The new introduced finishing line reduces water usage by 80% for Mexico’s Tavemex. Tavemex installation is finishing denim fabrics with new Monforts Eco denim line and is already achieving 80 % water savings. Tavemex SA de CV of Mexico has become the second denim producer in the world to install a Monforts Eco Denim Line, and the first to use the technology for finishing denim fabrics of up to 300 g/sqm.
The first installation, in 2016, was to a Vietnamese producer of lightweight denim fabrics. Tavemex, which is based at Tlaxcala in Mexico, completed installation of the Eco Denim Line early this year and after only one month of operation was recording an 80 % reduction in water usage. For Tavemex, the investment in the new Monforts technology comes at a time of fundamental change for the company.
Previously known as Tavex, the company was part of a multinational enterprise that originated in Spain and had denim-manufacturing plants there and in Morocco, Brazil and Argentina, as well as Mexico. Tavemex is now, however, an independent Mexican-owned concern, with its prime market being the United States.
Tavemex’s installed capacity is now 2 million metres per month, Part of current production is gradually being moved from the existing stenters to the new Eco Denim Line. The equipment was delivered from Monforts in Germany via the manufacturer’s distributor for Mexico, Sattex-Mexico. A Monforts engineer carried out installation, and in-depth, training was provided.
“Our main reason for investing in the Eco Denim Line at this time was to satisfy those of our customers who have been requesting us, more and more, to use less water in dyeing and finishing,” says Arturo Ornelas Elizondo, Tavemex’s Industrial Director.
“They themselves have been trying to use less water in their garment production, to the point in some instances of softening fabrics to break the starch and avoid using water. “Their need is to meet stringent environmental standards and also to respond to strong customer demand for more environmentally friendly products. “We use our own well for water supply, so the water cost is relatively low, but we are saving more than 80 % on water usage, and this will enable our customers to label their products in the stores respectively.”
Usually denim is processed through a number of cylinder dryers that are steam heated, and stretched in a large stretching unit that applies high force to the fabric in order to achieve the necessary weft.
The Monforts Eco Line innovation uses a modified Thermex Hotflue Chamber that generates the necessary moisture and temperature for making the denim stretchable, whilst incorporating a soft stretching of the fabric by using many rollers instead of only the one or two in a traditional stretching unit. This consequently saves on the volume of water needed to generate the steam and also saves on the amount of energy required to convert the water to steam.
The Tavemex factory uses fuel oil for its steam supply, being located too far from a natural gas supply to pipe in gas, and Mr Elizondo says that the Eco Denim Line is projected to save energy. “We are still in the process of transferring the production from the traditional stenters to the Eco Denim Line, but we estimate that ultimately we shall save between 20 and 30 % on steam generation, however ” he says.
The denim is treated much more gently with the Eco Line, and Mr Elizondo says the highest fabric quality can be achieved, certainly to the same standard as with the steam cylinders. The new installation includes a Monforts Eco Applicator, which applies the chemicals, replacing a conventional padder. This reduces the drying needs and therefore energy consumption, due to the fact that the Eco Applicator applies less moisture to the fabric.
Less water usage also means less wastewater, and again although this has little effect in financial savings, the environmental aspects are very beneficial. “This will also give us the opportunity to improve our wastewater plant to the latest European standards.” Mr Elizondo adds that the response of Tavemex’s customers to this new installation has been very favourable.
“They started to ask us for ways to reduce water usage about four years ago,” he says. “We worked with our chemicals suppliers to reduce the water during the dyeing process, but although giving us an advantage, it was still not eno, however, the reduction is dramatic. It is creating new marketing advantages for our customers.”
The new company ownership means that Tavemex, once part of the world’s largest denim producing conglomerate, is now an independent Mexican producer facing stiff competition. The company is confident that the Eco Denim Line will help them stay at the forefront.