While the use of wool is becoming increasingly popular, the original production process is not environmentally sound. But at the Outdoor exhibition in Germany, the Schoeller Spinning Group won the Outdoor Industry Award 2013 GOLD with its chlorine-free EXP 4.0 machine-washable treatment. Schoeller, a global supplier of worsted yarns with a commitment to ecological sustainability, was selected winner out of 316 innovations. The EXP method makes it possible to produce machine-washable wool without using chlorine in the manufacturing process. Wool has a rough surface, and fibres do not sit uniformly, they snag when they contact one another.
Picture 1 show that wool needs to be treated in order to prevent felting from happening in warm, humid environments. During the traditional anti-felting treatment process shown in picture 2, chlorinated wool fibres would be coated with a wash-resistant film; a process that consumes pollutants. The new final EXP outcome in picture 3, is a process that completely avoids the use of chlorine and employs natural salts as an oxidization agent.
Schoeller is calling EXP (which stands for “EX-Pollution”) a “rev-WOOL-ution”. This process is so important because wool is undergoing a revival as a natural and sustainable fibre and therefore, its in high demand. Consumers are also more conscious of the sustainability of the product they are buying and how the product can affect the environment during its life cycle. Clients will be happy to buy a fibre that uses less resources than conventional processes. The EXP treatment is used in making: functional yarns (PROGRESS EXP 3.0, CAPE EXP, ACTIVE, ACTIVE EXP, OUTLAST® BALANCE EXP), hoisery yarns ICAPE EXP, ZEFIR EXp, LORD 80 EXP, LORD 90 EXP) and industrial enciel yarns (ACTIVE EXP, LORD EXP, SUN EXP).