Levi's uses laser to eliminate the use of toxic chemicals

Once Levi's take the lead, other companies will follow suit

Levi Strauss & Co., one of the world’s most famous jeans companies, has brought out a new digital technology to handle jeans. They use lasers to create designs on denims so that many steps of the process can be reduce.

The FLX Project, which stands for Future-Led Execution, brings out new technique that completely eliminates the toxic chemical treatment step and reduces the manual processing steps. Before the FLX Project was born, a pair of jeans had taken 18 to 24 steps to complete. Now, there are only 3 steps with laser technique.

Levi's new jeans production project is fast and eco friendly.

According to Bart Sights, the Vice President of Technical Innovation, the department responsible for the creation called Eureka Laboratories, the first step in this new process was to take a picture of the jeans for illustration so that the laser system can understand it. In the past, the traditional way took 8, 10 or 12 minutes to do it, now the laser system can do it in 90 seconds. These lasers are infrared rays engraved on a pre-designed jean fabric, creating the ripped effect commonly found on denim.

Levi's says that in the past 30 years, the clothing industry has used manual methods along with a chemical process to create a grinding design on jeans. This project is a step forward of the company responding to the statement "no use of toxic chemicals by 2020". The laser system will also replace the chemicals used to grind denim and reduce environmental pollution.

Levi's intends to extend this project to every facility in the denim supply chain.

Another part of this project is a new imaging tool that can create complete designs on computer. It will allow designers to modify the color and change the ripped design on the jeans. Previously, jeans models were real products, still made by conventional methods of production which use chemicals to create product trials.

The company says the new digital tool will reduce the time it takes to produce jeans in half, from a few months to a few weeks or even a few days. The digital jeans model will be put into the laser system that can both create product trial and form a production line. It is expected that in 2020, this digital technology platform will be completed and widely applied on Levi's production lines.

Levi Strauss & Co. is also a pioneer in reducing the use of energy, water, chemicals and other materials in the apparel industry while maintaining the quality of denim products that consumers are fond of.


By: Mithrine Smith

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