chitosan to bind dyes, it reduces the consumption of these and dramatically cuts the use of detergents, bleaches and other chemicals normally used during standard processing. In addition to the high savings of water and energy and the elimination of harmful substances, the textiles naturally acquire a number of characteristics that are especially important for the world of furnishing fabrics and textile accessories – such as carpets, curtains and sheets. Further, these offer excellent benefits to the health of consumers, such as: bacteriostatic properties (which prevent the dangerous proliferation of bacteria), anti-static and anti-mite effects, important in improving hygiene and preventing allergenic dust. These characteristics have caught the interest of the Italian armed forces for fabrics treated with chitosan by Canepa. In November 2014, the company and the military launched a comparison test to verify the compliance of tissues SAVEtheWATER® - Kitotex® with the needs of the Army. The bacteriostatic activity of fabric treated with Kitotex® results in a benefit to the epidermis, in addition to limiting the unpleasant effects of perspiration. In addition, it prevents certain allergies due to dust mites that thrive in warm, moist environments.
The SAVEtheWATER® - Kitotex® project was developed in the plant located in Melpignano (LE) together with Tessitura del Salento Industriale s.r.l., as a result of a contract entered into with the Region of Puglia. The textiles carrying the SAVEtheWATER® and Kitotex® trademarks are in the process of certification by Bureau Veritas and produced in conformity with the commitment made to the Greenpeace DETOX protocol. The absence of substances hazardous to health is also certified by the Associazione Tessile e Salute. The results regarding the consumption of water and temperature are certified by CNR and INRIM. Less water wasted, less energy used, the elimination of toxic chemical substances, higher quality for a cleaner environment and to improve the health of consumers: these are the concrete benefits of the patents and innovations of the industrial process developed by Canepa for a more sustainable fashion.