Palm Oil-Based Product Innovation for The Batik Industry
Batik has become one of the identities that cannot be separated from the history of the Indonesian nation. Batik originated from the era of our ancestors since the seventeenth century which was originally written on palm leaves and the motifs were still dominated by animal and plant forms. Then the development of batik also developed rapidly along with the development of the kingdoms in Indonesia, one of which was Majapahit. During the royal period, batik was used for clothing for the king and his family. Until now, batik has become a traditional Indonesian cloth that has a various motifs that contain rich of meaning and with distinctive colors from each region in Indonesia.
At the international level, batik was first introduced to the world by Mr. Soeharto, the second President of the Republic of Indonesia, at the UN conference. The beauty of batik has also been recognized by world figures such as Nelson Mandela, Barack Obama and Bill Gates. In fact, Nelson Mandela used one of his favorite Indonesian batik when it was buried.
Although batik has been widely recognized as Indonesia’s identity, Malaysia, which is a neighboring country and allied to Indonesia, has made claims that batik is their culture. To avoid this claim, the Indonesian Government has begun registering batik as a Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). Then, UNESCO confirmed Indonesian batik as a world cultural heritage on October 2, 2009.
The Government of Indonesia also welcomed UNESCO’s recognition by declaring every October 2 as National Batik Day. The government also urges and invites all Indonesian people to wear batik on National Batik Day.
It has been 11 years since the inauguration, the devotion of the Indonesian people for batik is getting bigger. Now, batik is not only used by parents at formal events such as traditional ceremonies, weddings or meetings. However, currently, the use of batik does not recognize the age of both parents and young people using batik on various occasions. Batik models and motifs also continue to developing in line with the growing market needs and increasingly varied consumer segmentation. This has implications for the national batik industry which continues to grow rapidly.
With the development of the batik industry, it has also increased the need for raw materials needed in the batik process. One of them is batik dye. Batik dye is one of the most important factors in supporting the making of a batik because it determines the quality, attractiveness and direction of the batik color. In making batik, there are various types of dyes that can be used and generally most batik craftsmen use synthetic or artificial dyes.
However, with the development of various environmentally friendly products, currently the use of natural dyes is starting to be in great demand for various needs of the batik industry. Natural dyes are dyes produced from various plants and other natural ingredients. Natural dyes have the advantage are eing an easy extraction process and environmentally friendly. In addition, it is also considered more economical because the available raw materials are very abundant.
Palm kernel shells, which is a waste from palm oil processing which have a lot of potentials to become a high economic value product, one of them are as a raw material and is used in the manufacture of natural dyes that can be used in batik cloth. Palm kernel shells also contain pigments, namely carotenoids, which form an orange color.
Based on research conducted by Pujilestari., Et.al (2016), batik coloring on cotton and silk fabrics that use palm kernel shells produces quality dyes that are fastness to washing and rubbing. Even when compared to cocoa hulls, dyeing using palm kernel shells are superior because of the higher value of fastness to washing and rubbing resistance.
One of the batik motifs that can be produced using dye from palm kernel shells is the “Tingi-Tunjung” motif. The basic color effect that comes from the combination of it and alum which has gone through a long process will produce a beautiful color. The combination of blackish color with white color from processed palm kernel shells, can also be mixed with dyes from cocoa waste that have been mixed with alum and lime, so that it can produce batik motifs that are dark brown and light brown.
Not only as a dye in batik cloth, the role of oil palm in batik’s industry in Indonesia is also seen as a substitute for the paraffin used in “Malam”. “Malam” is the color blocking between the motifs on batik so far it contains paraffin components derived from fossil oil which are classified as non-renewable and not environmentally friendly resources.
Researchers at the Agency for the Assessment and Application of Technology (read: Badan Pengkajian dan Penerapan Teknologi/BPPT) have innovated by creating bio-paraffin wax as a “Malam” from palm oil. This bio-paraffin can replace the raw material for wax from petroleum. The fraction of palm oil into solid form, known as stearin, can be used as bio paraffin or substitute for fossil paraffin. The stearin also still requires various stages of the molecular structure modification process to be compatible with other components, so that the correct “Malam” formula will be obtained.
The advantages of palm oil bio paraffin will produce high quality wax or “Malam” which is capable of being a good color barrier, sharper and brighter color results, resistant to alkaline and acid solutions, ecofriendly and more economical because it can reduce production costs by up to 20 percent.
Thus, the potential resulting from the innovation of palm oil products used in the national batik industry, both in the form of dyes and bio paraffin products at “Malam” is expected to increase our devotion as Indonesian to batik which is a national heritage, and as well as to palm oil as Indonesia’s leading commodity which is very versatile and multipurpose.
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