ZURZACH – A new fabric finishing process from Swiss textile chemicals company HeiQ is said to allow for the production of performance fabrics which, when blended with short-chain polymer silk fibres, claims to rival silk fabrics themselves in terms of temperature regulation, tear resistance and dry-fastness.
HeiQ’s ‘Real Silk’ patented finishing technology can “reproduce the tactile properties of silk” onto any kind of fabric by applying coagulated short-chain silk fibres to its surface. This, the company says, will allow the functional textiles market to make use of silk’s coveted properties, whilst keeping production costs relatively low by avoiding the skilled, expensive and time-consuming silk production and yarn manufacturing stage.
“Silk is one of the most exclusive and expensive fibres available, due to the complex production of this natural raw material,” HeiQ has noted. “The significant cost of silk has created the sense of exclusivity around silk fabrics and garments, and conveys an image of luxury. Silk is a truly unique material – soft, temperature-regulating, highly absorbent and fast-drying, highly tear-resistant and virtually wrinkle-free.
“HeiQ’s innovative finishing technology transfers these prized characteristics and the luxurious feel of silk to other fabric types like polyamide, polyester, cotton or its blends.”
Initially developed at a pilot production plant at its R&D subsidiary factory in Geelong, Australia, HeiQ has announced its first production partner for Real Silk in Belgian mattress ticking manufacturer Bekaert Deslee at the ongoing International Sleep Products Association (ISPA) exhibition in Orlando.
Stressing that the development will also be an advantage for the entire functional textiles market, HeiQ says that third-party samples will be available to potential manufacturing partners from 1 July 2016.