With customers being more environmentally conscious than ever, it is no surprise that sustainability has become a much debated and broad topic in the fashion industry. While the fashion industry has been long criticized for its harmful environmental practices, today, clothing brands are increasingly recognizing the value of sustainability. As more and more brands commit to sustainable practices, textile manufacturers are looking to not just become good environmental stewards but also justify their investments in technologies that promote sustainability. This is where St. Louis-based Baldwin Technology Company is turning the tide in favor of textile manufacturers by empowering them with game-changing technology in sustainable textile finishing to facilitate significant cost-savings and production improvements. Fueled by over 100 years of continuous innovation, Baldwin is a leading global manufacturer and supplier of innovative process automation equipment, parts, service, and consumables for a number of industries.

Baldwin provides fabric manufacturers with non-contact precision spray technology for textile finishing and remoistening. The company has developed the technology primarily for the application of DWR (durable water repellents), stain repellents, softeners, antimicrobials and flame retardants to fabric and other substrates. Baldwin's precision application solution—TexCoat™ G4—leverages precision spray technology to evenly apply chemistries to one or both sides of the fabric. As opposed to traditional padding, soaking, or bath methods, Baldwin's textile finishing systems reduce water consumption by 50 percent, enhance production speed, and eliminate chemical waste.

Baldwin ensures that the exact required amount of water and finishing chemistry is applied to the fabric and recovers 100 percent of unused chemistries at the end of the textile finishing process. With substantially less water involved in the process, the energy and resources needed to dry the fabric are considerably reduced as well. "With our precision spray technology, we are aiming to make a paradigm shift in the textile industry. Our sustainability technology pays for itself, helping mills realize tangible ROI and meet consumer demands for sustainability," says Rick Stanford, VP Global Business Development, Textiles.

Baldwin’s “non-contact” method of applying liquids to surfaces is extremely efficient and eco-friendly as the minimum required amount of chemicals can be used. "We also ensure complete air gap between the chemistry and the fabric to prevent the contamination of the finishing chemicals by the fabric,” says Wesley Clements, Director of Engineering and Product Management. When the fabric color changes, the TexCoat system eliminates the need to drain the chemical pad/foulard while reducing the associated downtime and environmental impact from finishing chemical waste.

Baldwin also offers metered chemistry facilitating traceability and superior reporting with detailed performance data in terms of the amount (in grams) of chemicals applied per square meter of the fabric in a particular batch. The company offers a structured solution that applies the right amount of the required chemistry as requested by the customer, thereby eliminating any probability of human error.

Our sustainability technology pays for itself, helping mills realize tangible ROI and meet consumer demands for sustainability

A testament to the efficacy of Baldwin’s precision spray technology is the success story of a prominent global apparel manufacturer that began upgrading its wet-on-wet chemical application system to Baldwin’s revolutionary TexCoat technology in 2017. During the upgrade, in 2018, the apparel manufacturer decided to switch from its previous odor control chemical supplier to Sciessent’s Agion Antimicrobial for improved odor control performance of its finished garments. The apparel manufacturer’s vertical mill offered a prime opportunity for both the companies to verify the stability of Agion running together with softener mixes on the lines upgraded by TexCoat.

As production interruption was not an option, together with the mill’s technical leader, Sciessent and Baldwin carefully planned the validation trials. A key part of the validation exercise was to verify the completeness of cleaning and refine chemical changeover sequences between chemical recipes, some of which are incompatible with one another. The TexCoat system immediately demonstrated its consistent application rates of chemical finishing enabled by its metering valve technology. Agion and TexCoat performed stably and repeatably during the week-long ramp up, monitoring and training period. Converting to Baldwin’s TexCoat to apply Sciessent’s Agion Antimicrobial odor control technology to tubular knit jersey fabric on a big scale checked all the boxes for the manufacturer by providing an economical and sustainable process, which eliminated waste while boosting quality, odor performance, and productivity.

The company’s endeavors add future growth opportunities and possibilities that are new chapters to be written. The common theme that drives Baldwin’s vision is its commitment to cutting-edge innovation to automate workflows and manage the increasing complexity and quality standards of its manufacturing customers and end-users. Today, Baldwin operates in 21 locations in 10 countries with an extensive global sales and service infrastructure designed to provide customers with fast and efficient service.

With a strong foothold in North American and European markets and Japan, Baldwin aims to branch out worldwide and partner with global distributers that provide both sales and service. The company aims to equip textile manufacturers with an array of technologies in its toolbox. "As a strong proponent of sustainability, we listen to our customers and consistently bring new ideas to the table," notes Stanford. Baldwin also continues to expand its R&D global service support team based in Sweden. “We intend to stay committed to both product development and support, which we believe is critical to our success,” remarks Clements.