How to process the raw wool?

What is raw wool?

The raw wool is taken from the sheep skin by farmers, it contains oil, dirt, and vegetable matter.

Farmers shear the raw wool from sheep and put them into bags. Such raw wool can not be used directly, it needs to be washed first to remove the oil and dirt. So how do process the raw wool? There are ways to process the raw wool in the following:

Processing way

1. Washing/scoured wool

1) Workers open the bags and put raw wool together, and then let workers sort the wool by hand first, pick up the colored fiber, the big vegetable matter, etc.

2) After sorting the raw wool, it will be put into a water channel for the washing process. There are usually 5 water channels, put pure water into the first/fourth/ fifth water channel, and then put the washing agent for the second and third water channels. And then put the raw wool from the first water channel, then the second, the third channel…

3)After washing through the five water channels, the washed wool will be dry for packaging.

Wool scouring machine

2. Carded/combed wool

What is carded sheep wool?

The carded sheep wool is the wool that has been carded by a machine to separate the wool with different microns. After carding the wool, the length will be shorter than scoured wool around 1.5inch.

The process detail is as below:

1) Wash the wool with a scouring agent and then dry it

2) Put the scoured wool into the machine for carding

3) Put the first carded wool into the machine again, then card around 8-13 times

4) During the carded process, the wool is separated into different microns, put similar micron wool together, and then bleached or packed into a bale directly

Wool carding machine

3. Carbonized wool

What is carbonized wool?

Carbonized wool is wool that has been treated with the chemical process of acid souring, after this process, the wool will be removed from grease, and vegetable matter (seeds burs, and grass).

How do factories make carbonized processing, please check the details below:

1) First, put the wool fully into the water, and make sure all wool is in the water, this will help the second process

2) Put acid solution into the water for 3-5mins, to make sure that all wool will be dipped in

3) Depickling process, to remove the acid from the wool surface

4) Dry the wool, to make the vegetable matter dehydrated and turn crisp

5) Extruding the wool fully, the crisp vegetable matter will be smashed and fall down

6) Wash the wool to remove the extra acid

7) Dry the wool for packaging  

Wool scouring & carbonize line

4. Wool tops

What are wool tops?

The wool tops are a semi-processed product from wool, which are carded and combed to split the wool into thinner lengths. Usually, it is prepared for spinning. The wool top can be sorted into longer length tops, which is a good use for worsted yarn spinning, and also can be sorted into short length tops, which is a good use for woolen yarn spinning.

See the below process in detail:

1) Carded and combed the scoured wool first, this will remove the short-length fiber and vegetable matter

2) Gilling the wool, will make the wool mix well, and get the wool more evenness

3) Came the wool, this will remove short fibers and neps again, to make sure the wool top with good evenness

Wool top

Except for the above process for the raw wool, there are also some other processing methods, such as bleached white process, dyed colors process, and superwash process. We will share more details if people like to see them.

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