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Beyond the Bale : Aug - Sep 08
21 OUTDOORS BEYOND THE BALE Retro look relies on up-to-the-minute technology I By Rebecca Thyer t is a job many of the staff at one of Australia’s oldest sportswear manufacturers, Netti Atom, are always keen to sign up to – product testing new ranges of the company’s cycling apparel. Head designer Brendon Marczan says product testing is a crucial part of his brief and it helps that many of the company’s staff are keen cyclists willing to test products in real-world conditions, whether on short commutes or long rides. Recently, Netti’s product testers tried out the company’s latest range called ‘Cinettica’. Created for elite athletes, it uses Sportwool™ in its retro-styled cycling tops. MrMarczan says the company always has about a dozen people riding in new gear to test aspects such as moisture wicking, comfort and itch. Triathletes and other professional cyclists also wear the tops, which allows Netti to understand how the product performs when wet. “And products are tested around the country because they need to be just as comfortable inTasmania as they are in Queensland,” he says. Other product tests include placing weights in the back pockets – used by cyclists to carry water and energy bars – to test the cycling tops’ strength. MrMarczan says this is especially important when using Sportwool™. “We use different needles to work with Sportwool™, so we need to make sure that pockets don’t pull off.” Sportwool™ is an important fabric for Netti, he says, because it gives good performance benefits, but also fits consumer demand for natural fibres. “Consumers want natural fibres, but also all the benefits they are accustomed to from synthetic materials.That’s why Sportwool™ is so good – you get the best of two fibres.” Developed byCSIRO and The Woolmark Company, Sportwool™ brings two fibres together. An inside layer of extra-fine Merino wool against the skin provides qualities such as body-moisture absorption, while the outside synthetic layer provides important dyeing capabilities and durability. Netti has been using Sportwool™ since its inception and did some of the original benchmark testing withCSIRO/Woolmark, so it was a natural fit to use it in its retro range of Cinettica-branded tops, launched last year. MrMarczan says that although the tops performexceptionally well, he is continually looking for improvement and is working withAWI’s Sportwool™ business manager GlennRenshaw on new product lines. “We would like to get a fabric that incorporates more lycra, to give it more grip. It would be good to have a stronger hold so that the garment does not flap around, giving better aerodynamics. It is something we are working on together.” MrMarczan says the company also wants something lighter for the summer months. “And this is quite a task. We did come up with a fabric with Glenn, but it didn’t work at the factory.We are continuing to develop ideas together. Using wool can affect sales in climates like that of Queensland, so it would be good to lighten the weight even more.” More information:www.netti.com.au Skin Heat transfer occurs via mass transfer of vapour Chemical attraction quickly draws vapour molecules through fabric thus reducing possibility of condensation ú Micro-climate Moisture vapour Netti’s ‘Cinettica’ range uses Sportwool™ Cool clothes for a hard day’s work By Rebecca Thyer A in its retro-styled cycling tops. cold beer at the end of the day used to be de rigeur for Australian workers looking to cool down after a hot, hard day’s work. Now, with a range of high-tech workwear that can stop the wearer from getting hot, that cooling cold ale might not be needed. Yakka has introduced a product range called ‘Hard Yakka Koolgear’, Cool and dry Each of the fibres that make up Woolscience™ fabric creates an electrical attraction between the water vapour molecules and the internal chemical structure of wool. This reaction quickly, and incredibly efficiently, draws the vapour through the fabric and out into the atmosphere. which uses innovative fabrics, such asThe Woolmark Company-developed Woolscience™, to help regulate body temperature in the most testing conditions. The Woolscience™ fabric is a further development of the Sportwool™ technology, developed byCSIRO and The Woolmark Company. It combines wool’s insulation and wicking attributes with hard-wearing polyester to offer comfort and performance: extra-fine Merino transfers sweat or ‘moisture vapour’ away from the skin through a quick-drying polyester layer.An electrical attraction between water vapour molecules and the internal chemical structure of wool quickly and efficiently draws the vapour through the fabric and out into the atmosphere. Yakka launched the range in 2006-07 following research that showed heat stress was a major factor affecting workers and their productivity during the summer. Brand manager Laura Downey says heat stress occurs when the body is unable to transfer heat away from the body fast enough. “The resultant stress on the body can affect the ability to concentrate and work for extended periods, but can also have personal health and other occupational health and safety implications.” An added benefit of Koolgear Woolscience™ clothing is that the garments have a high sun protection rating (UPF 50+) and incorporate a mixture of underarm and upper body mesh cooling vents.They help the wearer stay cool and dry by generating airflow to the body, quickly evaporating perspiration. The range can be tailored to the requirements of workwear, SportwoolTM safety and military uses. Features such as high visibility, fire retardancy and anti-static properties can be incorporated as required. “Woolscience™ provides comfort and protection that helps keep the wearer cool and dry when working under extreme heat or endurance conditions,”MsDowney says. “Endurance and performance are helped through wool’s ability to manage vapour and thermal changes, keeping the user more comfortable in hot, or cold, climates and conditions, allowing themto work harder for longer.” She says Yakka is proud to be leading the way with its Koolgear Woolscience™ garments. “The strength of the fabric was one of the reasons why Yakka incorporated this fabric into the Hard Yakka Koolgear range. Another reason is that Woolscience™ is efficient at transferring body heat into vapour and drawing it quickly away from the skin, thus keeping you cool and dry.” AWI’s Sportwool™ business manager Glenn Efficient dispersal into atmosphere Moisture vapour contained in the side chain reservoirs within wool fibre (before being released into the atmosphere), thus keeping fabric dry Renshaw says that having worked with the Yakka team on the Koolgear range, he is looking forward to working with themagain on further new developments and product testing opportunities. More information:www.yakka.com.au ú PHOTO:DAMIEN PLEMING
Jun - July 08
Oct - Nov 08