Textile coating technology takes the next step

Representatives of Deakin University, textile technology company Xefco and Proficiency Contracting have agreed upon a joint project for advanced coating technologies that will improve durability for textile coatings while reducing energy, water and chemical consumption.

The $3.4 million project will be supported by the Innovative Manufacturing Cooperative Research Centre (IMCRC) and was developed, tested and manufactured in Australia with the assistance of a local network of manufacturers.

The atmospheric plasma coating system developed by Deakin’s Institute for Frontier Materials (IFM) and Xefco reduces the costs and complexities of current coating equipment. The project announced this week will allow for the technology to emerge from the lab to a point at which it is commercially viable.

The coating will help make textiles resistant to water, absorbent, flame retardant or odour free, according to IFM senior research fellow in plasma Dr Weiwei Lei.

“Thanks to support from our partners and IMCRC, we will now aim to improve and optimise the functional coating process to get this lab-scale technology ready for production testing at a textile mill and global commercial use by 2021,” said Lei.

While textile coating has been a less sustainable part of the production process in the past, this technology reduces the environmental footprint of the process.

Created through a collaboration of research institutions and industry, the application of this technology has the potential to expand Australia’s capability in the manufacture of textiles, said CEO and managing director at IMCRC, David Chuter.

“The next decade will be about innovative textile manufacturing technologies and processes that are environmentally friendly and resource-efficient. The novel atmospheric plasma system that Xefco and IFM are developing will set the path for the future viability of the industry,” said Chuter.