Swiss chemical company Archroma has launched a line of non-fluorine agents that it says make polyester, polyamide and cotton-based textiles repellent.

The Swiss color and specialty chemicals company says its Smartrepel Hydro agents are not based on fluorine chemistry, PFC, PFOA, PFOS or solvents condemned by environment groups. As part of its Detox Challenge, Greenpeace called out several outdoor brands in October 2012 for continuing to rely on per fluorinated chemicals (PFCs) to enhance garments’ Durable Water Repellency, or DWR.

The technology, Archroma says, supports the increasing adoption of eco-advanced materials and production processes by textile producers and brand owners adhering to industry initiatives such as the Joint Roadmap towards Zero Discharge of Hazardous Chemicals (ZDHC), and eco-label standards such as Bluesign and Oeko-Tex.

Archroma claims Smartrepel Hydro achieves a level of performance for cotton and synthetic fibers and blends as yet unattainable with alternative non-fluorine solutions, and similar to C6-based solutions.

Archroma’s micro-encapsulated technology uses a repelling agent and anchoring agent that together create a “perfect symbiosis of water protection, breathability and durability.” Its high water repellence performance for cotton, polyester and polyamide is tested according to AATCC 22. Thanks to the innovative technology developed by Archroma’s R&D experts, the finish overcomes the limitations of comparable non-fluorine products currently available on the market, and achieves a soft and bulky hand-feel and strengthens the fabric against abrasion and tearing, without any yellowing.
These effects combine to create a durable, weatherproof garment that is flexible, soft to the touch and not sticky. Smartrepel Hydro’s protective properties last for more than 20 washing cycles, reaching the pinnacle of what is technically possible for any non-fluorine solution today.

The range comprises Smartrepel Hydro CMD designed for cellulosic fibers and blends, and Smartrepel Hydro PM for synthetic fibers.

“We are quite excited to introduce this technology to the market,” said Georg Lang, Global Head of Product Marketing Finishing, Textile Specialties, at Archroma. “Smartrepel Hydro combines two benefits that were long awaited,
especially by the outdoor textile segment: a nature-friendlier
chemistry, together with long-lasting, efficient water repellency for
both synthetic and cellulosic fibers. With its strong eco-profile,
supported by recognized eco-certificates, and unmatched performance
Smartrepel Hydro now offers the market a positive alternative to
conventional fluorocarbon-based water repellency products.”