- The fashion industry market share is 4% and the industry market value in 2020 is estimated to reach $1.6 trillion.
- The new 3D printing technology is utilizing polyurethane to print clothing.
- In the future a customer will be able to 3D print a fashion item at home.
The Russian scientists from the A.N. Kosygin State University developed new revolutionary 3D printing technology specifically geared for the fashion industry. A. N. Kosygin Moscow State Textile University was formed as Moscow State Textile Institute in 1919. It is one of the oldest institutes for higher studies in textiles in Russia.
The project was funded though the Russian Engineering and Innovation grant. According to the global fashion industry statistics, the fashion industry market share is 4% and the industry market value in 2020 is estimated to reach $1.6 trillion.
Furthermore, the new 3D printing technology is utilizing polyurethane to print clothing. Polyurethane is a polymer composed of organic units joined by carbamate links.
While most polyurethanes are thermosetting polymers that do not melt when heated, thermoplastic polyurethanes are also available.
However, polyurethane in the pure form can cause respiratory distress and toxic to children. Nevertheless, the new technology and material application is expected to be presented at the trade shows in the upcoming year.
According to the released information, the scientists used FDM 3D printing technology. Fused Filament Fabrication (FFF), also known under the trademarked term fused deposition modeling (FDM), sometimes also called filament freeform fabrication, is a 3D printing process that uses a continuous filament of a thermoplastic material. The print head is moved under computer control to define the printed shape.
Moreover, the new technology melts polyurethane and it forms the designed product. Previously, it has not been possible to have a woven fabric from an individual fibers using this technology, like ordinary textiles. The properties for the polyurethane in the melted state allows the polymer threads to stick together.
This challenge can be bypassed by utilizing 3D laser printing technology instead the FDM 3D. However, the 3D laser technology is more expensive and it would change the margins of the finished products. The obtained fabric samples are comparable to the textiles that are used by the fashion industry.
The new material has every characteristic, including rigidity, flexibility and extensibility. The developers did the cost comparison and the cost of using FDM is $0.92 cents and the use of the 3D laser $66 for the 10 cm X 10cm fabric sample. However, it is plausible to lower the price by increasing the order volumes in the future.
Overall, one of the main advantages of this technology is to have domestic manufacturing. Hence, moving manufacturing from China. Therefore, bringing the middle class jobs back to the West and to have better quality control.
Additionally, China can’t be trusted due to counterfeit manufacturing and the use of possibly toxic materials. It can also change the logistics in the fashion industry.
Clearly, technology is not suitable for the luxury brands, but can be used for the manufacturing sporting goods and products and a variety of apparel.
In conclusion, in the near future there will be s possibility to even print designer clothing at home. The 3D printing technology continues to evolve.
The Coronavirus pandemic has changed the shopping patterns and the printing of a clothing item from home will no longer considered far fetched.