Sponsoring of technically upgraded furnaces
SETU works with numerous bell making artisans, which is their traditional craft and the sole source of livelihood generation. They have been practising this craft from ages. They make beautiful and sonorous bells that form an important part of our product line.
The traditional craft of bell making is a highly skilled & complex process. This involves curing of metallic bells under high temperature. The artisans use home-made small ovens/’chulhas’ which generate a lot of smoke and heat up the air. This makes it difficult for the artisans to work safely & comfortably.
About two years back; SETU had conducted various experiments with local artisans & scientists from IIT Delhi in association with our partner NGO Khamir, to develop suitable Kilns , to protect artisans from fumes generated during firing of bells. We had successfully developed technically devised kilns & had installed a number of furnaces for the artisans for observation in the first phase.
The kilns have been a huge success and are taken very positively by the artisans. Motivated by the positive feedback on kilns and on artisan demand, SETU is sponsoring 15 more furnaces for them as phase II of the project. The installation has already begun and will be completed by the end of this year. In phase III of project, 15 more klins will be installed by the year 2016.
The Kilns are made up of fire bricks with chimney to expel heat . It is to be noted that bells are baked at temperatures higher to the extent of 1200 degrees. The furnaces also have a mechanically remote operated door.
Advantages of using the specially designed Klins:
• Protection from heat, fumes and blisters
• Energy conservation
• The productivity of artisans has increased drastically since they started working with klins, consequently, as opposed to their earlier manufacturing capacity of 5-6 bells in a sitting, now they can make 15-20 bells!!
• Fuel consumption has reduced by 20-25%.
• Artisan’s houses are free from fumes.
• Even the older generation of artisans who were earlier skeptical of using the new furnaces and have many fears are now convinced that kilns are a good go and are satisfied to use them.
• With the use of kilns, artisans can now work comfortably in the smoke free environment. Due to this fact, young artisans are joining the craft form. In the last two years, the number of artisans has increased from 50 to around 150!!
In addition to sponsoring of the Kilns, SETU is planning to sponsor roofs (tin sheds) for the artisans working in open air. Also, we are providing metal cutting tools to the artisans over the traditional manual drudgery used for cutting metal sheets.