The growing importance of quality in international trade is visible from the global appearance of more accredited laboratories in all fields for reliable quality reports, including cotton fibers. The quality assessment of cotton fibers through objective measurement by High volume instrument needs calibration using the Standard Reference Material (SRM), popularly known as ‘Calibration Cotton’.
Traditionally the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has been supplying “Calibration cotton” all over the world. Considering the need of the country and with long experience in the field of cotton fiber quality assessment, ICAR sanctioned a project under revolving fund scheme to develop a standard reference material for cotton fibers. Since 1997, ICAR-CIRCOT manufactured & the Calibration Cotton for ICC mode of operation having the traceability at par with the USDA standards. Keeping the pace with Industrial needs, ICAR-CIRCOT is now manufacturing Calibration Cotton for both ICC and HVI modes of testing for High Volume Instrument.
The Calibration of Instruments (HVI) with standard reference material (SRM: “CALIBRATION COTTON”) is warranted to meet the requirements of ISO 9000 standards and ISO/IEC 17025:199 and to get accreditations from the accreditation body. This Standards Reference Material increases confidence in testing and reliability of test results. The selection of high quality raw material and process optimization will lead to higher profitability. Unnecessary arbitration between buyer & seller can be avoided by the acceptance of test results. Improved quality as well as process performance by adopting correct machine settings due to reliable results obtained from the calibrated instrument. Accuracy can be ensured by using genuine standard cotton and adjusting the tolerance level to the minimum possible limits. By proper calibration, the measured value can be brought as close to the true value.
ICAR-CIRCOT is supplying indigenously prepared cotton as reference material to spinning mills, cotton trading houses and various other organisations. Calibration cotton is supplied in a packet containing about 200 g of fibres, uniquely coded and labeled with various important fibre properties like span length, uniformity, micronaire, 3.2 mm gauge tenacity etc. It is expected that the inter packet variability in fibre properties be as low as possible so that the particular lot of reference material serves the need of many users simultaneously. Further, a user may ask for reference cotton with particular length or micronaire or strength value or their combination and as supplier ICAR-CIRCOT is able to supply it from its available stock with a minimum variation.
IMPACT OF THE TECHNOLOGY
The Institute has been able to create a customer base of more than 350 satisfied users with both the quality and service as gauged by their repeat orders. The users are from Government agencies, Private companies and Research Institutes. Overseas buyers from Italy also purchased this standard reference material. This product has not only served as replacement of import substitute but also a foreign exchange earner.
ICAR-CIRCOT has sold around 11500 boxes of 200 gm each amounting to Rs.70,00,000/-, approximately from 1997 to 2016. The foreign exchange that got saved is USD 1,15,000/- and also the hassles of importing is avoided. The trade and industry is moving from subjective assessment of quality to objective assessment for cotton transactions. As the plans are at the anvil to test as many bales as possible of the annual production of around 340 lakh bales and installation of more number of HVI equipment, the relevance of ICAR-CIRCOT Calibration Cotton is at the rise.
Calibration Cotton is an important import substitute and impact the income of large number of textile mills in India and abroad. As an indigenous technology at par in quality with international standards, this product saves the foreign exchange and reduces the supply time.