Sona College’s Fashion Technology team earns patent for sewing machine for people with special needs
Bengaluru : The fashion technology team at Salem’s Sona College of Technology has earned a patent for modifying industrial sewing machines used by the garment industry that can now be used by people with special needs.
Large garment makers use industrial sewing machines that are best operated using foot pedal. The foot pedal design and operating mechanism is not suitable for people with special needs, especially those with lower limb disabilities.
It is estimated that of the country’s specially-abled persons, nearly twenty million are either without a lower limb or have issues that hamper free foot mobility.
“Researchers from Fashion Technology department of Sona College were challenged by us to develop or modify a sewing machine that addressed the employability handicap that stares in the face of specially-abled persons. The team came up with a technical modification, trained and certified over a hundred women on the modified sewing machine operation. A few women are already making a living using these machines,” said Mr Chocko Valliappa, Vice Chairman, Sona group of education institutions.
“We are excited that the patent has been granted and sewing machine makers are discussing possible transfer of technology. We hope the adoption of this technology and gifting of these machines under different welfare schemes will help specially-abled persons make a living and boost their confidence,” added Mr Valliappa.
The modifications include disabling the foot pedal and adding a L-shaped metal plate in the top sewing area. A gentle press of hand on the plate activates a mechanism that runs the machine, the machine speed and sewing (folding and feeding) can be done using both the hands. A slightly firmer pressure on the plate increases the speed of the sewing machine.
The modifications work on the principle of a load cell in a weighing machine where application of pressure converts into voltage for controlling motors. An uninitiated person needs three to four days of training on the machine that is suitable for work from home and helps them contribute financially to the family.
According to Professor Dr D Raja this is the third patent earned by the researchers in the Department of Fashion Technology at Sona College while 12 more patent applications await final approval. The earlier two patents were for design and development of “frictionless ring and traveller combination in a ring frame” and “dynamic sweat transfer tester for multi weave fabric”.
This development paves the way for specially-abled persons to achieve their full potential in India’s garment industry which is on a growth curve. In addition, it will enable them to compete with other production staff in terms of quality and productivity.
The Department of Fashion Technology is one of the 12 disciplines at Sona College of Technology that prepares BTech (Fashion Technology) students for careers in the textiles, garment manufacturing and fashion industry. Some of the recruiters for these graduates includes Aditya Birla Madura Fashion and Retail, Arvind Mills, Decathlon, Gokul Exports, Jockey and Shahi Exports.