Sustainable Industry

SENAI’s textile tech center develops more durable uniforms for the Brazilian Army

CETIQT has created a product four times more durable in collaboration with Santista

The Chemical and Textile Industry Technology Center of the National Service for Industrial Learning (SENAI/CETIQT), in collaboration with Santista, has developed new uniforms for the Brazilian Army with a technology that makes them lighter and more durable – and allows for
quicker drying. These innovations make the uniform more sustainable.

“We estimate that the uniforms are at least four times more durable. Based on our analyzes, we noticed that resistance to abrasion is considerably superior to that of previous uniforms. The new material, which is more resistant and can last for up to six years, reduces the need for renewal and consequently disposal,” said Rodrigo Kurek, manager of the SENAI Institute for Textile, Apparel and Design Technology.

According to Kurek, the Army liked the concept and SENAI CETIQT started to engage with textile companies to develop the visual component of the uniform. As part of these efforts, a partnership was established with Santista, which invested in research to carry out the necessary tests and reproduce the unique pattern used by the Army with this new fabric.

“Making the pattern is not difficult, but with a different textile input, the recipe that was used to dye the previous fabric no longer works. In addition, the behavior of the uniform after use – which we describe as ‘color fastness’ – varies from the previous textile material. The result we
arrived at in this partnership was surprising,” he said.

Once the study was complete, SENAI CETIQT and Santista developed the technical specifications and modeling for the new uniform, which involves the insertion of pockets, zips and zippers, etc. “In addition to analyzing the inputs that will be used, SENAI also looks at the
modeling of the pieces to ensure greater comfort and safety. In some cases, for instance, depending on how the uniform will be used, Velcro cannot be used because it is noisy.”

The prototypes are then field tested by the Army; they are subsequently validated and proceed to a competitive procurement process. According to Rodrigo, in the case of this project in particular – since the uniform is categorized as a defense product and is critical in
combat – both SENAI and Santista were categorized as defense companies, which makes competition for procurement restricted to companies in this category. “This ensures that the product is manufactured only by domestic companies – and this is one of the roles of SENAI
CETIQT. By encouraging this defense industrial base, we will have more options for domestic products.”

SENAI CETIQT’s pipeline includes projects to develop uniforms for the Brazilian Navy, including the Marines, and the Air Force. “We’re aware that it takes a village to get this done, so we are taking each uniform and developing the supply chain within Brazil so that the domestic textile
industry can live up to this demand.”