Anti-Pilling Plasma Treatment

Pilling of garments has been a long-standing problem for apparel industry, especially for wool/cashmere fibers knitwear. From the results of our completed ITF project ( ITP/035/07TP), plasma treatment is proven to be an effective physical treatment for cashmere knitted fabric for anti-pilling. After treatment, the pilling grade can be significantly improved. Plasma treatment is a dry, pollution-free, effective and low cost treatment process for wool/cashmere knitwear. However, there are no any successful industry-scale plasma treatment systems available for wool/cashmere knitwear in the current market. Based on the results of the previous project and feedback from the industry, this project aims to develop an industry-scale plasma treatment system for wool/cashmere knitwear. The proposed system will also be applied in other garments made by the other fibres such as polyester, cotton and so on for evaluation of various functional treatments including oil and water resistance, wettability and crease-resistance .

A designed industrial scale clothing plasma treatment system provides a green approach for functionality finishing and minimising the pilling for wool and cashmere knitwear.

Industry Benefit

Pills are formed by the entanglement of loose fibres that protrude from fabric surface. Loose fibres will develop into fluffy tiny balls hooked to the fabric during wearing or washing. This treatment is based on the generation of the ionized gas plasma composed of ions and argon gas particles to interact with the garment. By modifying the surface structure of fibres, plasma treatment will increase the co-efficient of inter-fibre friction and thus reducing fibre migration. Therefore, the pilling resistance can be significantly enhanced with the pilling grades improved by 1 to 2.

Technological Breakthrough

Most of the plasma treatment system on anti-pilling available in the market is for fabric scale production. Engineering of this newly developed system has achieved significant industrial breakthrough.

In the systems 10 garment racks are installed which are large enough to hold 20 pieces of knitwear to be treated at the same time. The treatment process is controlled by a linear motion unit which will rotate during the treatment process, making the treated effects more even on the garment surface. The whole treatment system contains two vacuum chambers which operate alternatively. This design helps increase production efficiency. For example, the treatment process is carried out in one chamber while the after treatment process can be done in another chamber.

Besides, a touch-screen panel is designed for the control of the system. The application is user-friendly and easily operated by workers.

Project Name (ITF)
Development of industry-scale plasma treatment system for wool/cashmere knitwear to minimize pilling
Project Number (ITF)