Scouring and combing
At Cape of Good Hope Wool Combers, the wool is inspected prior to the first step in processing, which is termed scouring. The scouring process involves moving the raw greasy wool through a series of temperature-controlled wash-bowls to soak, clean and rinse it
Wool grease is also extracted from the water at this stage by means of specialised machinery. This is then sold by the mill as a by-product. The wool is then dried at a fairly high temperature, before moving on to the next step in processing, which is termed carding.
The carding process involves running the wool through a series of pinned rollers running counter to one another, in order to straighten out the fibres and remove the major vegetable matter. The carding machine produces a ‘web’ of fibres, which is then formed into what is termed a carded sliver. This carded sliver is then blended with others, run through the preparation gills, and formed into bobbins ready for combing.
Twelve of these bobbins are then loaded onto each combing machine, which blends the slivers while combing them so that they lie perfectly parallel, removing short fibres (noils) and any vegetable matter remaining in the wool in the process.
Further blending is then achieved by combining slivers from various combs and running them through a further set of preparation gills. These prepared slivers are then, in turn, combined to produce the finished product in the form of a bump, which weighs in the region of ten kilograms. A number of these bumps are then packed into a high-density press and strapped up to form a bale.
Quality control testing is performed at every stage of processing, and certificates of the various measurements and weights are issued by our ISO 17025 certified and Interwoollab accredited laboratory.
Cape of Good Hope Woolcombers – adding value to South African wool.