Working and Living India

Project by

Prof. Purba Joshi
Prof. G.G. Ray
Sponsored by
Design Innovation Center (DIC)

This project will be exhibited at Design Degree Show 2015, 13th to 17th June.

Design of a Tea-Leaf Plucking Aid

Project Overview

India is the second largest producer of tea in the world & accounts for the employment of more than 2 million people. It occupies an important role in the Indian economy not only due to its capacity to earn foreign exchange, but also because it im­pacts the livelihoods of scores of people employed directly and indirectly by the industry.

At the bottom of the tea industry pyramid are the tea plantation workers, who are prone to various occupational hazards such as musculo-skeletal disorders or absorption of harmful alkaloids (sap-like chemical) into their skin. This project attempts to under­stand and address some of the core issues associated with hand-plucking of tea leaves.

The iterative industrial design process has been utilized in an effort to bring about a meaningful design intervention into the lives of tea-leaf pluckers in India.

D-Objective & D-Brief

To design a device that is supportive to manual tea plucking. The device must minimize human injury and maintain high leaf standard.The device shall adhere to the following check-points:

  1. The device should alleviate musculoskeletal issues associated with manual tea plucking such as muscle & joint pain, inflammation & stiffness.
  1. The aid must protect the tea-pluckers hands & fingers from injuries, abrasion, insect bites & deposition of harmful chemicals.
  1. Use of the device to pluck tea should not diminish the quality of leaves plucked.
  1. The device must be easy to maneuver & carry in difficult hilly terrain.
  1. The device must be economical to produce.

Traumatised fingers of a tea-leaf plucker in Darjeeling , West Bengal.
Shear Collector Concept
Pre-stressed C Frame Concept
Pre-stressed C Frame with Spring-loaded Handles
Finger Worn Concept
Finger Worn Concept Mock-up
Finger Worn Concept 3D Model
Rapid Prototyped Pre-final Model
User Trials with RP Models ,Darjeeling ,West Bengal
Evolution of Mock-up models
Final Design
Final Product Proposal
Project Outcome - i) Reported Reduction in Pain While Plucking : 70% ii) Reported reduction in Plucking Effort : 60% iii) Reported Improvement in Leaf Quality : 20%