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What is silk reeling?

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Silk reeling is a process of unwinding silk filament from the cocoon and reeling the filaments together to produce a single thread. For this, the cocoons groups are first cooked in a warm water bath, then the silk filaments are unwinded and combined together to get reeled. Then the resultant thread is winded onto a fast-moving reel. The number of cocoons determines the thickness (denier) of silk thread filaments.

The following steps are followed in the silk Reeling Process:
• Stifling Process: Stifling is a pre-reeling process. In this process without compromising on the quality of silk, the pupae inside the cocoons are killed using Steam- sifting.

• Cocooing or Cocoon Boiling: In the second step, to soften the shell and also to dissolve the sericin gum, the cocoons are boiled in hot water bath. This step is done to smoothen the process of reeling.

• Silk Reeling: In this process with the help of sericin, the two silk filaments produced by two silk glands are cemented together at the spinneret. The resultant bifilar thread is known as Bave. Afterward, the unwinding of the bave of the cocoons is done. The process of reeling can be done either using the traditional way i.e. charkha or by the modern method of using power-driven reels.

There are many methods of silk reeling such as the direct reeling method on a standard sized reel, the indirect method of reeling on small reels, and the transfer of reeled silk from small reels onto standard-sized reels on a re-reeling machine. For different methods different reeling devices are used:

• Hand spinning wheel
In this primitive spinning method, the device is operated by two hands i.e. one to drive the wheel and the other to feed in cocoons. In one of devices the cocoons are boiled in a separate pot while on the other the reeling thread is wound onto each wheel.
• Charkha type reeling machine
This is the traditional way of reeling silk in India using the device called Charkha. Thus uses the direct reeling method where the cocoons are fed to reeling the ends by hands and the threads are reeled onto the other end. This device eliminates the re-reeling process.
• Sitting type reeling machine
Sitting type reeling machines are of two types, one which is foot-operated and the other one is motor-driven. There is no stop motion attachment in the device and hence due to the rapid speed of wounding, there are obstacles to the production of good quality raw silk.
• Multi-end reeling machine
Multi end reeling machines are also known as standing type reeling machines as the operator must have to stand when running this machine. The multi ends machine eliminates the disadvantages of the Sitting type reeling machine by reducing the reeling speed. The number of reeling threads per basin is around twenty-fold. Due to the reduced speed of the device, the quality of silk threads produced by this machine is much better.

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