New system ensures traceability in the textile industry

phys.org | 4/3/2019 | Staff
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How can a garment's origin be derived in a safe and credible way? How can the producer guarantee that it has been produced in a socially, environmentally and economically sustainable way? Now, a new, secure traceability system has been developed in a research project at the University of Borås.

Information asymmetry, counterfeits, and lack of transparency—in one word lack of traceability—is a major challenge in the global textiles and clothing supply chain. QR codes and RFID chips are currently used as traceability tools. However, these are easy to copy.

Tarun - Kumar - Agrawal - Studies - Management

Tarun Kumar Agrawal, during his doctoral studies in textile management at the Swedish School of Textiles, University of Borås, has developed a new traceability system to solve this.

"The textile supply chain is a complex network and a lot can happen in the process between the various production lines or stages—from the production of fiber and yarn and on to weaving or knitting the textile, the garment production, the transportation to the retailers, and finally to the consumer. Moreover, consumers want to know where the garment they buy come from, what it is made of, and if it is ethically produced. At the same time, the producers want to show, that their products keep promised quality and are sustainable, and they want to be able to protect themselves from counterfeiting," he says.

Project - Tarun - Kumar - Agrawal - Traceability

In his project, Tarun Kumar Agrawal has looked at traceability at the information and product levels, and how it can be ensured that the information passing the systems is reliable. He has also developed a unique cryptotag that is printed on the finished garment.

"The tag contains tiny particles, which randomly form a unique pattern. By image reading it is possible to identify these patterns, similar as when indentifying a fingerprint. The new traceability system then connects data to the tag," he explains.

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