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Accelerating Development of Sustainable Textile Dyes

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Rapid 2D barcode rack readers and automated tube picking equipment from Ziath are helping Colorifix (Norwich, UK) to accelerate development of revolutionary biological dyes to help the textile industry dramatically reduce its environmental impact.


Dyeing of fabrics by the textile industry represents one of Man’s most polluting industrial processes, using many toxic chemicals and over 5 trillion litres of water every year. Colorifix is the first company to develop an entirely biological process to produce, deposit and fix pigments onto textiles. Carefully selecting microorganisms from a vast library of biological samples – Colorifix can produce colours as they are seen in nature, which are then grown in their laboratories and fermented at a larger scale. This fermentation broth is then used to dye fabrics the desired colour. The process uses no toxic chemicals, produces zero toxic waste, and drastically reduces use of electricity and water compared to traditional synthetic fabric dyeing.


Will Alexander, a senior lab technician at Colorifix commented “Our large library of bacterial strains and DNA samples is stored in 2D barcoded tube racks. Traditionally selection and management of these samples has been a time-consuming and error prone manual process monopolising the time of 3 staff members working together. The primary driving forces behind our investing in the Ziath Mirage 2D barcode readers and Mohawk automated tube picker was to increase throughput of the tube selection process, improve organisation and tracking of tubes as they were used, and to improve the efficiency of how we store 2D barcoded tube in racks. Additionally, our libraries of biological samples are rapidly expanding at an exponential rate. Therefore, it was crucial for us to implement a precise, reliable, and fast sample management system in advance of our reference collection becoming much larger”.


He added “Using the Mohawk / Mirage combination we have been able to speed up our tube selection process, keep much better track of sample inventory and manage the tubes as we use them. The ease-of-use and wide compatibility with our existing inventory has given us confidence that as our libraries continue to expand, the Ziath devices will continue to do much of the legwork in managing the inventories and ensuring that everything remains organised. Users have particularly appreciated the speed at which the Mirage can scan barcodes and immediately export this data in file formats that work with our existing IT infrastructure and the ease-of-use of both the Mirage and Mohawk once fully set-up. The support provided by Ziath has been second to none from initial demonstration, help with smoothly integrating the devices into our workflow and promptly answering any questions we have had”.