Cotton is a highly important natural fibre that has been produced for over 5,000 years in the Asian and American continents. Some of the global key fibre producing countries include the United States, India, Pakistan, Turkey, Brazil, China, among others. The following discussion analyzes the steps of fibre production process that handles cotton sourcing.
Step 1: Fibre production – Textile is made from fibre material that is arranged in various ways to create durable, desired strength, texture, and appearance. Fibre sources can be acquired from naturally occurring with the exception of silk, plant fibre whereby they consist cellulosic material derived from cotton, bamboo, linen, or hemp and extracted to cellulose. Cotton entails the most common plant used as a source of fibre (Uddin, 2019). Therefore, cultivation of cotton resource is the most used source. Animal fibres consist of protein including wool and silk. Moreover, there are man-made fibre such as lyocell or viscose (rayon) that is based on cellulosic raw materials acquired from wood pulp. This requires use of enormous amounts of chemicals to create new fibre spun. Furthermore, synthetic fibre that is sourced from monomers acquired from fossil oil feedstocks.
Step 2: Yarn production – Following the identification of the source of the fibre and its harvesting, spinning of the fibres into a yarn entails the next step. This is a mechanical step which is used to increase the strength of the fibre (Chemsec, n.d.).
Step 3: Fabric production – Textile manufacturers focus on the production of fabric which can be attained through various ways including knitting, weaving, as well as, non-woven fabrics. To maintain the quality and strength of the fabric knitting uses lubricants, weaving uses sizing chemicals, and non-woven fabric uses solvents, adhesives, and binders (Kozlowsi & Mackiewicz-Talarczyk, 2020).
Step 4: Pre-treatment – This can be carried out with any of the above steps; fabrics, yarns, or fabrics. The step involves the use of chemicals for washing with detergents and solvents, de-sizing using enzymes, scouring using detergents, solvents, and bases, bleaching and carbonizing that uses acids and bleaches (Dochia, Sirghie, Kozlowski & Roskwitalski, 2012).
Step 5: Dyeing, printing, and finishing – This entails the final step of the production of fibres into finished material that can be used in making of clothes and other garments. Use of chemicals at this stage is critical such as dyes, pigments, binders and polymeric resin, plasticisers, and detergents. This makes it ready for transportation, sales, and retail (Varghese & Mittal, 2018).