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    Rights: The University of Waikato
    Published 31 May 2010 Referencing Hub media

    When AgResearch transfer the NEC technology, the companies producing the fabric send them a sample for testing. AgResearch use a Woolmark Company test to test the fabric. Research Associate Carolyn Piper explains the test performed for shrinkage. NEC fabrics are designed to shrink no more than 3% so the fabric sample is measured, given the equivalent of 50 machine washes and remeasured.

    Questions to consider:

  • The Woolmark Company test is a ‘standard’ test that is internationally recognised. What are the advantages of using an internationally recognised test such as this?
  • Why would a standard test have been set up initially?
  • What may be involved in establishing a standard test method?
  • Acknowledgement:
    Australian Wool Innovation Ltd. (AWI)

    Carolyn Piper (AgResearch
    When the fabric is finished, we test it to make sure that it doesn't shrink more than 3%, which is our goal. It’s given a standard Woolmark Company test that we use here on a particular machine. It’s washed 5 times, but each 5 cycles is equivalent to 10 domestic washes. Before it’s washed, it’s marked across the weft and the warp of the fabric with little dots, and these are measured, and then after every wash, they are measured again, so we can determine how much it’s shrunk between washes.

    This piece of fabric here has had the equivalent of 50 machine washes. We also sew a cuff or fold a piece onto the sample so we can capture the cuff shrinkage test as well. These are both NEC fabrics. We have transferred the technology to many companies overseas, and when the technology is transferred, we get a piece of their fabric to test here, and it’s to determine whether they are following the specifications.

    This one here, of course, is a pass. So these people here have actually followed the instructions to the letter. This one here is a fail. This is what we call cuff-edge shrinkage. You can see from the difference in size how much it’s shrunk compared to this one here.