RmKV, manufacturer and retailer of silk sarees, has introduced a Modernised Pneumatic Handloom (MPHL) to eliminate the physical strain of handloom weaving and to attract younger generation to the industry.

The pneumatic loom utilises compressed air to lift the assembly and an Electronic Jacquard Controller, with inbuilt design base of around 3000. The Electronic Jacquard Controller priced at ₹90,000 can easily be integrated with a regular handloom and reduces the time taken to produce a saree.

Earlier, it took one month to weave 2-3 sarees, but with this technology, 15 sarees can be produced.

Srinivas NA, Marketing Manager RmKV, said for weaving a simple saree using the traditional method would require at least 5000 cards, priced ₹4 each and it could go up to as high as 1.5 lakh cards for complicated designs.

“Using MPHL saves time as the designs are stored in the memory chip which could be easily changed by the weaver with practice,” he said.

Youth not so keen K Sivakumar, Managing Director of RmKV, said the past decade witnessed reduction in the number of weavers across the country. Since weaving is labour intensive, it wears down people after 15-20 years of constant working making it unattractive for younger generation.

“Kanchipuram, which used to have 50,000 weavers, now has only 10,000 and Arani’s weaving population has come down to 25,000 from 75,000,” he said.

No physical strain “Women refrained from participating in the weaving as it involved physical strain. But now, with the easy operation, women can involve and supplement the family income,” said Sivakumar.

RmKV has applied for a patent for this invention through NRDC (National Research Development Corporation) as an attempt to reach out to wider audience.

Other players can buy this technology from NRDC and the revenue would be shared between NRDC and RmKV.