Handloom workers in Haryana switch to making PPE equipment1 min read . Updated: 01 May 2020, 02:12 AM IST
- Stitching units in Panipat, which used to make blankets and towels, now make 20,000-25,000 PPE kits a day
- The handloom units ensure social distancing in factories by allowing only around 60 tailors to work on a given day
NEW DELHI : The guard at a handloom factory in Panipat is using a new device, a temperature gun to ensure that the workers have no fever. The precaution is important as the facility is now producing personal protective equipment (PPE) for covid-19 frontline workers.
The factory is just one of those in this industrial township in Haryana, with the stitching units in Panipat, which used to manufacture blankets, rugs and towels, have been modified to make PPE kits. The town now makes a total of 20,000-25,000 PPE kits a day.
“This was the need of the hour. There was high demand and we had to improvise. To make PPE gear, an industrial stitching unit is required. The material used is special and has been approved by the South India Textile Research Association. The coverall jumpsuit ensures that no liquid seeps in," said Akhilesh Pandey, who runs a pharma company and has been deputed as the technical support coordinator for the production of PPEs.
The production of such gear has given an opportunity to handloom factory owners to provide employment, a key concern during this lockdown.
PPE manufacturing initially started in Bengaluru, Hyderabad, and Coimbatore, about 45 days ago. Later, Ludhiana, Panipat, and Muradabad also started producing PPE.
The kit, according to World Health Organization guidelines, includes full-body suit, shoe covers, eye protection and sterilized surgical gloves.
The suit has an inbuilt 3-ply face mask to give complete protection against infection. A health worker can wear each suit for up to 12 hours.
For the suit two types of fabrics are being used, one is a non-woven polypropylene fabric which is laminated. However, this becomes very hot. Now a non-woven fabric which has a special layer in it which stops the bacteria and liquid from seeping in is also being used to produce suits.
A tailor can produce 20-25 suits in a day. However, the production is limited as large factories have allowed only 60 tailors on a given day to adhere to social distancing norms.