Coarse wool is underutilised in India. A braiding machine converts the group of yarns into a tubular fabric form of small circumference; say P M Suman, N Shanmugam, Sekhar Das, S M K Naqvi.
With 46.7 million kg of wool produced annually, India is the tenth-largest producer of the fibre. More than 50 per cent of this is coarse wool like Deccani, Marwari, Malpura, Patanwari, and Sonadi. Sheep rearers are not getting the value of coarse wool. Most attempts so far focused on older methods blending coarse with fine wool and spinning using the charkha. The traditional ways of producing products from coarse wool are on their way out due to product quality and high cost. Also, coarse wool products feel rough and shed fibre as they are used. So, an attempt is being made to use braiding to produce various quality products using coarse wool.
Salient Features of braiding machine
A braiding machine weaves strands of yarns to form rope, reinforced hose, covered power cords and some types of laces. Generally, cotton, polyester and nylon yarns are used for producing these products. In our country, horn gear braiding machine is widely used and it is vertically oriented. The braided thread is taken up above the machine and the height and diameter of a guide ring determines the characteristics of the braided products to some extent.
In a horn gear braiding machine, there are even number of spindles. Each consists of two verticle columns and one peg adjoined at the lower end. One column of spindle holds a bobbin of thread while the other column guides the thread to the guide ring maintaining proper tension with the help of an iron weight.
Plastic spindles are moved on tracks shaped like a sinusoid by horn gears through a peg. The horn gear consists of a spur gear and a notched disk. The spur gear is connected to a notched disk at the bottom with a hollow shaft. These horn gears are covered with the track plate. In each horn gear, two or more plastic spindles are mounted.
Bobbins have a serrated surface at the top with a guide to move in a stop-start fashion so that it can prevent the thread becoming too loose while unwinding. All threads are braided due to the sinusoidal motions of the bobbins and taken up slowly by the winding roller arranged atthe top of the machine. An even number of bobbins and horn gears are always used in horn gear braiding machine. There are many types of horn gear braiding machines: 8 spindles, 16 spindles, 24 spindles and 32 spindle, depending upon the number of bobbins in the braiding machine. The machine used in this study has 16 spindles.
The mechanism of horn gear braiding machine is simple and robust, but the production speed is limited. Now, automatic high speed braiding machines equipped with Programmable Logic Control (PLC) are available.
16 Spindle gear horn gear braiding machine
Materials and method
Scoured Malpura wool was opened in small tufts using willowing machine and mixed properly, sparyed with emulsified solution of 5-10 per cent water and 0.5 per cent Lubestat LV-45, an antistatic agent. The material was left for two hour at least to condition the wool. The conditioned wool was fed into the slow speed cotton carding machine uniformly and the sliver was collected in a bin.
Bobbins filled with filament polyester yarn/woollen yarn were arranged on braiding machine and the braiding machine was started for a while. Then, the sliver was fed as core among polyester strands/woolen yarn through the braiding machine to prepare braided rope.
Using this rope, elliptical doormat was prepared by handstitching directly and picnic mat (6ft x 2.5ft) was prepared using the rope as weft in cotton yarn as warp inhandloom. The core sliver used was having a hank of 0.128 Nm.30 Nm polyester filament yarn / 4 Nm woollen yarn was used as sheath material. In the loom, 3.5 Nm cotton yarn was used in warp direction for preparing picnic mat.
Doormat made of coarse wool braided rope
Picnic mat of coarse wool braided rope
Handle of ladies bag made of coarse wool braided rope
Braided rope of different colours and thickness
After preparing braided rope, making a doormat does not require any machinery. However, a picnic mat needs equipment like handloom to be made. Different value added quality products can be prepared from coarse wool braided rope. This is a new initiative to bring additional income for sheep rearers and wool stakeholders. This initiation can be part of a Central Government campaign of StartUp India. It will be characterised by easy process, low capital, cheap raw material and attractive products. Productivity can be increased by adopting automisation like automatic braiding machine and rope sewing machine.
1. VP Singh, PC Patni, JP Mathur & S Parthasarathy, Physical Characteristics of wool of native and crossbred sheep, Indian J. Text. Res. Vol5. June 1980
2. Karim SA (2009) Wool production in India, Wool technology edited by Karim SA, Shakyawar DB and Joshi A, 11-18
3. Idrees Khan, top 10 largest wool producing countries in the world, World Knowing, July5, 2015
About the author:
1. SMK Naqvi is presently working as a director at Central Sheep & Wool Research Institute, Avikanagar, Jaipur.
2. PM Suman is working as a technical officer, TMTC division at Central Sheep & Wool Research Institute, Avikanagar, Jaipur.
3. N Shanmugam is working as a principal scientist and I/C, TMTC division at Central Sheep & Wool Research Institute, Avikanagar, Jaipur.
4. Sekhar Das is working as a scientist at Central Institute for Research on Cotton Technology (CIRCOT).