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THE AUSTRALIAN ALPACA ASSOCIATION
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Our 13 pieces of machinery are state of the art and designed to maximise your processing options.
Processing in the mini mill is similar to other processing methods but on a smaller scale. The advantage of the mini mill is that breeders can have their own fibre, including single fleeces, returned as high quality products. Clients have the opportunity to select from a wide range of top quality products in small quantities. Larger orders of batched or blended fleeces can also be processed.
On arrival, each fleece is registered and its incoming weight recorded. A small sample of each fleece is kept as a reference point and a worksheet is completed which stays with the fleece on its journey through the mill, creating accurate records at each step.
We have recently introduced testing the diameter of each incoming fleece using the Fibrelux micron meter. Fleeces are tumbled to remove dirt, second cuts and vegetable matter before being washed for a period of at least three hours, then dried in preparation for processing.
Processing includes picking, separating, carding, drafting, spinning, plying, steaming and winding into balls or skeins.
Paddock to Fibre -
The first stage in the process is tumbling.
The tumbler is designed as a mechanical skirting aide.
It tumbles and opens the fleece to release dirt, vegetation, shorter fibres, and guard hair.
Following tumbling, your fleece will be carefully washed over a period of four hours.
The gentle wash system will soak, wash, rinse and spin up to 3 kilos of fleece in a single operation. We use rain water to wash and eco-
Grey water is used to irrigate our surrounding lawns and gardens.
Fleeces are dried overnight on our custom-
As part of our quality control system, each fleece is tested for diameter using the FibreLux micron meter.
In the next stage, the Picker teases out tangles and opens the fibre to produce & aid consistency in further processing.
The fibre is tossed into a collection room where conditioning oils are applied.
The Separator gently separates unwanted coarse guard hair, vegetable matter and other contamination from the fine fibre.
The unwanted materials are collected in cages underneath while the cleaned and combed fibre is collected from the output end.
The Carder is the heart of a fibre mill. It separates randomly placed fibres from each other and individually aligns these fibres, presenting them in the form of a continuous web at the output end.
This web is collected and formed into rovings or batts.
After carding, rovings are drafted and combed to align the fibres and to ensure consistency along its entire length.
After drafting the fibre stream is twisted into a finished single strand of yarn on and collected onto bobbins.
Three or more strands are then twisted together on the plying platform to create the yarn.
Under slight tension the yarn is drawn through a steam chamber and then a drying tube, setting the ply and twist.
Steaming relaxes the yarn, evening out any tensions created during the spinning and plying processes.
Finally, the finished product is wound into balls or skeins.
Your yarn can be provided in either weight (grams) or units of length (metres).
Finished yarn balls or skeins.