Suddenly, our ground floor has really come together and around every corner looms an enormous machine.
It’s been a hive of activity over the last week, as teams of technicians and engineers build the high-tech equipment for our cleaning and preparation floor.
Our Group Spinning Manager Paul Storah, who has worked in some of the world’s largest cotton mills over the last 32 years, says it’s taking shape to be the most advanced and efficient cotton production mill anywhere.
The key machinery for our blowroom, where our cotton goes after it has been opened, is all pretty much in place.
Paul says one of the special things about English Fine Cottons’ blowroom is the presence of the pre-cleaner (Cleanomat CL-U), which many other mills choose not to use.
“It means we can do a more thorough clean if it’s required and we can also work with dirtier cottons.
“Most producers tend to use the cheapest materials available and improve the quality with their processes, but we intend to source the best cottons and some of this, such as organic cottons, will naturally need more cleaning.”
Once the cotton has been through the pre-cleaning process it then goes to the Universal Mixer, which can blend up to 1200kgs of cotton an hour.
In its six chambers, the machine will mix the cotton from a number of different bales to create a truly homogenous blend, and although that is it’s main purpose, our mixer also has a gentle cleaning capacity.
After this, it’s over to the CLU, a brand-new type of machine which does the job of two older ones, extracting dust and debris from the blended cotton and further cleaning it.
Next up it’s the Foreign Part Separator (SP-FPU) which houses a microscopic camera to take pictures of the blend and detects and removes foreign fibres, even colourless ones.
“But what’s really special about our ground floor is where the cotton goes to next – our carding machines,” says Paul.
The carding machines disentangle the fibres using millions of metal teeth and ours have the largest active carding area available.
“These machines were only seen for the first time in October, they are the most modern, most efficient carding machines you can get.
“I’ve worked in cotton mills for a long time, from sixties vintage mills to more modern operations, and although the principles have always been the same, the capabilities of modern machinery are amazing.
“Years ago you could put eight kilos of cotton through a carding machine an hour, now you could do 160 if you wanted to, and the results would be better.”