Roving Process in Pakistan's Textile Industry

By Sheikh, H. R. | Economic Review, November-December 2003 | Go to article overview

Roving Process in Pakistan's Textile Industry


Sheikh, H. R., Economic Review


Roving is an important process in the conversion of fibres into yarn by the rising spinning system. However, it is no longer an indispensable process because of the development of ring spinning machines, which produce yarn straight from the finished draw frame silver. Nevertheless, most, if not all, of the spinning mills in Pakistan, operating ring spinning frames, spin yarn from roving produced on roving frames.

The term Roving is applied to both the process and the product, Merrill (1) defines roving as a continuous slightly twisted strand of cotton fibres which has not received its final drawing. This definition is universally accepted. Roving is also distinguished as the first process in which material is wound on a bobbin. These roving bobbins are creeled on the ring spinning frames for spinning yarn.

The details of the roving operations reported by Merrill (1) pertaining to the processing conditions in textile mills in the first half of the 20th century were:

Thus, for fine and superfine yarns, roving process was carried out in four and five stages respectively. However, according to Hamby (2) there used to be four standard roving frames, i.e. slubber, intermediate, fine and jack frames. Today, most of the mills use only one roving frame upto 5.0 hank roving, which is usually enough for all the yarns spun today.

Pakistan's Textile Industry

Textile industry was almost nonexistent in Pakistan at the time of its creation. Starting from scratch, spinning mills were rapidly established in the decades of 50's and 60's. Factors which accelerated the growth of the textile industry were:

* Abundant availability of cotton.

* Large resources of man-power.

* Large unsatisfied demand for yarn in the local market.

* Favourable policies of the Government of Pakistan.

Three-Stage Roving Process

In line with the world trend the spinning mills in Pakistan also installed 3-stage process for roving formation, i.e. slubber, intermediate and roving formation, i.e. slubber, intermediate and roving frame. By mid-seventies high draft speed frames were developed by the textile m a c h i n e r y manufacturers in the developed countries. The textile mills in these countries shifted to one stage roving process. The spinning mills in Pakistan could not avail the advantages available with the installation of high draft speed frames because of the crisis created by several adverse factors such as:

* Suspension of credit lines by the World Bank and its affiliates for import of spinning machinery in Pakistan, apprehending glut of yarn supplies in the market, which had shrunk considerably because of the appearance of Bangladesh on the world map.

* Nationalisation policies adopted by the Government of Pakistan (GoP) and expansion of the public sector at the cost of the private sector. This created an atmosphere of distrust in the mill-owners who stopped further investments in their units.

* Imposition of duties on the export of yarn with retrospective effect without protecting contracts already finalised by the mill-owners and the exporters. This led to cancellation of contracts and yarn exports suffered a damaging blow! The industrialists lost interest in their textile mills anticipating that the textile industry would also be nationalised by the GoP.

One Stage Roving Process

However, during the decade of eighties in consequence of the industry friendly policies of the government of Gen. Ziaul Haque, revival and rehabilitation of the textile industry was witnessed. Fortunately, it coincided with a boom in the international market enabling the spinning mills in Pakistan to earn extra-ordinary profits. Moderanisation programmes were, therefore, undertaken involving import of modern machines especially high draft speed frames. Main specifications, makes and models of the latter machines are reported in Table-II.

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