Our Wool Processing Plant

Modern Technology & Ancient Skills

The Ivili Loboya Wool Processing Hub is a 3500 square meter facility based at rural Ibika, near the town of Butterworth in the Eastern Cape Province, South Africa.  The establishment of the factory marks the revitalization of Butterworth with economic transformation driven by highly experienced industrialists, global researchers and market specialists. Central is the social entrepreneurial ethos led by the African woman Founder with practical appreciation of harmonization of profits with people and planet. The Ivili factory is well positioned to harvest from over 3 million communal sheep (majority women) farmers in the Eastern Cape. Of further value are the improved shearing facilities and flock management supported by the South African government, also facilitated by the National Wool Growers Association. The Ivili inclusive value chain model also draws from the well-established agricultural industry in South Africa known for consistently generating high quality, environmentally sound products for international markets.  The establishment of the BKB Butterworth wool supply hub also adds value to the diverse Ivili Woven and Non-Woven offering. The unique production approach is a combination of well-managed and directed, labour intensive, ecological sheep and goat farming (cashmere) by both communal and commercial farmers, and modern technological innovations that derive from local and global ancient skills and practices. This model is changing the current picture of export of 95% of South Africa’s grease wool. The Ivili Loboya plant builds on the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR Material Science and Manufacturing) research and incubation resulting in a collaboration agreement for advanced product development and commercialization of  wool and cashmere.

Production Process Overview

Wool Scouring The first step in wool processing is scouring. Wool is ‘opened’ through combing, then washed in modern machinery designed for this purpose.

Drying  After scouring, the wool fibre is dried and then processed.

Fibre Processing This involves, for instance, blending or mixing types of wool, dehairing of wool to improve quality and dyeing of wool in different colours.

Step 4: Raw Wool Products In the cashmere production process, wool which is combed from the goat is separated into Cashmere (downfibre) and dehaired waste. Each type of raw wool product is used in production of various items.
Once the wool has been processed, it is ready for use by textile manufacturers or, as in the case of Ivili Loboya, for producing insulation material, footwear insoles and high-value fashion or décor items. Below is an explanation of some of the options applied:
Producing Insulation One of the ways in which Ivili Loboya processes wool is by producing insulation. A Carding Machine is used to make insulation battings.
Spinning Of Wool Wool which is suitable for knitting or weaving is spun into yarn – either by hand or by a modern machine.
Knitting Of Garments High-value garments may be knitted of cashmere yarn or other wool yarns, either by hand or using a hi-tech knitting machine.