Textile color chemists are sometimes called dye chemists or dyers. Most
of these jobs are concentrated in dyestuff companies (companies that actually
produce the dye chemicals for different applications) and dye houses (companies
responsible for dyeing and finishing textile products using the dyes and chemicals
produced by dyestuff companies).
Starting out, textile color chemists typically work an eight-hour day in
a manufacturing plant, a lab or sometimes an office. They are responsible
for making sure certain products are dyed to the correct colors.
Once they have gained several years of experience in the dye business,
textile color chemists can be promoted to head dyer or dye house manager positions.
That means less time in the lab or on the plant floor working with chemicals
and dyes. It means more time in the office working with customer orders, matching
colors, recording recipe changes and making production notes.
Head dyers and dye house managers also tend to work more hours than those
just starting out in the profession. Days can extend into 10 or 12 hours.
They might also sometimes work weekends. It depends on their level of responsibility.
Textile color chemists make sure the dyeing machines are ready to go. They
check that the water level is just right, that the "recipe" of dye colors
is exact, and that the ratio of product to the amount of dye being used is
They may have to play detective on many occasions. They must determine
what went wrong and why a color is not on shade. The heart of the job of a
textile color chemist is, of course, chemistry.
For example, some of their daily activities include determining the correct
ratio of dye colors to the product and water. They decide whether acetic acid
will improve the mixture. They know how all these chemicals will react together.
Determining dye recipes for different colors is only part of a textile
color chemist's job. Accurate and complete record keeping is crucial.
They have to collect a sample of each batch or dye lot when the dyeing
process is finished. They must make notes about any adjustments to the dye
recipe. They have to note abnormal reactions with a new kind of product and
basic laboratory conditions, like ambient room temperature and water temperature.
These steps help make sure the same color can be achieved the next time a
customer orders this color on this type of textile.
Textile color chemists are not often asked to do any heavy lifting or physically
demanding tasks. Unfortunately, they are exposed to some hazardous chemicals.
They have to take extra precautions to prevent injury, especially to skin
and eyes. Textile color chemists often wear protective clothing, like lab
coats or aprons, gloves and goggles.
Most of the demand for textile color chemists is found in larger cities
like Montreal, Canada. Demand is also strong near textile-producing centers
like North Carolina and Georgia.
Many of the jobs in the textile industry have moved overseas in recent
years. And many of the higher paying jobs in this industry can now be found
in countries like India, Pakistan and Turkey.