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Australian Inventions & Products

Si-ro-scour ( siroscour )

In the 1960s the CSIRO developed a wool-scouring machine that passed the fleece under high-pressure jets of detergent.  These removed the dirt, but did not damage the fibres


The Invention of Si-ro-scour

Si-ro-scour System
The AusTop scour is based on a development by
CSIRO called Siroscour. The advantages of this
system involve being able to produce a longer
cleaner Top and using considerably less water.

wool before siroscour
Wool before Siroscour Process

wool after siroscour
Wool after Siroscour Process

Aool straight from the sheep is greasy and dirty.  The wool must be scoured with chemicals before it can be turned into fibres for weaving.  Scouring was once a long, hard job, using huge vats and rakes. The wool fibres were often tangled and damaged. In the 1960, the CSIRO developed a wool-scouring machine that passed the fleece under high-pressure jets of detergent. These removed the dirt, but did not damage the fibres.

Scouring involves washing the wool to remove dirt, Lanolin/wax and other impurities.  Some of the vegetable matter is also removed when the wool is "opened".  Wool scouring is done by immersing wool in a hot water and detergent solution to remove dirt, suint (sheep sweat, basically potassium salts) and wool grease from the wool. The wool is transported through 'bowls' by rakes, then passes through a squeeze press at the end of each bowl.   A scour line consists of a number of bowls, with the first three used to 'scour' wool, and the remainder 'rinsing' the wool to remove as much foreign matter as possible.  Siroscour delivers cleaner, whiter wool, cuts pollution and turns wastes into resources.

The mechanics of scouring is relatively simple. The wool -immersed in scouring liquor -was moved through a series of bowls by long-tyned rakes. Greasy wool is delivered by a feed hopper into the first bowl which contained the soap-and-soda liquor at a temperature hot enough to melt the grease. The wool progresses through the bowl by mechanical action, arriving at the delivery end after one or two minutes, where it is mechanically lifted to a pair of squeeze rollers. From there it is fed to the second bowl. This also contains similar soap solution to the first bowl. Subsequent bowls are water rinses, and after the final bowl the wool goes to a dryer. Liquor flowes counter to the direction of travel of the wool, compensating for the abstraction of water by the scoured wool, as well as for the liquor carried away with the effluent.

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