A GROUP of wool classers turned up on the right day for a tour at the Victoria Wool Processors plant in Melbourne recently.
But if they had arrived a few days earlier when a piece of a nylon bale pack cap was found in a bale of lambs wool it might have been a different story.
The wool classers were on a recent AWEX Wool Pipeline Tour and VWP was the last stop after a visit to the AWTA and the wool auction rooms.
VWP general manager David Ritchie said the company has never filed a claim against a grower, but the discovery of the remains of a nylon wool pack cap sorely tested this record.
If the touring wool classers had arrived on the day the plant in suburban Melbourne came to a standstill for the contamination search, they might have found themselves put to work re-picking bales searching for bits of nylon.
“Tuesday was not a happy day here, you would have been glad you were not here,” Mr Ritchie said.
About 30 bales had to be opened up to check for more pieces of the pack cap, probably used as a bale divider by “someone being lazy”, he said.
“We completely stripped the plant down to find the rest of it.”
“I would say if we opened up a bale and found something like that now I reckon the owner would say we’re claiming,” he said.
“That probably cost us in the order of $15,000.”
The contamination was in a lambs line that VWP probably paid about $1500 a bale for, he said.
“This was in a 17.5 micron lambs we paid good money for.
“It should not have happened,” he said.
“We found it when it got to the finished product.
“I would say someone has cut the bottom out of a bale and used it as a divider of some sort.”
Mr Ritchie advised the classers to use newspapers for bale dividers, because it is removed during the drying and washing processes.
“But nylon survives all that.
“So that is definitely a no no.”
VWP is Australia’s largest domestic wool processor, running a state-of-the-art carbonising and scouring plant 24 hours a day 7 days per week at Laverton North. It processes its own wool and offers a commission processing service for local and international traders, and to top makers.