Dye technician

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Chris, 29

Chris adds the colours to the clothes we wear and to the products produced by the textiles industry. Find out more:

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> Job specs
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Fact file

Job description: Uses dyes to add colours to fibres and yarns that will be used by the textiles industry to produce clothing and other materials.

Subjects studied: Maths, Computer Science, Biology, Physical Education and English.

Further training: Chris has a Certificate of Laboratory Technology and an Advanced Certificate in Textile Technology (dye-chemistry).

Salary:  $30,000 to $45,000

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Profile

Chris is a dye technician working in the textile industry. His employer Rocklea Spinning Mills dyes textile yarns and fibres that may end up adorning today's supermodels.

"As a dye technician you need an extensive knowledge of the different dyes that are available and how they work on different types of fabrics. A dye that produces a certain colour on wool fibres may give a completely different colour on nylon. The way the fabric is treated and the type of dye used are also very important. For example, if we don't use an acid-based heat-activated dye on some materials, the colour of the product will not be permanent and will tend to fade." So a dye technician has to be an expert in the properties of the hundreds of dye colours used within the industry and know how they will react with the various fibres and yarns that the company is dyeing.

"I have always been interested in science and in finding out how things work. I always wanted to end up in a job that had some form of science and this job does. The job includes a bit of physics, a bit of chemistry, a bit of computer programming and a bit of maintenance. Which are all things that I like. And at the same time I'm always learning new things"

On a typical day, what sorts of things need to be done: "I order chemicals and dyes needed for future tests and production. Plus I:

  • Create computer programs for the dye machines
  • Run trials on new products (chemicals, dyes and new textile ranges)
  • Help solve problems with the processes of dyeing
  • Check that the recipes for shade will reproduce consistently
  • Help with the maintenance of the dye machines."

What new projects is Chris currently tackling: Testing dyes on different materials and new dyeing techniques seem to be ongoing. For example, "I am working on a number of projects including new methods to dye cotton and ways to dye cotton/polyester in one bath. I am also investigating oligomer reduction in dyed polyester, the use of pH donors in wool or nylon dyeing

"There are always new materials and dyes coming along and they need to be tested and trialed. New ways of doing things are being discovered which we need to try out. This of course, increases my knowledge of dyeing textiles"

Chris agrees that this career does certainly offer travel opportunities. "Textiles are manufactured all over the world and the knowledge learnt over a period of time can help you get jobs basically anywhere textiles are produced"
 
So what's one of Chris' career highlights to date? "Working and helping to set up the newest and most technologically-advanced dyehouse in Australia."

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Job specs

Personal requirements

  • Enjoy practical and manual activities 
  • Methodical and thorough 
  • Able to think logically 
  • Problem-solving skills 
  • Good communication skills 
  • Good colour perception 
  • Interested in chemistry.

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Getting started

Find out more about a career as a dye technician:

Manufacturing Skills Australia
PO Box 152 Carlton South, VIC 3053
Tel: (03) 9662 4221

Find out more about this career path at myfuture.edu.au (new window) (Note: free registration is required to access the myfuture site).

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