Traditional Piece Dyeing with Modern Control Systems

Key players in the Yorkshire textile supply chain, DP Dyers consistently put innovation at the forefront of what they do.

The commission piece dyeing business have matched traditional skills accumulated over 100 years in industry with the newest technologies available, allowing them to control dyeing variables and improve shade matching and continuity.

It is in the spirit of continuous innovation that DP Dyers have collaborated with Future Fashion Factory, led by the University of Leeds’ Professor Stephen Westland, on a R&D project that introduces modern control systems that can significantly reduce some of the challenges experienced in the dyehouses of today.

Traditional Dyeing

Dyeing, while undeniably a scientific process, can still be considered one of the more traditional methods used in fabric manufacturing. An introduction of modern control systems, when applied to traditional dyeing techniques, has resulted in a streamlined process, that can significantly reduce lead times, and provide increased confidence in the piece dye option.

“The project has allowed DP Dyers to identify and look at the critical variables in a way they could never have done without the academic help from UOL. By improving the control of a number of these variables and by improving dyeing protocols they have made gains in shade matching, quality and efficiency. In turn, this will undoubtedly help their customers better compete in a large global market.”

Alan Dolley, Technical Director at DP Dyers and WT Johnson.

What is Piece Dyeing?

Commercial piece dyeing is a useful way to produce plain solid shades, whereby woven lengths of white fabric are dyed to a specific colour. This is done by creating a dye recipe, which mixes the required powdered dyes to achieve the colour.

Typically, the dyes are then added to a boiling bath in which the fabric is running as part of the dyeing process – while there is some level of control with this process, there is always an element of uncertainty, which can prove costly or even wasteful should the colour fail, or require additional dye pigments.

While DP Dyers have learned to deal with a wide variety of different substrates, it is through their collaboration with Future Fashion Factory, that they have been able to increase accuracy and efficiency all the more. Through the adoption of new technologies, they are delivering better shade prediction and repetition.

“The funding from FFF gave us a unique opportunity to work very closely with DP Dyers, a highly respected piece dyer in Yorkshire. The piece-dyeing business is particularly complicated but together we were able to better understand the variables in their processes and identify small but important changes to their processes that will save money and improve colour consistency.” 

Professor Steve Westland, academic lead on the project.

Project Results

With increased performance in piece dyeing producing solid shade fabrics that have high levels of colour continuity and accuracy, these developments are ideally placed to meet customers’ requirements. While customer satisfaction has always been the primary objective within the production environment, outcomes of the project undoubtedly have a range of positive impacts. Not only will this project help to make piece dyeing a more viable option for local manufacturers, it would do so in a manner that increases productivity, while decreasing the human resources required in reprocessing methods.