What is it?
Cotton Incorporated’s Product Evaluation Laboratory (PEL) provides a wide range of standard fiber, yarn, fabric and product tests in support of internal research and marketing efforts and for the cotton breeders working through Cotton Incorporated’s Agricultural Research Division programs. The PEL has two testing and evaluation labs: a conditioning and testing lab where all fiber, yarn and fabric testing is performed and a product care lab where evaluations such as laundering are performed. The standard tests performed are those recognized by the American Association of Textile Chemists and Colorists (AATCC) and the American Society for Textile Materials (ASTM). Many of these tests are similar to the International Standardization Organization (ISO) standard test methods. The PEL technicians participate in testing proficiency programs sponsored by both the AATCC and the ASTM. The PEL is not a certified testing laboratory; therefore, testing services are not generally provided to outside companies.
PEL provides fiber testing via the HVI® line for cotton breeders and for the USDA calibration process. Throughout the year, the USDA sends calibration samples in batches of 220 to the PEL. The PEL is the only non-USDA lab to participate in the testing program. The samples are tested twice over two consecutive days to assist the USDA in determining values assigned to the Universal HVI® Calibration Cottons, which are available for sale to mills worldwide.
For breeder samples, the PEL initially provides HVI® testing so breeders can use the information on average fiber length, strength and micronaire for determining breeder lines under development that should be carried forward through the next generation. Once initial selections are made, additional testing is provided via the USTER® AFIS PRO units. These units measure length distribution, short fiber content, fineness, maturity ratio and nep count—additional information the breeders use to further select the best lines.
Who does the testing?
The PEL staff is qualified to perform standard textile test methods. The PEL staff has earned certificates from the AATCC after successful completion of training workshops. Other certificates of training from equipment manufacturers have been earned at specialized training workshops. The PEL staff includes individuals who are active members of the ASTM, AATCC or both standard organizations.