John & Susan Merrell
41390 Hwy 226
Scio, OR 97374
503-551-7219 (cell)
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OFDA 100

The OFDA 100 is an image analysis system recognized with a Test Method from the IWTO (International Wool Textile Organization). Developed with research support from several international organizations, and debuting in 1991, the OFDA has become a common way of automatically measuring fiber diameter distribution.

OFDA 100 can be used at all stages of the wool processing pipeline, from fleece to yarn and fabric. It is used to measure a variety of fibers, including cashmere, mohair, alpaca and certain synthetic fibers.

An automatic microscope set above a moving sample of fibers, The OFDA 100 magnifies and captures images of the individual fibers using a video camera, and then, using sophisticated computer imaging software, identifies and measures each fiber. Its manufacturer claims to measure individual fibers to a resolution of 1 micron, and to calculate the combined mean diameter and standard deviation to a resolution of 0.01 micron.

The OFDA 100 is capable of measuring fiber curvature - an advantage over the Sirolan Laserscan.  There remains a great deal of debate over the relevance of this measurement however, particularly in regards to alpaca and other specialty fibers. 

The OFDA 100 measures 2mm fiber snippets from a clean scoured sample. Obtaining 2mm samples requires that the fiber be cut using a knife or guillotine.  Testing requires an environmentally controlled room to insure that temperature and humidity are maintained constant across different samples.

OFDA 100's histogram data include the mean fiber diameter, standard deviation (SD), coefficient of variation (CV), prickle factor (PF) and spinning fineness.

The OFDA 100 is probably of most use in commercial operations, since it supplies limited data of use to the alpaca owner wanting to make informed breeding decisions.  However, when used to confirm the quality of graded bales of fiber it provides excellent confirmation for both the buyer and seller.

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"Mrs. McGregor, hot but triumphant in a petticoat that crackled like brittle ice beneath her black alpaca skirt and a pair of white cotton gloves at the fingers of which she was continually tugging..."

- Sara Bassett
Carl and the Cotton Gin
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