Garment machine providers are key to the success of any garment manufacturing business, so choose wisely.

In 2019, several reputable fashion brands including H&M and GAP signed an agreement pledging to reduce their emissions by 30 percent by 2030, in line with a UN-supported target. The Sustainable Apparel Coalition, made up of industry heavyweights like H&M and GAP, later increased this target to 45 percent by 2030. At the COP26 climate change conference in 2021, 130 fashion brands pledged to become carbon-neutral by 2050. Garment manufacturers have a responsibility to play in hitting this target, as the manufacturing supply chain accounts for 96 percent of the garment industry’s carbon footprint. And the right industrial boiler can help garment manufacturers reduce carbon emissions.

What is an industrial boiler?

One way manufacturers can reduce their environmental impact is by opting for low-carbon boilers. Boilers are used to produce large amounts of steam and hot water for various purposes in production. Given the importance of boilers to a wide range of production processes, a boiler malfunction can cause an entire production line to shut down. For this reason, it’s important for garment manufacturers to choose boilers that are not only sustainable but reliable—while factoring in their specific budgets and requirements.

Why boilers are important in garment production

Steam and hot water play an important role in several stages of the garment manufacturing process, from dyeing to wrinkle release.

  • Pre-processing eliminates contaminants from fabrics

During pre-processing, contaminants are eliminated from the garment fabrics. In order to be easier to process, the fabrics are turned white and made more absorbent by having the garments steamed to get rid of any dirt or impurities that are on the fabrics during pre-production.

  • Dyeing turns fabric into beautiful garments

This process involves adding pigments or dyes to fabrics to give garments color, vital for turning bland fabric pieces into vibrant fashion items. While dyeing can be done at any stage of garment manufacturing, it typically takes place during the yarn production or fabric weaving stages. The dye needs to be transferred to the fabric with specific levels of heat and moisture provided by steam.

  • Finishing provides a clean, elegant look to garments

Steaming removes wrinkles to give garments a clean final look. For many different fabrics, pressure treatment is regarded as the most effective method for removing wrinkles. This process requires large amounts of steam, which must be generated using a steam boiler.

How to select a suitable boiler

The first thing a garment manufacturer needs to do is assess the boiler’s capacity, which depends on its net heating load (taking into account heat loss in the pipeline). Garment makers must understand the boiler’s settings, including heat and moisture levels. They must also determine the boiler’s thermal efficiency, as high thermal efficiency is necessary for maximizing output. And of course, the boiler’s design must meet industry and governmental safety standards.

Different boilers for different garment needs

There are different kinds of boilers in use today, each of which has its own advantages and drawbacks.

  • Electric steam boilers reduce carbon footprint

Electric steam boilers are ideal for companies looking to reduce their carbon footprint. Electric steam boilers use electricity to heat water to its boiling point, at which point pressurized steam is produced. These boilers can function without the use of fossil fuels, meaning no harmful emissions or fire hazards. Electric steam boilers also have an efficiency of 99 percent compared to traditional gas boilers, and are easier to install.

OSHIMA’s electric steam boilers also take advantage of automation to enhance safety and efficiency, allowing factory workers to concentrate on their production output while maintaining safety through a built-in alarm system that switches off in the event of electrical leakage or malfunction.

  • Gas-fired boilers are both cost efficient and environmentally friendly

While gas-fired boilers still rely on a kind of fossil fuel to produce heat, they emit lower amounts of greenhouse gases than do traditional boilers. As companies and countries alike work to reduce their carbon footprint, gas boilers have become increasingly popular as a cleaner alternative to boilers powered by coal or oil. As a result, the global gas-fired boiler market is expected to reach $20 billion USD by 2024.

Gas-fired boilers also contain low levels of soot and are able to produce more energy than other boiler types without the same level of harmful emissions. They are more efficient and therefore more cost-effective than oil-fired or electric boilers.

  • Biomass boilers are carbon neutral

Biomass boilers are similar in concept to other boiler types, but use wood pellets instead of traditional fuels like coal, oil, or gas. Biomass boilers are carbon-neutral, since the carbon dioxide they release was originally absorbed by the trees that provided the wood fuel.

While they have high startup costs, biomass boilers let manufacturers save big time on fuel costs and make use of leftover wood that would otherwise go to waste. OSHIMA offers a range of biomass boilers that burn wood to provide heating solutions to garment manufacturing companies.

  • Coal-fired boilers are cost-effective for budget-conscious garment companies, though they pose environmental concerns.

These boilers burn coal to produce electricity used to heat water. In recent years, many companies have shifted away from coal power because of its damaging effects on the environment. Additionally, coal-fired boilers require greater maintenance than alternatives. However, they remain the most cost-effective means to provide steam and hot water for industrial garment production, making them suitable for newer or smaller manufacturers. OSHIMA offers a range of easy-to-install coal-fired boilers that can be used with low-heat fuels like coal and wood.


Boilers are important in the garment production process because they produce steam used to remove impurities during pre-processing, help properly apply dyes to fabrics to make them look visually appealing, and remove wrinkles in the final stage of production so as to get a sharp and fresh-looking garment.

Electric steam, gas-powered, and biomass boilers all score highly on sustainability, but are not as economical as old-school coal-fired boilers. Garment manufacturers should consider what their needs and constraints are before choosing a boiler for their production line.

In recent years, the garment industry has made serious efforts to transition to cleaner and more sustainable energy sources. The Fashion Industry Charter for Climate Action has pledged to be carbon-neutral by 2050. Energy consumption is a major contributor to greenhouse gas emissions in the garment manufacturing industry. As the industry pivots towards decarbonization through cleaner energy sources, using energy-efficient boilers can help reduce the energy intensity of processes that involve heat and steam.

The right industrial boiler can help garment companies reduce their carbon footprint and lower their energy costs. OSHIMA can help garment manufacturers make this transition when it comes to their steam and hot water production. Contact us to learn more today.