Evolution of weaving looms:
History of weaving looms can be traced back to 17th century. The first power loom was invented by Edmund Cartwright in 1785. Originally Power looms were with shuttle, and they were very slow. But as the industrial demands for faster production accelerate, faster looms without shuttle came in use in early part of 20th century. As developments and innovations take place, various types of looms were developed for faster production. Today, Air-jet, Water-jet, Rapier and other computer operated looms are used to maximize production of special materials.
Indian scenario of weaving looms:
Though weaving is one of the important sector for Indian textile industry, it has not been given due attention like spinning sector. Moreover structure of the industry plays a major role in making it competitive. Nature of this sector is mainly unorganized. The sector consists of fragmented, small and often, un-registered units that invest low amount in technology and practices especially in the power loom, processing, handloom and knits.
India has world’s largest installed base for looms. There are approximately 5mn looms in the country. India has 1.8mn Shuttle looms which is 45% of world capacity, and 3.90mn handlooms which is 85% of world capacity.
The power loom sector produces more than 60% of cloth in India and textile ministry’s estimation says that more than 60% of the country’s cloth exports originated from that sector. With its employment of 4.86mn workers, the power looms sector comprised approximately 60% of total textile industry employment.
As per textile ministry of India up till March 31, 2006, the power looms sector — which produces various cloth products, including greige and processed fabrics — consisted of 430,000 units with 1.94mn power looms. The ministry projected the number of power looms to rise to 1.95mn in 2006-07.
But modernization in looms is less and Indian industry still lags significantly behind US, China, Europe, Taiwan etc. (Texmin, 2005). Most of the looms we have currently in country are shuttle-less. There are less than 15,000 modern looms, whereas traditional looms are in large numbers. Value addition and the manufacturing of fabrics according to customer’s compliances, is not possible due to obsolete technology of looms.
Shuttleless weaving looms are up to three times more efficient than shuttle looms, but the penetration of modern shuttleless loom is very less. In 2001, there were some 27,000 shuttleless cotton looms in Indonesia, 21,000 in Thailand and 10,000 in India. In world share of shuttleless looms India ranked 9th. Following chart shows comparison of shuttleless loom proportion of India with other countries.