UN­DER BED TRIM­MER (UBT) MA­CHINE: SHOULD IT BE USED IN OP­ER­A­TOR TRAIN­ING?

Stitch World - - NEWS -

In ap­parel in­dus­try, op­er­a­tor train­ing is one of the most cru­cial and de­mand­ing tasks for any com­pany’s management. Usu­ally, the train­ing is or­ga­nized at a train­ing cen­tre, which is al­ways lo­cated in a pre­de­fined ded­i­cated space in­side the struc­ture, fol­low­ing spe­cific meth­ods and man­u­als. But many a time, man­agers and train­ers find great dif­fi­culty in let­ting go of the past with such es­tab­lished meth­ods of train­ing. With new tech­nol­ogy and au­to­matic sewing ma­chines and var­i­ous aids and at­tach­ments be­ing used in ap­parel man­u­fac­tur­ing units, do train­ing op­er­a­tors with or­di­nary sewing ma­chines or with­out at­tach­ments still have any rel­e­vance? This is an on­go­ing topic of dis­cus­sion. Team StitchWorld brings to our read­ers the nu­mer­ous in­dus­try opin­ions on the same.

In sim­ple lock stitch ma­chines, which do not have the UBT func­tion, sewing op­er­a­tors need to use trim­mer or scis­sor to cut down the nee­dle and bob­bin thread af­ter com­plet­ing the stitch. On the other hand, sewing ma­chines in­te­grated with UBT func­tions, op­er­a­tors need to push a but­ton or press the pad­dle back to trim thread. A UBT sewing ma­chine pro­vides ben­e­fits in terms of re­duced sewing time, improved stitch qual­ity and re­duced man­power re­quire­ment for thread trim­ming.

Be­low men­tioned six in­dus­try ex­perts pro­vided their opin­ions on the var­i­ous ques­tions Team Stitchworld raised:

Amit Gug­nani is work­ing as Se­nior Vice Pres­i­dent at Technopak Ad­vi­sors Pvt. Ltd. from past 11 years. A GMT de­gree holder from NIFT, Amit ear­lier worked as Fac­tory Man­ager at Arvind Mills. Sha­l­abh Sri­vas­tava is Part­ner at Gun­ina So­lu­tions and head­ing the skill de­vel­op­ment sec­tion. He was pre­vi­ously the Head ( Train­ing & Skill De­vel­op­ment) at Ma­trix Cloth­ing Pvt. Ltd.

Bib­hash Ku­mar is Man­ager at Tex­port In­dus­tries Pvt. Ltd. from last 15 years. He has done his Bach­e­lors from NIFT.

Su­naina Khanna is Di­rec­tor of Meth­ods Ap­parel Con­sul­tancy. She ex­plored the op­por­tu­nity of set­ting up an IE Depart­ment in Ori­ent Craft back in 2002.

Paul Col­lyer has 46 years of ex­pe­ri­ence in pro­duc­tion-based ac­tiv­i­ties in gar­ment in­dus­try. He is cur­rently work­ing as a selfem­ployed ap­parel trainer and con­sul­tant.

Dr. Pra­bir Jana is a Pro­fes­sor at NIFT Delhi, and leads in­no­va­tive meth­ods of train­ing op­er­a­tors.

SW: Do you feel op­er­a­tors should first learn to drive or­di­nary ma­chines and only then should they be ex­posed to UBT ma­chines?

Two of the many bad habits of any sewing op­er­a­tor are short burst sewing and putting hands on the flywheel to slow down. Both can be ef­fec­tively ad­dressed by train­ing to use UBT ma­chine from the be­gin­ning. The train­ers need to be in­no­va­tive and ex­plo­rative in their ap­proach. – Dr. Pra­bir Jana, Pro­fes­sor, NIFT Delhi

Amit Gug­nani: Yes, I be­lieve that trainee op­er­a­tors should learn to drive or­di­nary ma­chines first and then should be ex­posed to the UBT ma­chines.

Sha­l­abh Sri­vas­tava: I am lim­it­ing my re­ply with re­spect to the var­i­ous types of train­ing be­ing pro­vided un­der the Skill In­dia Mis­sion, both by the in­dus­try as well as non-in­dus­try en­ti­ties. Since not all the trained out­put of Skill De­vel­op­ment Cen­tres are be­ing ab­sorbed by or­ga­nized man­u­fac­tur­ing sec­tor, it is ad­vis­able to train ini­tially on non-UBT/or­di­nary ma­chines and then mi­grate trainees to UBT ones, so that they un­der­stand the dif­fer­ence be­tween the two and also be­come equipped to han­dle both tech­nolo­gies with

equal ef­fi­ciency. When­ever train­ing takes place within the in­dus­trial en­vi­ron­ment, only UBT ma­chines are ad­vis­able.

Bib­hash Ku­mar: Yes, op­er­a­tor should learn non-UBT ma­chines first in train­ing.

Su­naina Khanna: Yes, I agree that an op­er­a­tor must learn to op­er­ate the ba­sic ma­chines first and only in the se­cond stage, he should progress to UBT.

Paul Col­lyer: The first stage of any train­ing for sewing should be speed and rhythm train­ing. This should be done on a ba­sic ma­chine. When op­er­a­tion-spe­cific train­ing is con­ducted, it should be done on the ex­act spec­i­fi­ca­tion ma­chine with ac­ces­sories as used in pro­duc­tion. There is no value-ad­di­tion or any harm done if train­ing is first done on a ba­sic ma­chine and then one switches over to UBT rather than di­rectly go­ing for speed train­ing.

Pra­bir Jana: We need to de­cide where the sewing op­er­a­tor is likely to work in fu­ture. If there is a strong rea­son that op­er­a­tor has to work on or­di­nary ma­chine only, then train­ing can hap­pen on or­di­nary ma­chines. Oth­er­wise, it should only be done on UBT ma­chines. I as­sume by UBT ma­chines, we are talk­ing about Un­der Bed Trim­mer (UBT) and Nee­dle Po­si­tioner (NP) fea­ture, which should be of ba­sic level for any fac­tory.

No, op­er­a­tors can be ex­posed to UBT ma­chine di­rectly; they need not be ex­posed to or­di­nary ma­chine first. Learn­ing to con­trol an or­di­nary ma­chine is com­par­a­tively dif­fi­cult and time con­sum­ing as there is no con­trol on speed, whereas speed of UBT ma­chine can be set dur­ing train­ing phase, re­sult­ing in shorter time to learn con­trol on sewing ma­chine.

SW: Why do you feel it is nec­es­sary to first learn the or­di­nary ma­chine? What if the trainee is ex­posed to UBT ma­chines from the be­gin­ning? What ad­van­tages or dis­ad­van­tages you feel the trainee will face?

Amit Gug­nani: New trainees are trained on the sewing ma­chines mainly for: a) ma­chine con­trol; and b) han­dling of ma­te­ri­als. These ex­er­cises are done ini­tially on pa­per and then by stitch­ing dif­fer­ent pat­terns on fab­ric. Giv­ing them a UBT ma­chine for the same and ask­ing them to get into the prac­tice of cut­ting threads af­ter sewing pat­terns on fab­ric, di­lutes the pur­pose of train­ing on ma­chine con­trol and ma­te­rial han­dling.

Trainee op­er­a­tors should be in­tro­duced to the UBT ma­chine dur­ing skill train­ing for the des­ig­nated op­er­a­tions. This will help the op­er­a­tor to get ac­cus­tomed to the UBT func­tions which can help in fur­ther im­prov­ing the sewing ca­pac­ity.

The ad­van­tages of us­ing UBT ma­chines for train­ing are that the op­er­a­tor will not find the con­cept of UBT new once in­ducted to the sewing room and can im­me­di­ately fo­cus on build­ing his stamina and ef­fi­ciency. The dis­ad­van­tage is that too many UBT ma­chines will be re­quired dur­ing the ini­tial phase of train­ing whereas in some cases, the UBT func­tion may not even be used. Sha­l­abh Sri­vas­tava:

Many train­ing cen­tres are stand­alone ones, be­ing run by non­in­dus­try pro­fes­sion­als, in re­mote ar­eas. Also, such trainees are be­ing placed for jobs avail­able in small- to medium-sized man­u­fac­tur­ing set-ups, where use of UBT ma­chines is still a dream. How­ever, I would al­ways sup­port the idea of ex­pos­ing all the trainees to UBT tech­nol­ogy, if these ma­chines fit into the train­ing cap­i­tal ex­pen­di­ture bud­get. A typ­i­cal ra­tio be­tween or­di­nary and UBT ma­chines can be 70:30 re­spec­tively. A train­ing cen­tre shall be equipped with these two tech­nolo­gies, based on the place­ment re­quire­ments/ de­mand side of the in­dus­try.

Bib­hash Ku­mar: It is al­ways very easy to op­er­ate UBT ma­chines if you have han­dled non-UBT ma­chines. If trainees are ex­posed to UBT ma­chines from the be­gin­ning, they can­not op­er­ate non-UBT if re­quired. How­ever, in few fac­to­ries, all ma­chines still are not UBT.

UBT ma­chines come with servo mo­tor while non-UBT ma­chines come with clutch mo­tor which is lit­tle dif­fi­cult to con­trol. So, if you have con­trol on clutch mo­tor, you can con­trol the servo mo­tor eas­ily.

Su­naina Khanna: The use of or­di­nary ma­chines for train­ing is nec­es­sary be­cause of the fol­low­ing rea­sons:

i. The ma­chine con­trol is much bet­ter as one can­not ad­just the pace and has to have a bet­ter con­trol over the ma­chine.

ii. Due to less fea­tures in the ba­sic ma­chine, the

train­ing time is less.

iii. He/she doesn’t face the chal­lenges when he/ she goes to the fac­tory as most of the ma­chines in the fac­tory are nonUBTs, so he/she can im­me­di­ately adapt to the en­vi­ron­ment.

iv. His/her skill level is bet­ter as his/her con­trol over the ma­chine is bet­ter.

Paul Col­lyer: Us­ing a ba­sic ma­chine re­quires a com­pletely dif­fer­ent se­quence of han­dling move­ments to those need­ing a UBT. To teach some­one to use a ba­sic method and then ex­pect them to for­get and learn a new method for a UBT wastes time and money and adds to the train­ing time.

SW: Do you think it would be faster to teach UBT op­er­a­tion once the trainee knows how to run the or­di­nary sewing ma­chine or vice-versa (as the trainee may need to un­learn some habits of or­di­nary ma­chine op­er­a­tion and re­learn UBT run­ning)?

Amit Gug­nani: UBT func­tion is not dif­fi­cult and can be learned eas­ily. I don’t feel there is any learn­ing or un­learn­ing is­sue here.

Sha­l­abh Sri­vas­tava: No, for a fresher, the learn­ing curve for both the tech­nolo­gies is al­most the same if trained sep­a­rately. How­ever, if some­one is ac­quir­ing UBT sewing skills af­ter hav­ing learned to op­er­ate nonUBT/or­di­nary ma­chine, it will surely re­duce the ini­tial learn­ing curve. This is as per the last sev­eral years of ex­pe­ri­ence of train­ing youth for both types of units in Gur­gaon. We have been able to pre­pare trainees, who were ear­lier trained on or­di­nary ma­chines, within 2-4 days to start do­ing op­er­a­tions on UBT ma­chines, as the de­mand arose.

Bib­hash Ku­mar: Yes, it would be faster to teach UBT op­er­a­tions once the trainee knows how to run or­di­nary ma­chines. It is hardly a mat­ter of a day to get a com­plete idea about UBT once you know or­di­nary ma­chines well.

Su­naina Khanna: The lead time for ad­vanc­ing to UBT from a ba­sic ma­chine is 1 to 2 days, but if the same is done vice-versa, he/she will face more chal­lenges as there are many new skills that he/she would have to ac­quire such as cut­ting threads man­u­ally, rais­ing nee­dle man­u­ally, con­trol­ling ma­chine pace on his/her own. This process is very sim­i­lar to switch­ing from a ba­sic phone to a smart­phone i.e. Sym­bian to An­droid ver­sus An­droid to Sym­bian. The first process is a nat­u­ral pro­gres­sion and an en­joy­able ex­pe­ri­ence, whereas the other process can be dis­ap­point­ing in many ways.

Paul Col­lyer: To teach some­one to use a ba­sic method and then ex­pect them to for­get and learn a new method for a UBT ma­chine wastes time and money and adds to the train­ing time.

Pra­bir Jana: I am not aware about any study done on train­ing a raw per­son for UBT ma­chines from the be­gin­ning and then ex­pos­ing the per­son to run an or­di­nary ma­chine. But in my opin­ion, he/she will not face any dis­com­fort or ma­jor un­learn­ing is­sue. If the trainee is ex­posed to UBT ma­chine from the be­gin­ning, then he learns only mo­tions re­quired for un­der bed trim­ming. In or­di­nary ma­chine con­trol, press­ing pedal by toe in­creases the speed, re­leas­ing pres­sure (pedal neu­tral po­si­tion) stops the ma­chine and noth­ing hap­pens even if the op­er­a­tor presses the pedal by wheel while stop­ping the ma­chine. How­ever in UBT ma­chine, if op­er­a­tor presses the pedal by heel (called back-heel ac­tion), then ma­chine abruptly stops and trims the thread. Of­ten for some op­er­a­tors, back-heel be­comes a habit while work­ing on or­di­nary ma­chine, but if the same op­er­a­tor is now ex­posed to UBT ma­chine, then he/ she re­quires un­learn­ing of the habit of ‘back-heel’ while stop­ping the ma­chine. Oth­er­wise op­er­a­tor may ac­ci­den­tally stop the ma­chine (com­plete with end back tack and trim­ming of thread) in the mid­dle of the seam, re­sult­ing in de­fects and re­pair. If any die-hard sup­porter of cur­rent train­ing method ar­gues about lit­er­acy level to run UBT ma­chines be­ing higher, such ap­pre­hen­sion is base­less in this dig­i­tal age.

SW: If you feel the cur­rent train­ing mod­ule is go­ing on tra­di­tion­ally over the years and there is a need to re­vise it, then what all changes can you sug­gest in the train­ing?

Amit Gug­nani: The tra­di­tional mod­ules have given re­sults. The prob­lem starts when train­ers start tak­ing short­cuts and don’t fol­low the com­plete method­ol­ogy of train­ing. Prac­ti­cally, a lot has al­ready been done to im­prove the over­all ef­fec­tive­ness of train­ing and this

will con­tinue to change based on the needs of the in­dus­try.

Sha­l­abh Sri­vas­tava: Yes, for in­dus­trial sewing ma­chine op­er­a­tor, the tra­di­tional train­ing pro­grams in­sist on train­ing on pa­per ex­er­cises, trea­dle con­trol, fab­ric ex­er­cises, etc. be­fore mov­ing on to ac­tual high stamina, high ef­fi­ciency train­ing. The fo­cus has al­ways been on en­hanc­ing the tech­ni­cal or hard skills among the trainee op­er­a­tors. Also, this type of train­ing pro­gram lasts for over three months. This needs to be changed as per the be­low point­ers:

a. Train­ing pro­gram should be of shorter du­ra­tion (max­i­mum 45 days) as no trainee can wait for too long to start earn­ing from the ac­quired skills. He/she will start los­ing in­ter­est and zeal.

b. No line wants to wait for such long du­ra­tion for get­ting the re­quired man­power.

c. Longer the train­ing pro­gram, larger are the chances of at­tri­tion dur­ing and af­ter the train­ing.

d. Cost of train­ing pro­gram be­comes un­vi­able.

e. De­spite long du­ra­tion of train­ing and cer­ti­fi­ca­tion, in­dus­try is not in a po­si­tion to pay pre­mium for a semi-trained per­son from these skill de­vel­op­ment cen­tres.

f. Soft skills, coun­selling and in­dus­trial be­hav­iour as­pect of the first job shall be in­te­gral parts of this train­ing pro­gram. This should in­clude coun­selling about PF, ESI, and other ben­e­fits of work­ing in or­ga­nized sec­tor com­pa­nies.

g. Trainees should also be taught to han­dle the chal­lenges of mi­gra­tion, as in most of the cases, ei­ther trainee has to travel to work lo­ca­tion out­side this domi­cile state or has al­ready come to in­dus­trial hubs due to dis­tress of un­em­ploy­ment or poverty.

Thus, the train­ing pro­gram should be ef­fec­tively de­signed to im­part one or two skill-sets, which are de­manded in the at­tached in­dus­try/com­pany. Too many skills pro­vided are of­ten wasted as the op­er­a­tor is ini­tially put for one or two set of op­er­a­tions, where he/she has to gain ef­fi­ciency and stamina to work for longer du­ra­tion. Grad­u­ally, the skill ma­trix can be en­hanced for the line/unit, through planned in­ter­ven­tion of in­dus­trial engi­neer­ing and up-skilling.

Bib­hash Ku­mar: Yes, there is a def­i­nite need for changes in tra­di­tional train­ing. Most im­por­tant is to con­trol the turnover af­ter train­ing, as this HR role is im­por­tant and soft skill train­ing is re­quired for the trainee op­er­a­tors. Cur­rently, we get C grade tai­lors from the train­ing room af­ter train­ing. We must de­fine train­ing in such a way that we can get B or even A grade tai­lors from the train­ing room. For that, we should change the way of skill ex­er­cise train­ing, it should be more pre­cise and qual­ity ori­ented.

Su­naina Khanna: There can be many things which should be in­cluded in the cur­rent for­mat such as:

a. Con­cept of stan­dard time in each sewing ex­er­cise.

b. Stitch­ing with a cut­ter in hand – it is pos­si­ble in 70% of the op­er­a­tions.

c. Cre­at­ing aware­ness of 5S and mak­ing peo­ple re­spon­si­ble for ma­chine and sur­round­ing area clean­li­ness.

d. Con­cept of ef­fi­ciency and how it af­fects the man­u­fac­tur­ers.

e. Impact of ab­sen­teeism/ labour turnover on pro­duc­tiv­ity/qual­ity.

Paul Col­lyer: It is nec­es­sary to adopt in­ten­sive and highly fo­cused train­ing sys­tems.

Pra­bir Jana: Un­for­tu­nately, there are not too many re­ported cases of break­ing/ de­vi­at­ing from tra­di­tional prac­tices. This area is rel­a­tively un­ex­plored and peo­ple are fol­low­ing the treaded path. We need to ap­pre­ci­ate that UBT ma­chine does not only mean thread trim­ming and pro­gram­ming, it is much more than that. En­ergy ef­fi­ciency, time ef­fi­ciency and so on. Two of the many bad habits of any sewing op­er­a­tor are short burst sewing and putting hands on the flywheel to slow down. Both can be ef­fec­tively ad­dressed by train­ing to use UBT ma­chine from the be­gin­ning.

The train­ers need to be in­no­va­tive and ex­plo­rative in their ap­proach. I re­mem­ber read­ing some ex­pert’s opin­ion that pa­per ex­er­cises are no more used in Europe. There may be counter ar­gu­ment on the same. Large or­ga­nized gar­ment fac­to­ries must ex­per­i­ment and ex­plore newer and more ef­fec­tive ways of im­part­ing train­ing.

To teach some­one to use a ba­sic method and then ex­pect them to for­get and learn a new method for a UBT wastes time and money and adds to the train­ing time. – Paul Col­lyer, Ap­parel In­dus­try Vet­eran

Learn­ing to con­trol an or­di­nary ma­chine is com­par­a­tively dif­fi­cult and time con­sum­ing, whereas speed of UBT ma­chine can be set dur­ing train­ing phase, re­sult­ing in shorter time to learn con­trol on sewing ma­chine. – Dr. Pra­bir Jana, Pro­fes­sor, NIFT Delhi

Sewing op­er­a­tor trainees are be­ing placed for jobs avail­able in small- to medium-sized man­u­fac­tur­ing set-ups, where use of UBT ma­chines is still a dream. – Sha­l­abh Sri­vas­tava, Part­ner Gun­ina So­lu­tions

Trainee op­er­a­tors should be in­tro­duced to the UBT ma­chine dur­ing skill train­ing for the des­ig­nated op­er­a­tions. – Amit Gug­nani, Se­nior Vice Pres­i­dent,Technopak Ad­vi­sors Pvt. Ltd.

The lead time for ad­vanc­ing to UBT from a ba­sic ma­chine is 1 to 2 days. This process is very sim­i­lar to switch­ing from a ba­sic phone to a smart­phone. – Su­naina Khanna, Di­rec­tor, Meth­ods Ap­parel Con­sul­tancy

Cur­rently, we get C grade tai­lors from the train­ing room af­ter train­ing. We must de­fine train­ing in such a way that we can get B or even A grade tai­lors from the train­ing room. – Bib­hash Ku­mar, Man­ager, Tex­port In­dus­tries Pvt. Ltd.

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