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New Zealand carpet wool global success

Technology and innovation underpin New Zealand carpet wool global success

12 May 2005-- Success at two key international trade fairs has affirmed New Zealand wool’s status as a key component of premium-quality carpets.

Wool Interiors and many of their partners exhibited at both Domotex, the carpet industry’s flagship show in Germany and at Surfaces floor-covering trade fair in Las Vegas. On show were New Zealand wool innovations that attracted world wide attention.

“These shows represent a key opportunity to showcase New Zealand wool and new technical developments. Having a presence here is critical if we want to be taken seriously as a provider of technology and innovation to the global carpet sector. The cost of new product development is significant so it was rewarding to see the Wool Interiors stands attract such widespread interest from leading carpet yarn spinners and manufacturers from around the globe,” says New Zealand Trade and Enterprise (NZTE) client manager Maria Woods.

NZTE has been supporting Wool Interiors (part of Canesis Network Ltd and owners of the Wools of New Zealand brand) and their Network partners – New Zealand Wool Services International, H.Dawson, Wool NZ and Wrightson Ltd - for over three years and Woods says the local industry has exceeded all expectations.

“Innovations competitions organised by Wool Interiors at Domotex 2005 to launch new Wools of New Zealand branded products into the market and encourage innovation in the carpet industry had a great response,” says Ms Woods.

Feltex Carpets won Best Construction in the Wools of New Zealand Carpet Innovation Competition for their product ‘Soprano’ and Radford Yarn Technologies won Best Technical Yarn in the Wools of New Zealand Yarn Innovation Competition. This is an outstanding achievement given these competitions are open to leading carpet yarn spinners and carpet manufacturers from around the world.

Wool Interiors presented a number of new innovations to the global carpet industry including LanashieldTM – a significant breakthrough in stain protection for wool carpets. LanashieldTM is particularly effective against red food colouring, a major cause of staining for all fibres. A new non-wool development called ZeacrimpTM (a high bulk nylon) enables carpet manufacturers to use more lower-bulk wool New Zealand wool in 80/20 blend carpets, where previously they would have sourced higher bulk British wool.

Also promoted were the value-added wool products Strike!, a print prepared wool fibre promoted by H.Dawson, GlacialTM, super clean, bright NZ wool promoted by New Zealand Wool Services International and a product promoted by Wrightson, WoolsoftTM, a soft handle NZ wool carpet made from middle micron wools not normally used in carpets.

New Zealand growers, via the New Zealand Wool Board and more lately via Meat & Wool New Zealand, have supported R&D investment through Canesis Network (and previously through the Wool Research Organisation of New Zealand - WRONZ)

“Having new innovations showcased at both these very important international trade fairs is a critical part of keeping wool in front of the international interior textile industry,” says Meat & Wool New Zealand Wool Portfolio Manager, Kelvin Whall.

Working in partnership with Wool Interiors, NZTE and others in the value chain to build demand for wool is also a key area of strategy development for Meat & Wool New Zealand.

“It is about creating a point of difference for New Zealand wool in the marketplace and more importantly keeping pace with our synthetic competitors who invest heavily in R& D,” says Whall.

Business manager for Wool Interiors, Tim Lonsdale, agrees that research and development is a vital element in the mix to maintain the interest of key wool users internationally

“New Zealand wool is very substitutable so we need to keep generating reasons for users to keep specifying New Zealand wool. Part of the answer is R&D but there are a number of other critical success factors including maintaining strong trade linkages.

Increasingly environmental issues are becoming important particularly in the USA and Europe. Man-made fibre producers are investing heavily to establish ‘green’ credentials. As a natural, renewable resource, wool has inherent natural advantages in this area but we need to communicate these to retailers and specifiers. This is a key activity of Wool Interiors,” says Lonsdale.

New Zealand wool is valued by carpet yarn spinners and carpet manufacturers because it is relatively clean and white enabling the manufacture of fashionable colours which tend to be in lighter shades and increasingly brighter pastels.

ENDS


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