The National Coir Research Management Institute (NCRMI) is all set to unveil an indigenously-developed portable machine that can potentially revolutionise coir production in Kerala by extracting high-quality fibres from coconut husk at lower cost and labour than conventional technology, an official said.
The FEE 6.0C2 Fibre Extraction Machine is a marked improvement on the mini de-fibering unit that the NCRMI had developed and patented earlier.
The newer, sturdier version comes with a built-in crusher that processes full green and dry husk, completely eliminating the labour-intensive step of manually breaking down the husk into smaller pieces.
It also reduces breakage, yielding longer fibres.
The machine will be formally commissioned Thursday by Revenue and Coir Minister Adoor Prakash.
The move comes ahead of the flagship Coir Kerala 2014 international trade fair in Alappuzha from Feb 1-5, which will see participation by hundreds of foreign and domestic buyers of coir and natural fibre products.
The new machine is capable of processing 550-600 husks per hour yielding 44-48 kg of raw fibre.
NCRMI director K.R.Anil said the extractor, which occupies a space of just 1.5 metres by 1.1 metres and weighs around 480 kg, is fitted with a 10 HP motor that consumes significantly less amount of electricity per unit of production than large bulk processing machines and can easily be operated by a single person.
"The FEE 6.0C2 comes with built-in safety features and we have designed it to minimize physical stress on the user. It is primarily built for women who constitute more that 80 per cent of the coir industry workforce in Kerala," he said.