Tilly our Training and Development winner visits the Wool Testing Authority (Europe) Lab
‘Wool Testing Authority (Europe)’ where kind enough to give me a tour of their facilities (which is the only facility of its like in the Northern Hemisphere)..
Courtney Pye who is the manager at the testing facility started our tour with a short presentation to give us a base understanding on what, why and how they carry out testing. This included the licences and procedures they must follow and what standards they must adhere to within accordance to, ‘IWTO’, ‘ILRT’, ‘UKAS’ and ‘Interwoollabs’. Following these guidelines, they can allocate certifications to each wool sample which allows buyers to have security on what they are buying, without a IWTO certificate bales of graded wool would be hugely devalued and difficult to sell due to lack of security for the buyer.
We next moved downstairs to the labs where the testing takes place. Firstly, all samples are weighted and allocated a number and bar code, this ID will follow the samples throughout all the testing process. All the samples must be washed and scoured before they are put through a test and two samples are used within each test to ensure an accurate result. Testing is then carried out to determine colour, wool micron, yield, grease content, vegetable matter, ash content etc. of which some of these tests take place in an atmospherically controlled room. We were also shown a ‘OFDA’ machine which was quite a simple way to test fibre micron even whilst the fibre is greasy, I found this particularly interesting as I think this would have a great impact on the wool industry for people interested in breeding programs for improving their flock’s fibre.
The tour of the facility really brought to light a lot for me and opened my eyes to so many processes I had no idea took place and the huge importance of the facility for the wool industry and how much testing goes into every bale of wool that we produce in the UK.Back to Blogs