An update on the long Hauteur project

In the May 1999 issue of The Wool Press we reported preliminary results from a project aimed at determining whether or not the belief that longer-stapled wools perform poorly in early and late-stage processing is sound. The results of these trials indicated clearly that longer wools produced less romaine after carding and combing. We can now report that such wools also performed better in spinning and weaving.

In October 1999, representatives of the mills met with researchers in Perth. The spinners agreed that in all trials the long Hauteur wool performed at least as well as conventional length top, and in some cases proved to be a much more efficient performer. The number of ‘ends down’, that is yarn breaks in spinning, was reduced substantially in most mills using longer wools of 18.5 and 20.5 micron diameter. It was found necessary to adjust machinery settings for longer wools but no changes to spinning frames were made.

A total of eight pairs of fabrics from three of the mills have now been objectively and subjectively compared. The paired comparison was with a wool of normal length but the same diameter, except in one case, where the wool was 1mm finer. The judging panels and measurements were in good agreement and showed that, although the fabrics were nearly identical, those from longer fibres were slightly preferred in terms of ‘silky softness’ but not as much as 1mm finer fibres.

The final report is still in preparation, however, the key result is that the results were broadly consistent with the stated advantages of longer wools. The mill that did not observe a clear advantage is undertaking further trials. An additional result was that one mill spun two fine count knitting yarns and observed very much improved performance in terms of reduced breaks in knitting. A list of potential suppliers of long Hauteur tops has been given to mills, most of whom appear to have sought further supplies, but seem to have had difficulty in coming to suitable arrangements.

As expected, the mills did not encounter detrimental effects from the high or low CV(H) values of the two wools. However, the strong industry beliefs in the importance of CV(H) are still penalising long wools by not allowing them to be of lower staple strength or to be blended with shorter wools. A follow-up project to address CV(H) issues has been prepared.

Quotes from cooperating mills:

Lanificio Fratelli Cerruti 1881:
“Our company was well impressed by the results and performance from the long Hauteur wool in spinning.We are wishing for similar performance in the remaining important stages of the fabric-making process which will provide final proof that longer Hauteur wools can reach our quality level.”

Fabrica de Casmires Rivetex:
“We obtained better spinning results with only one lot and very similar values in the other.We want to conduct several more trials in order to measure and analyse wastage in each step,higher spinning speeds,efficiency in spinning and weaving and if less twist can be used.”

“We were delighted to collaborate with other international mills and learnt a lot from the trial.The results were better than expected,and spinning ends down were very good.We are seeking to know more about the limits possible using longer fibres.”

“We had very good results in yarn properties and spinning performance,but can ’t yet say for fabric and garment properties.We see this trial as big advantage for wool research.”

“Long Hauteur wool produces good quality yarn and improved handle of the fabric.”

In this issue of The Wool Press: