The long process of making Wool Serge Cloth starts by feeding the raw blended wool into the 'Carding Machine'. The process then moves ahead with Spinning of the thread, its Weaving, Washing, Flameproofing and dying. Once these processes are complete, the final fabric is tested, inspected, packed and shipped to the customer.
Carding:The process of 'Carding' the wool is a time-consuming job. The raw wool fiber is entered into the 70meter long path in the carding machine. Then bundles of the matted blend are teased out slowly into straight lines by various smart combing devices until a weak un-spun yarn called slubbing is made. Slubbing is then rolled onto accepting drums called 'Bobbins' at the far end of the machine. The process goes on with Spinning.
Spinning:The 'Spinning' process starts by placing Bobbins of this delicate fiber on the spinning machine. Many ends are tied to wooden spindles on the spinning carriage. The spinning carriage works back and forward. The fiber is drawn from the bobbins each time the spinning carriage moves back. As the spinning carriage moves forward, a mechanism turns the spindle, twisting the fibers into a strong spun yarn.
This process continues until the spindle cops are full. The full cops are then removed, and an empty set takes their place. The yarn processed on the spindle cops has to be transferred to large cones, as the modern weaving technology requires much longer lengths than a spindle cop can provide. Once the yarn is transferred to the cones, they are taken to the weaving plant to weave the wool cloth.
Weaving:The Wool Cloth is made on a weaving machine or a loom as we may call it. The weaving process involves placing two sets of threads or yarn called the warp and weft of the loom and turning them into cloth. The weft cones can be used directly on the loom. These threads run across the width of the loom. The warp threads must be in continuous length in accordance with the desired length of the piece to be made and so have to be transferred from the cones to a 'Beam'.
Before being placing on the beam, the yarn is transferred to a very large drum which is called 'Balloon'. Each length of yarn is carefully wound onto the balloon, with great care being taken not to twist lengths on top of each other. From the balloon, the yarn, now in correct length, is transferred under equal tension to the 'Beam' which is then fitted to the loom to produce the warp.
Each thread from the beam is taken and tied through the loom on to a 'heald'. The row of healds determines the start of the cloth. The weft thread, which comes straight from a cone, is attached to the shuttle which moves at a high speed across the width of the loom, traveling over and under each of the warp threads. The healds rise & fall to allow the shuttle to weave its way across between them (weaving).
After each crossing of the shuttle, a comb squeezes the weft hard against the end of the warps and the heals reverse position so the shuttle can return, continuing the process. The shuttle can make up to 300 passes each minute, so weaving 10cm of cloth every minute.
The raising/lowering sequence of warp threads gives rise to many possible weave structures from the simplest plain weave to complex interlacing.
The woven cloth is then wounded on a roller that is placed at the back of the loom. The cloth roll is removed when full, then taken for 'finishing'.
Finishing:The finishing process starts with a complicated chemical washing procedure which is controlled by a computer. In the machine, the cloth is passed over rollers & between guides which have been set to reduce the width and increase the thickness of the cloth as well as wash it. Cloth passes through this system in continuous loops for a precise time.
After this, the cloth goes in for dying. The wool is dyed and durably flameproofed as to maintain its flame-retardancy, even after dry-cleaning.
After dying, the wool cloth is passed through a drying machine under tension to ensure a regular width and finish. The final step is testing and inspection.