Mallesham with the Laxmi Asu MachineThe first model was made in 1999, mounted on a wooden frame. As a test, one of his friends used the asumachine to make a sari and observed that the quality was even better than that yielded by the manual process. Soon, the material was changed to steel and many electronic components were added to increase the functionality and flexibility of the design. He took on the work of an engineer and put together the machine after failing multiple times. Mallesham has replaced the woman’s arm with a mechanical one which winds the fine silk thread on the pins and offers a choice of settings.
This caused tremendous pain in her shoulders and elbow joints. She would often tell her son that she could not do this any more. She also did not want his would be wife to go through the same ordeal and suggested him to look for other avenues. For untrained and less educated Mallesham, it was not easy. Also, doing Asu just for two saris per day was not enough to fetch sufficient income.
For the last two years, Honey Bee network in Andhra Pradesh has been actively supporting his endeavours. Thanks to their efforts, Silk board was persuaded to give subsidy and State Bank of Hyderabad agreed to finance the buyers of this machine. His machine has been demonstrated before the students and faculty of Mallareddy Institution, who also felicitated him. His story has been published in both English and Telugu in Honey Bee and Palle Srujnanewsletters respectively.
But few people know the hard work that craftsmen put into it. To reduce the discomfort and time of weaving, Mallesham invented the machine in the name of his mother Laxmi, where sarees can be weaved with much ease. The machine, which has been named after Mallesham’s mother, can make a saree in about one-and-a-half hours as opposed to five hours in the manual process. The mechanised process besides increasing productivity has reduced drudgery and allowed variety in style and design. The 44-year-old grassroots innovator-turned-entrepreneur now lives in Aler, a town in Yadadri district, two hours from Hyderabad, where he has set up a manufacturing unit for the Laxmi Asu machines. So far, Mallesham has supplied 800 asumachines to weavers.
This is a new opportunity, only possible with Mallesham’s machine. For those weavers who wanted to stop weaving due to the difficulty in manual Asu process, he has become a ray of hope. thealphacut.com reviews In this often painful process, the weaver has to stretch her arms continuously to wind yarn around two sets of pegs on either end of a four-foot structure before the sari is woven.
But what he had was a strong desire to relieve his mother’s pain, which egged him on to achieve his goal. He started working on the idea and divided the entire process into five different parts. Part by part, he developed and fitted mechanical devices to a wooden frame.
He grew up observing the artisan procedures for making that fabric. The spinning procedure requires approximately 6 hours manufacturing the threads needed for each Saree. The craftsmen must repeat an upward and a downward movement nine thousand times to complete the threads for the Saree. The results are astounding but the manual weavers suffer from strong pains as a consequence of the sequence of repetitive movements. Using this machine, the time to finish one sari has reduced from four hours to one hour and thirty minutes. This means that instead of two saris per day, now six saris could be made and that too in a wide variety of designs, which was not possible earlier.