Jun 22, 2015

Posted by in Field visit day 1 | 0 Comments

Improving Efficiency and Ergonomics of Coconut leaves Broom makers

Yash Goyal, Pranav Kaushal, Gunjit

Thapar University, Patiala


The problems we have identified are in the process of broom making using coconut leaves. These stalks are hand stripped from the coconut tree leaves. For improving efficiency and ergonomics of the process, some of the solutions are proposed. Most of broom makers including men, women and children in Jamalpur area of Ahmedabad, perform repetitive tasks which might result in physical and musculoskeletal issues. The current techniques and methods practiced have little or no safety considerations and hence stress the need for either proper safety equipment, or a new method to make these brooms, which does not compromise on efficiency and also reduces safety concerns. Keeping these problems in mind, as well as understanding the economic background of the broom makers, our team members came up with various ideas, which were mapped, and detailed, at the same time modified or rejected on the basis of the feedback given by various mentors and professors. After scrutinizing and detailing, two designs have been finalized, which have been further explained.Untitled

The first field visits, were aimed to observe each process involved in making a broom, and understanding what part of each process was posing a problems to the broom makers. We identified the practice of tying the metal wire using the hands as a major problem, as it resulted in a number of cuts and burns on the palm, in fact the extent of these cuts was such that the palms would become completely numb after a few months and the people doing this could actually not  feel their palms. Another problem was tying of a colored ribbon, which was tied by rotating the broom by pressing it with the feet and tying the ribbon. This led to pain in the legs. Also, every process like trimming was done on an unstable piece of log and thus was a potential hazard.

After noting down and mapping the problems, our team discussed various designs which could be refined into possible solutions, and mapped the same.
Various ideas were also discarded after various mentors and professors citied safety concerns during the use of these designs. Finally, we converged to the idea of designing a workspace which would address all concerns and at the same time also design a safety glove for the specific process of tying the metal wire to the broom, as this was identified as the main problem by our team. The design of the machine is inspired from the traditional foot operated sewing machine, and design consists of a stand, where the stalks of the broom can be strapped and this stand will be rotated allowing the broom maker to just hold the metal wire to the broom in order to tie it. The ribbon can also be tied to the broom in the same way. The glove is intended to work as a safety equipment and will contain metallic strips in two sections (marked section A and B in the figure) to ensure that the metal wire, does not affect the hands of the user and at the same time does not tear the fabric of the glove, thereby increasing it life and effectiveness. The material is polyester with foam padding. The designing of the glove involved another field visit to ensure that the concerns and opinion of the broom makers was also taken into account, and after this field visit, the design of the glove was modified.

Prototypes of both designs are currently being developed and will then be taken for user testing and feedback.

Problem Statement by Summer School Participants-

Problems faced by Broom Makers: Jamalpur Area


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