Charting a solution for weavers

Researchers at IIT Delhi have devised a technology aimed at providing pre-looming solutions that will ease repetitive physical actions for the workers in the handloom sector. Besides making the process less tedious, this will enhance productivity and will reduce the overall time.

The new technology has been tested at the Chirala handloom sector in Andhra Pradesh. Several prototypes were made and a scaled model was installed at Chirala, where trials are being done by local weavers.

The process of sizing is a very crucial step in weaving. Sizing is done to impart temporary strength to cotton yarn to withstand cyclic stresses during weaving while keeping the characteristics and properties of cotton yarn intact. It directly affects the production rate, number of breakages and faults in fabric. Street sizing is one of the two most common ways to do it, other being Hank sizing.

“To remove drudgery out of sizing, make it more ergonomic and to increase productivity and earning, we proposed four different mechanical designs to aid in the street sizing process, namely helical, circular, hexagonal and hexagonal with off brush mechanisms. Among these, the final model consists of a hexagon on which warp sheet is loaded. Brush is mounted to a stand such that it always remains in the contact with the warp sheet.” says Prof Samrat Mukhopadhyay.

It was established that the new design when fully implemented would require only two workers per device which earlier required 3-4 persons.

Trials with the prototype had also shown a reduction in the time taken for sizing process. Several repetitive actions such as lifting of heavy brush and running across a long length of around fifteen metres is also omitted. A productivity hike of at least three times is estimated through this design.

Several iterations in terms of design modifications have been made incorporating the feedback of sizers and the process of further process development is under progress.

The researchers are thankful to MHRD for the Design innovation translational seed grant [DITSG].