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Herculan – a new future for coarse wool

Opening the door for wool to be used in high abrasion and high impact zones in apparel.

29th March 2022

Innovation in Textiles
 |  New Zealand

Clothing/​Footwear, Sports/​Outdoor

TMC, the New Zealand-based owner of Nuyarn spinning technology, is introducing Herculan, which combines the performance benefits of wool coupled with unmatched durability and sustainability for the apparel sector.

A result of more than three years of R&D, Herculan is a patented technology that was developed by making modifications to TMC’s proprietary Nuyarn spinning machines, enabling them to accommodate strong wool – the coarsest and most durable grade of wool fibre at above 38 microns. Historically, this wool has been only for flooring and upholstery, with a low market value, During recent years it has often been cost-prohibitive to process, package and ship, and therefore discarded into landfills.

According to the International Wool Textile Organisation (IWTO) it is estimated that anywhere from 40-50% of the global wool yield is such coarse wool. With TMC’s new technology, these coarse long wool fibres are drafted around a performance filament, creating an extremely fine yarn – Herculan – which pound for pound, outlasts some of the industry’s leading synthetic textiles in the Martindale abrasion tests.

Due to its unique durability and performance benefits, Herculan opens the door for wool to be used in high abrasion and high impact zones in apparel such as socks, footwear, gloves, pants, outerwear, and many other potential applications, without succumbing to wear. In addition to its extreme durability, Herculan has significantly better performance and comfort benefits to both natural twisted wool textiles and synthetic fibre – efficient moisture management and quicker dry times, higher volume, aeration, elasticity and thermal retention. It is also non-reflective, quiet and naturally odor-resistant.

Lke Nuyarn, Herculan’s unique yarn construction is built by drafting carpet wool around a performance filament without twisting or fraying.

“We are incredibly excited to be introducing Herculan,” said TMC CEO Andy Wynne. There is nothing like it on the market and it meets the needs of consumers, who want more sustainable and durable natural fibres in their garments, while also creating new potential categories for performance and technical apparel brands.

 “When we first started working to transition carpet wool into the apparel sector, everyone thought we were crazy because it has never been done before. But we had a vision and were determined, and ultimately our team found the solution. The durability, performance, and comfort results speak for themselves.

“Sustainable manufacturing processes like Herculan which take advantage of materials that are often cast aside simplify supply chains and encourage end-users to waste less by making natural fibre garments that last longer and have performance comfort benefits.

“Herculan is the total package. We took an underutilized and overabundant natural fiber and turned it into a durable yarn to meet the abrasion demands that only synthetic fibres could previously meet, all while increasing the natural performance benefits of wool.”

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