Wool is a natural fibre, usually soft and curly. Wool obtained from sheep is called virgin wool and is the only fibre that can be subject to phenomena like fulling and felting. Warm to the touch, elastic but resistant, wool has remarkable thermal insulation properties and is really comfortable to wear.
That’s why we would like to promote its use in modern life. But in order to encourage widespread use we have to first solve the felting problem: an irreversible phenomenon that slowly degrades wool garments and dissuades consumers.

Felting can be regarded as the opposite of Fulling.
Fulling is a process carried out in a wet environment combining mechanical action and temperature parameters in a controlled manner to increase substrate thickness to a desired degree. It is a deliberately sought outcome.
Felting is an unwanted phenomenon that occurs when fulling parameters are not controlled, for example as happens during a domestic washing machine cycle.
Wool fibres are hydrophobic in nature, so in a wet environment they tend to compact, getting closer to each other. This causes garment shrinkage.
Thanks to the atmospheric plasma treatment we can achieve innovative properties.
Plasma treatments act on the wool fibre, modifying its structure at the nano-metric level and generating three main results:

  • Strengthening the grip between the scales the fibres are made of;
  • Increasing the yarn’s tensile strength;
  • Hydrophylisation of the fibres.
  • Furthermore, we can take advantage of other important results:

  • Decrease in pilling effect propensity;
  • Reduction in dyeing time (about 15 minutes) and dyeing temperature (to about 20° C) due to the wool wettability increase;
  • Significant reduction in scouring time with consequent decrease in water use, to the benefit of the environment;
  • The possibility to create a new intermediate product between carded and combed wool.
  • All achieved without losing conventional wool’s main characteristics.
    At this phase of the project, three main points are worth mentioning:
    Staff selection – the staff is highly trained and constantly updated on national project progress;
    Machine installation at Olimpias plant, near Prato – we chose an environment enabling us to spin wool in a controlled atmosphere with a dedicated area for the chimney with the ozone abatement device;
    Dissemination Plan – we are putting the development of this aspect into the hands of Fabrica, Benetton Group’s communication and research centre.
    Regarding this last point, the following actions are being planned:

  • A brochure to be handed out in stores;
  • The preparation of a corner in the “Galli Filati” stand during the “Pitti Filati” event;
  • A high-level strategy for the launch of the new product;
  • The selection of guests to invite to the presentation;
  • Finding an appropriate location for the launch (for example “Milano Unica”);
  • Coordinating the presentation conference of the new product;
  • Provision of communication material required for the “Pitti Filati” event market test.
    “This publication has been produced with the assistance of the European Union. The contents of this publication are the sole responsibility of Benetton Group and can in no way be taken to reflect the views of the European Union”