Garment Dyeing and Its Machineries with Advantages and Disadvantages

Last Updated on 29/05/2023

What is Garment Dyeing?
Garment dyeing has become an increasingly important sector of the dyeing and finishing industry in recent years. Garment dyeing is the process of dyeing fully fashioned garments (such as pants, pullovers, t-shirts, jeans, sweaters, dresses, bathrobes, casual jackets, shirts, skirts, hosieries) subsequent to manufacturing, as opposed to the conventional method of manufacturing garments from pre-dyed fabrics. Most garments are made of cotton knit goods and cotton woven fabrics. However, dyeing in garment form as an alternative process route has been available for many years and has been an established tradition for certain articles particularly suited to this approach.

Although several other fabrics can be found in the whole or in part such as wool, nylon, silk, acrylic, polyester and others. Due to cost savings and fashion trends, garment dyeing has been gaining importance and popularity in the past years and will continue to do so in the future.

Why Garment Dyeing?
Traditionally, garments are constructed from fabrics that are pre-dyed (piece dyed) before the actual cutting and sewing. The advantage of this process is the cost effectiveness of mass producing identical garments of particular colors. A major drawback with this approach is the risk associated with carrying a large inventory of a particular style or color in today’s dynamic market. Normally, it is used for lingerie, socks, sweater dyeing, etc.

The conventional approach of dyeing the fabric, followed by making up, is associated with a delay of at least 2–3 weeks between the preparation of the fabric for coloration and its appearance as a garment in the retail store. The time between request and delivery may be reduced to 4 or 5 days, however, by holding a stock of undyed garments. Even after making allowance for the manufacture of the fabric and the making‐up time, the garment dyeing approach is much faster.

Garment Dyeing Machines:
Garment dyeing machine is a specialized piece of equipment used in the textile industry to dye ready-made garments or textile products. Generally paddle machines and rotary drums are the two types of equipment regularly used for garment dyeing. Rotary drum machines are sometimes preferred for garments, which require gentler handling, such as sweaters. A high liquor ratio is required for paddle machines, which is less economical and may limit shade reproducibility. Many machinery companies have developed sophisticated rotary dyeing machines, which incorporate state-of-the-art technology. Following machines are generally used for garment dyeing.

garment dyeing machine
Figure 1: Garment dyeing machine

Paddle dyeing machine:
A process of dyeing textiles in a machine that gently move the goods using paddles similar to a paddle wheel on a boat. This is a slow process, but there is extremely little abrasion on the goods. Horizontal Paddle Machines (over head paddle machine) consist of a curved beck like lower suction to contain the materials and the dye liquor. The goods are moved by a rotating paddle, which extends across the width of the machine. Half immersed paddles cause the material to move upwards and downwards throughout the liquor. The temperature can be raised to 98°C in such system.

In lateral / oval paddle machines consist of oval tank to enhance the fluid flow and the processing the goods. In the middle of this tank is a closed oval island. The paddle moves in a lateral direction and is not half submerged in the liquor and the temperature can be increased up to 98°C.

Side‐Paddle machines are very simple in construction. The dye liquor is circulated in an ovalshaped vessel, with an oval‐shaped island, by a paddle arrangement (Figure 2). There are several types of machines differing in the position of the paddles, but in all of them the action is gentle. The axle of the paddle is mounted just above the level of the dye liquor, so the blades of the paddle enter the dye liquor and the motor is geared to rotate them at slow speed.

Schematic diagram of a side‐paddle garment dyeing machine. (a) Top view. (b) Side view
Figure 2: Schematic diagram of a side‐paddle garment dyeing machine. (a) Top view. (b) Side view

HT Paddle Machines work according to the principle of horizontal paddle machine, however, the temperature can be raised up to 140°C. PES articles are preferably dyed on HT paddles. In paddle machines, the dyeing can be carried out with 30:1 to 40:1, lower ratios reduces optimum movement of the goods, lead to unlevel dyeing, crease formation. For gentleness, the blades of the paddle are either curved or have rounded edges and the rotating speed of the paddle can be regulated from 1.5 to 40 rpm. Circulation of the liquor should be strong enough to prevent goods from sinking to the bottom. Paddle machines are suitable for dyeing articles of all substrates in all forms of make ups. The goods are normally dyed using PP/PET bags.

Rotary drum dyeing machine:
These machines work on the principle of “movement of textile material and a stationary liquor”. The rotary drum dyeing machine consists of rotating perforated cylindrical drum , which rotates slowly inside a vessel of slightly bigger in size (Figure 3). The garments are placed in the drum, which is then rotated slowly (about 3–4 rev/min) in the dye liquor, the direction of rotation being reversed frequently. The internal drum is divided into compartments to ensure rotation of goods with the drum rotation, and the outer vessel holds the required quantity of dye liquor. High temperature drum machines are capable of processing the garments up to 140°C.

Rotary drum garment dyeing machine
Figure 3: Rotary drum garment dyeing machine

Features of modern rotary-dyeing equipment include the following:

  1. Lower liquor ratio
  2. Gentle movement of goods and liquor (minimizes surface abrasion)
  3. Rapid heating and cooling
  4. Centrifugal extraction
  5. Variable drum speed with reversal capability (adaptable to a wide variety of goods)
  6. Continuous circulation of goods (improves migration control)
  7. Easy of sampling
  8. Variable water levels with overflow rinsing capabilities
  9. Large diameter feed and discharge lines (minimizes filling and draining time)
  10. Microprocessor controls
  11. Lint filters
  12. Pressure dyeing
  13. Auto-balancing drums

One feature that can be used to reduce abrasion on delicate garments or to minimize tangling is a compartmental chamber, sometimes referred to as a “Y” pocke .The rotary drum machines are very simple to operate and are quite compact in size. The cost of unit is also not high.

Drum dyeing-centrifuging machines are also called “multipurpose drum machines” or “multi-rapid dyeing centrifuging machines” since these machines can perform scouring, dyeing, centrifuging and conditioning successively with automated controls. The goods are treated in a perforated inner drum housed within an outer drum (dyeing tank). Inner drums without dividing walls are provided with ribs that carry the goods along for a certain time, partially lifting them up out of the liquor. These machines can operate at very low liquor ratios and can dye the goods up to 98-140°C. This is suitable for knits as well as other garments. Liquor circulation can be intensified using additional jets. Drums can be rotated in both the directions.

Some significant enhancements that are now standard features incorporated by most rotary garment dyeing machine manufacturers are:

  • Fully integrated touch screen computer operating systems with Windows® software and, when needed, remote online troubleshooting.
  • Automatic dispensing of dyes and other chemical auxiliaries.
  • Low liquor ratios compared with paddle dyeing machines.
  • Flexible basket configuration to provide one or more dyeing compartments – the D-pocket, which consists of two compartments, the Y-pocket, which consists of three compartments and still others with four compartments. Compartments have the additional advantage of reducing tumbling effects and hence minimize damage to garments.
  • Sophisticated heating and cooling using heat exchangers.
  • Variable speed controls for agitation control and reversal capability.
  • Water volume controls with overflow rinsing capabilities.
  • Auto-balancing drums.
  • Dyeing up to a temperature of 135°C, which is useful when dyeing denim blends.
  • Easy loading and unloading via tilting mechanisms or automatic robotized loaders, obviating the need for manual handling and thereby saving time.
  • External circulation of dye liquor that aids in good penetration of dye into seams.
  • Lint filters to remove loose fibers to prevent re-deposition onto the garments.
  • Centrifugal hydro extraction to ensure minimal moisture content before drying.
  • Dye liquor recovery and sampling ports for examination of garments.

Tumbler dyeing machine:
These machines are being used for small garments either in loose form or in open mesh bags. Design wise the tumbler dyeing machines are similar to the commercial laundering machines.

The principle of operation is to load the material into perforated inner SS tanks, which rotates round a horizontal shaft fixed at the back of the drum. The drum is divided into compartments for moving the goods with rotation of drum. A variety of tumbling machines have higher rotation speeds and can spin dry at the end of the cycle. These are similar to dry-cleaning machines.

Rotating drum machines are more efficient and cleaner to operate than paddle machines. The more vigorous mechanical action often promotes more shrinkage and bulking, which may be desirable for some articles. In order to handle higher quantities and large production of similar pieces the latest machines are provided with several automatic features and sophistication.

Toroid dyeing machine:
In these machines the garments circulate in the liquor in a toroidal path with the aid of an impeller situated below the perforated false bottom of the vessel. Movement of the goods depends completely on the pumped action of the liquor. High-temperature versions of this machine operating at 120 to 130°C were developed in the 1970s for dyeing fully-fashioned polyester or triacetate garments. The liquor ratio of such machines is about 30:1.

Toroid dyeing machine
Figure 4: Toroid dyeing machine

The gyrobox:
The machine has support in the form of a large wheel, which is divided into 12 independent non radial compartments. The goods are placed in these compartments .The wheel runs at a moderate speed of 2-6 rpm.

The main advantage of this machine are,

  1. Reduced M:L
  2. Different types of garments can be dyed simultaneously .
  3. Flexible loading
  4. Fully automatic operation.

The MCS readymade garment dyeing machine:
The rotodye machines are suitable for dyeing pure cotton,wool,polyester,cotton blends in the form of T shirts, sweaters, bath rugs and accessories , socks and stockings.

Modified pegg toroid whiteley garment dyeing machine:
This is an improved version of Toroid machines, the additional features are,

  1. The machine is suitable for both atmospheric and pressure dyeing.
  2. Full automation upto hydroextraction.
  3. The design features, speed and performance is simplified to make the machine more versatile and free from operating problems.

Advantages of Garment Dyeing:

  1. Handling of smaller lots economically.
  2. Enables various special effects to achieved.
  3. Distressed look can be effectively imparted.
  4. Unsold light shades can be converted into medium and deep shades.
  5. By the time the garment has been in a boiling dyebath and then tumble-dried, it will have adopted its lowest energy state and will not suffer further shrinkage under consumer washing conditions.
  6. Latest fashion trends can be effectively incorporated through garment wet processing by immediate feedback from the customer.

Disadvantages of Garment Dyeing:

  1. High cost of processing
  2. A little complicated dyeing
  3. Garment accessories like zips, buttons, etc impose restrictions. The garments produced from woven fabrics create many problems and it has been found that the existing textile treatment styles as developed for piece dyed fabric cannot be just assembled for garment wet processing operation such as garment dyeing, unless they have been engineered from the original design stage for garment dyeing.

Articles such as buttons or zip fasteners may present additional hazards to the dyer. The presence of metal ions in the dyebath from buttons or zips can influence the shade of the dye. Conversely, dyebath auxiliaries such as acid, alkali or reducing agent (for vat dyes) may do irreversible damage to the appearance of such trimmings.

The factors governing processing of ready-made garments are:


  1. An Introduction to Textile Coloration: Principles and Practice By Roger H. Wardman
  2. Denim: Manufacture, Finishing and Applications Edited by Roshan Paul
  3. Textile Dyeing By Dr. N. N. Mahapatra
  4. Garments Merchandising by Prof. M.A. Kashem
  5. Practical Dyeing (Volume 3) by James Park and John Shore

You may also like:

  1. Garments Washing and Dyeing Machine: Features and Operations
  2. Different Types of Textile Dyeing Machines
  3. Features, Parameters and Working Process of Winch Dyeing Machine
  4. Features and Working Principle of HTHP Beaker Dyeing Machine
  5. Types, Features and Working Principle of Soft Flow Dyeing Machine
  6. Features, Types, Parts and Working Principle of Jet Dyeing Machine

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