When you think of cleanroom tech, textiles might not be the first thing that comes to mind in a space where the discourse is dominated by talk about semiconductors. While often overlooked, the importance of comfortable fabrics cannot be understated. So it is was quite a surprise to have find one company trying to highlight the importance of versatile cleanroom garments in a most unique way - by putting on a fashion show.
Cleanroom apparel often causes thermal stress to the wearer and can make them feel uncomfortable during work. Some poorly-designed cleanroom apparel can even cause intense perspiration, increasing the microclimate humidity and moisture content in the fabrics of both the under and outer garments.
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Several pieces of evidence state that consistently wetting reduces the air permeability of fabric packets and leads to a deterioration of the wearer's physical state. In order to address such challenges related to cleanroom textile, Taiwan-based textile manufacturer Asiatic Fiber Corporation (AFC) has designed a unique range of dust-free and comfortable fabrics designed specifically to enhance overall comfort for the wearer.
Cleanroom fabric hits the catwalk
AFC's cutting-edge technology is not only a huge leap forward for cleanroom comfort, but has already been applied to outdoor apparel such as jackets, gloves, and neck warmers as well as indoor apparel that includes heated supporters and socks. Indeed these new textiles are so versatile that they have been demonstrated on the catwalk in a series of haute couture garments by designer Xiang-Rong Zhan as part of Taipei Fashion Week 2021, in what was quite possibly a world first. really turned heads and drew attention to the potential that ESD textiles could have across all facets of life.
This just goes to show that there does not need to be a compromise between comfort, style and functionality.
It should be no surprise to learn that Asiatic Fiber Corporation (AFC), which has been a leading organisation in the design of dust-free and conductive cleanroom products for over 30 years, has now innovatively created a new clean & safe series for industrial environments.
The "waterless dyeing" technique also reduces pollution and energy usage,becoming an innovative practice to drive changes in the textile industry
The technology behind these bleeding edge fabrics, ESD control technologies, integrate fine particles which imbibe the textile with excellent anti-static properties.
In addition, "Conduction" and "shielding" are the two other core technologies that have been used to create high-performance materials that prevent particle adsorption from dust, bacteria, human dander, and more. The measure of "air permeability" or air flow to most of us, is frequently used in the industry to determine the quality of such products and this is one area where these new textiles really shine.
With an excellent air permeability measurement (30.53 c.c/cm2/sec) and a cotton-like feel, teams wearing these new fabrics should notice an increased comfort level and working efficiency. Microfibres build dense cloth structures that block the penetration of human dust and create a microclimate between the wearer and the clothing, attributing to the better airflow.
A cutting edge production technique
In order to improve the comfort and versatility of the textiles the entire fabric manufacturing process has had to be upgraded, with the incorporation of high-quality conductive yarn and new fiber techniques to create a variety of different high-tech fabrics that utilise the following technologies.
- Moisture Control
AFC uses the base Moisture Control System (MCS) technology which increases the hydrophilic properties of the material by allowing moisture to evaporate or transport along the yarn to dry faster.
- Stain Repellent
Stain repellent technology helps to prevent dirt from sticking to the fabric and allows most ground-in stains to be easily removed during the next wash-cycle or dry-cleaning.
The fabric is a PCM (Phase Change Material), that is designed to absorb and act as a layer of insulation - a two way thermostat effect - releasing heat when the body is warm and absorbing heat when the temperature lowers. It’s able to be adjusted to within a specific temperature range.
- Hybrid Cooling
For uni-directional cooling, AFC fabrics use two cooling mechanisms; one provides instant cooling by absorbing heat energy released by the wearer's body. The second mechanism provides long-lasting cooling by vaporising moisture away from the skin. These two mechanisms together maintain the highest level of comfort.
In addition to providing the utmost comfort, AFC’s exclusive technology also includes adding an antibacterial finish to the products. Based on advanced germ trap technology, the fabric has performed well in tests designed to measure the protection against pathogens. The well-designed textile has an antibacterial coating that avoids the growth of bacteria on the clothes. Their R&D Team frequently tests the fabric’s performance to assure excellent particle filtration efficiency and particle shedding to reduce contamination risk.
A more eco-friendly approach to cleanroom fabrics
Indeed with new manufacturing technologies, new ways can be found to reduceenvironmental impact. The textile industry is considered as one of the biggestwater consumers, both in terms of freshwater intake and effluent discharge. Asignificant amount of water is wasted in a traditional dyeing technique which may become a serious environmental problem in the near future. In order to address such issues, AFC uses the "waterless dyeing" technique which not onlysaves water but also increases the durability of the fabric.
The "waterless dyeing" technique also reduces pollution and energy usage,becoming an innovative practice to drive changes in the textile industry. AFC is one of the few textile manufacturers in East Asia having the R&D capacity to implement the technology which uses eco-friendly yarns that can effectively reduce environmental impact. The initiatives of AFC include efforts to eliminateunnecessary excess operational waste and conserve natural resources.
Economical, comfortable, and eco-friendly yarn with enhanced filtration andbarrier capabilities are all leading trends in the textile industry, and while thisversatile fabric is creating a seismic shift in the cleanroom, it’s also making a case for itself across other industries, and has even strutted it’s stuff on the catwalk.
Now that is truly revolutionary.