Learning the Ropes, from the Garwares – P2 and experiential learning – 6th March, Friday

From exploring production, to witnessing the different processes involved in manufacturing a product, a field trip to Garware Technical Fibers at MIDC was indeed a lesson come alive.

A short bus ride to the industrial sector of Pune led us to our destination, the Garware plant, which proudly manufactures a wide variety of ropes for different purposes. The beaming faces of the employees at the factory was the most welcoming gesture we could have received! Their enthusiasm and commitment to share experiences about life at their workplace facilitated us all to walk into a new environment brimming with processes linked to our unit ‘How We Organize Ourselves’.

To ensure safety and take extra precautions, learners wore ear plugs (Thank you so much Mr Plant for generously sending in a set for each child, in case we fell short), were split into groups and thus began a private tour of the entire factory. Whirring of motors, stomping of machines and clanging of metal didn’t deter our spirits, because we all were excited to see how ropes are produced on a large scale. The central idea and lines of inquiry of the unit became a reality, as learners observed how raw materials are transformed into finished products with the help of different processes and systems. Our learners carefully treaded along the pathways of the assembly line, curiously observing how plastic pellets were mixed with colors and transformed into one of the strongest ropes.

From the process of turning melted plastic into thin strings, to the process of putting together a collection of the filaments into a finished product, the factory left no stone unturned in showcasing the essence of our unit. While witnessing the large reels turning and twisting within the machines, learners were able to make different connections linked to their inquiry into different raw materials and how finished products go through various steps for completion. While the tour of the factory was coming to a conclusion, the best spectacle was reserved to formally end the fabulous experiential learning engagement. A thick rope was slowly pulled from one end, testing its strength through the pressure of heavy weights. After strong resistance by the rope, the snapping sound told us that the rope had used up all of its power. It helped the quality control and testing department record the data for product development.

The P2 learners were ready to take back their learning of the day to school, but the Garware employees and their hospitality meant we couldn’t take leave without a round of refreshments! Seated in the conference room, the P2 team felt as if they were in the midst of a board meeting, reviewing the products and profits over some cupcakes, fruit juice and French fries! With our hunger for food and learning taken care of, we bid adieu to the Garware plant.

The P2 team is truly grateful for the learning experience we received at the technical fibers plant. We couldn’t have asked for a more enriching conclusion for our unit!

Let’s have a look at how learners revisited their experience:

“We took 2 buses to the MIDC highway. First, we made 5 groups. Then we saw how the plastic is melted in the machines. Next, they showed us how they test the rope, if it is strong.”

“First, they used pebbles. Then they melt the pebbles with heat, and it turns into thread, and then they twist it. Finally, they pack it and send it to the shop.”

“Now I will tell you some steps of how to make thin and thick rope. Read carefully! First small pieces of plastic are melted. Next, when it is hot, people put the plastic together and make it thick. Soon, the rope is packed and sent to the store!!”

“After that we saw ropes getting twisted. We also saw packing and how they make nets. Last, we saw testing ropes.”

“How ropes were made…. It all starts with melted plastic. They keep on putting layers and layers, until it makes a thin piece of rope. You do this rotation about 3 times….  when you’re finished, make a braid. Take one piece of string and tie it around the rope so it does not unravel.”

“Then, the packaging area it’s a machine that turns around with tape and it’s done.”

-P2 Team