Textiles Roundup: Top Value Fabrics Turns to Latex Ink, China Chooses Hemp Over Cotton

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Photo credit: European Industrial Hemp Association

Top Value Fabrics launches a new line of latex performance textiles, while China pursues hemp as an eco-friendly alternative to cotton production.

Top Value Fabrics debuts new latex performance textiles

Top Value Fabrics’ has expanded its textiles for latex printing, launching a new line of latex performance textiles for durable and high-quality production graphics. Through its partnership with HP, Top Value Fabrics created a proprietary coating that improves the durability of HP-Latex inks to give finished graphics richer colors.

“Our new line of Latex coated products covers a broad spectrum of end use needs including: backlit, frontlit, stretch, banner and sheer fabric applications,” Top Value Fabrics product marketing manager Mike Compton said. “These fabrics can be utilized for SEG frame systems, high-end retail, POP, banner stands, backdrops, roll-up displays, tradeshow exhibits and interior décor.”

The new line features five different textiles—DigiCompetition, DigiFascination, DigiPanorama, DigiStretch and Supernova. As a lightweight knit polyester material, DigiCompetition is stretchy and engineered specifically for high performance fabric printing, including trade show graphics and retail displays. DigiFascination is a sheer woven polyester fabric with outstanding color consistency, while DigiPanorama also provides high-quality image sharpness when printed. DigiStretch is a 100 percent polyester stretch knitted fabric with a superior color range and Supernova is a white backlit polyester designed for illuminated fabrics.

Media in the new line is constructed with a strong print receptive treatment, so the latex ink adheres smoothly with the fabric. Once these fabrics go through imaging, they maintain color consistency, image sharpness and a wide color range. All fabrics also adhere to NFPA’s 701 FR specifications, which are standard methods of fire tests.

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China pursues hemp as a sustainable alternative to cotton

China’s Heilongjiang Province is pursuing hemp in an effort to minimize cotton’s carbon footprint.

The province is evaluating its hemp production value chain and proposing more large scale production of the sustainable crop, which unlike cotton, doesn’t require as much pesticide and water use. Since beginning this initiative, the province has increased its hemp crop from 2,500 acres to more than 74,000 acres this year. If the hemp crop keeps up, the province could yield approximately 150,000 acres as early as 2018.

With hemp, China could also make its textile industry more sustainable and minimize resource use. A comprehensive research program initiated by Heilongjiang Province universities and research groups from Canada and Ukraine, is currently exploring how the area can produce hemp fibers using eco-friendly enzymes. Dubbed enzymatic cottonization of hemp fibers, the process cultivates hemp seeds with enzymes, minimizing the use of artificial irrigation methods.

Hemp textiles would also be high-quality fabrics, enabling China to compete with other major global textile players. Additional benefits of hemp fibers include a complex 3-D, superb moisture absorption and allow textile to dry quickly. The nation aims to increase hemp crops over the next few years, while maintaining its status as a top international textile source.

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