An Indigenous Technology Has Transformed Kancheepuram Saree Weaving

The Prime Minister’s ‘Make in India’ campaign is aimed at attracting foreign manufacturers to set up factories in India and encourage Indian manufacturers to step up operations.

Though the lens is on the big players, there are many little-known indigenous technologies that have been shaping up the way factories produce products.

One such technology is SPS Batten and it is changing the way silk weavers manufacture the famous Kancheepuram sarees.

The Hindu reports that the Kancheepuram saree manufacturing process required two weavers to sit at the weaving board.

Their work was to move the three shuttles that carry the thread. One shuttle carried the thread for the body; the other two, the borders on each side.

The two weavers had to coordinate their movements to weave the borders to the body using the shuttles.


Kancheepuram Saree Making

A weaver working on a board fitted with the SPS Batten. The Hindu

But the technique, introduced by S.P. Subramaniya Ayya of Tiruchi, removed the need for a second weaver and thereby cut the cost of manufacturing.

The technique uses a modified batten-with-reed comb to handle the movement of shuttles with the yarn used for weaving the borders.

This means that a single weaver can just move the handle provided in the batten to pass the weft yarn from one side to another through the space between the heddles.

The technique was first introduced in the weaving of Uraiyur sarees in 1985. Its adoption by other weavers started in 1990.

But progress has been slow and only around 10,000 handloom weavers in Tamil Nadu are using this modified batten-with-reed comb in their looms.

The Hindu reports that the cost of setting up of such a batten is just Rs.6,000. It is highly likely that this technology will be used by handloom weavers all over the country provided they are made aware of it.

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