The washing process is carried out in five tubs. In each tub there are large ”forks” which, as they rotate, convey the wool through water. There are wringers mounted on each tub through which the wool is pressed so that the wash water runs back into the tub as the wool is moved on to the next tub. The water in the tubs is maintained at different temperatures depending on which step of the process the wool is going through.
After washing, the wool is blown through to the drying room where it is processed through two different drying machines before it is conveyed to the warehouse where there is a large stationary wool press. When the wool has been laid in for a few day to restore elasticity, it is pressed into bales for logistic purposes and for less space-intensive handling. The bales are the same sizes as straw bales and weight 200-400 kg.
Ullkontoret’s scouring facility is not only Gotland’s largest, it is also the largest wool scouring facility in all of Sweden. The wool is scrubbed on a smaller scale at some spinneries, but most wool that is collected is sent to the UK of Belgium for scrubbing. So, since Ullkontoret was established in 2016 wool can be scrubbed locally.
This is how it started...
When we moved to Gotland in 2010 we discovered that a large quantity of wool was sheered every year that was not used. Because our farm in Endre has several large machine sheds, we started to wonder if we could launch a facility where we could purify wool for building material...
Whatever ideas we may have had, we finally concluded that the wool would first have to be scrubbed and, keeping in mind the amount of wool produced on the island (ca 100 tons per year), our enterprise had to be large scale. This is why we decided to focus on a wool scouring business: the first step in all wool processing. And on a large scale.
After thowing various ideas around, we travelled to Turkey and Italy, and looked at new and used wool processing facilities. Then, in the spring of 2013, we happened upon a used washing facility in Spain of just the right size, so we went there and had a look. This facility had a capacity of up to 3 tons per day and was an older model with sturdy iron details. We jumped on it, and in September of the same year we returned to the site to dissassemble the equipment, and packed it for transport shipped in three large containers. It took three years to reassemble the equipment! Machines had to be assembled, checked, adjusted and tested. We also had to construct another building for drying and to raise the roof in the washing facility. In the autmn of 2016, we scrubbed the first wool!
We have been buying wool from the farmers of Gotland since 2015, and we have built up a large store of wool that we are curently procssing. At the same time we are working to spread and share information with the association of Swedish Wool Producers, so that now it is possible to get guaranteed Swedish wool in large quantities for those who want to produce a completely Swedish wool product.