Case-I : To increase the efficiency of date-palm leaves broom makers

1. Introduction

People do many things for a living. There are people who have a business of their own which generates a high income and there are also people who have their own business but still have to take many efforts to earn some bread for a living. Such are the people from Chittorgarh, Rajasthan who come to Ahmedabad for making brooms. They leave their native place and come here stay in temporary structures, make brooms and sell them but still earn only some amount which cannot fulfil the demand of 2 meals per day.

Such is the condition of these broom makers of Naroda, Ahmedabad. This project was done to increase their productivity and increase their quality of life and make it more ergonomic. This project deals with the process that was followed to come up with a solution.

2. Understanding the process of broom making

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3. Defining the problem

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4. Need to Design

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5. From Idea to Concept

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6. Feedback on concept

  • Professor Anil K. Gupta: Inclining structures are not very popular especially among women (due to their outfit).Gender bias design. Can think of a solution with pedal power thresher.
  • Professor P V M Rao: Try to see if the quality of brooms produced from the design is reasonable. Study of existing automated design. Figure out why the raw material is from one place and production at other places .Look at any patents in this area.
  • Innovators: Idea of descending design of nails in cheena is good. Try to move the seat up.
  • Katherine Johnson: The bicycle ideas look good in theory but do they work? Does the broom need to be beaten length wise or does wiping it across the Chena and Punja suffice? In concept 2 you have a lever and gear assembly, could you simply make the broom sit on a lever and then the effort required to beat it against the Chena and Punja is immediately reduced. A simple solution like this requires less material although not 100% mechanical would be cheap and efficient. I think you are right in wanting to find out why the previous solutions were not taken up with the user? What didn’t they like about it? Could the amount of material be reduced of the product is hand powered, then the seat etc. would not be required.

7. Proof of Concept

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8. Prototyping

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9. Bill of Materials

S No Material Quantity
1 Bicycle 1
2 Nails 30
3 Screws 2
4 Square pipe 24 Ft
5 Wooden plank 12”x 8”
6 Angle pipes 12 Ft
7 Nut and Bolts 3 units
8 Cycle Chain 1 extra

10. Feedback on Prototype

  • Professor M P Ranjan: He commented, “I can’t see how it will work when you insert another set of nails in the machine!” He was doubtful about his device. So he suggested that it would be better to rotate the brooms by using something like a metal holder. Also, it will be very difficult for them to carry the machine since they are immigrants. He asked him to rethink the scenario and see it from a different perspective. Giving an example of one of his students at NID and how she worked in a small village of Rajasthan and helped the workers there develop a new product, he said that may be he could have thought about alternative uses of the same palm leaves, such as making coats (as he saw in Nagaland). He suggested exploring the concept of product diversification.
  • Professor P V M Rao: He suggested him to not to worry about the cost at this moment but rather functionality. He also suggested him to stack up the nails for better efficiency.

11. User Feedback

  1. Effortless
  2. The cycling is very smooth which was not expected (we were expecting a jerk when the
  3. The rubber of the broom cuts off because of the current locking mechanism (nut and bolt).
  4. Fibres are getting created only on one side of the broom. The broom needs to be turned every time the side is completed, thus increasing the time.
  5. Though it is effortless, many children tried doing it. Though the seat is at a higher level, they stand on the pedals and do it, thus inducing ‘Child Labour’.
  6. The positioning of the ‘cheena’ should be changed.

12. Modifications to be done

  1. Finalize the position of the existing ‘cheena’ for better output
  2. Adding the ‘Punja’ to the machine for finer brooms is required
  3. Need to work on better and fast fixtures for the broom attachment
  4. Increasing the machine capacity from 3 brooms to 6 brooms
  5. A lot of research needs to be done on the tools (incorporating both the tools – cheena and punja), arrangement of the nails and shape of the nails

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