‘Fibroflex’ stands for the ultimate in quality and comfort. Fibroflex Rubberised Coir Mattresses, Pillows and Cushions are manufactured by the reputed house of ‘Bharat Motors’ for the past four decades. The factory is based at Pettai, Tirunelveli.

Fibroflex (India) Pvt. Ltd., previously known as Bharat Motors, was founded in the year 1945, as a partnership concern. Initially it began as a dealer in imported automobiles such as Oldsmoblie and Fiat cars, Bedford Trucks and automobile spare parts. Later, the trading in trucks and vehicles and their servicing were stopped while the automobile spares division alone continued till about 1985.

In 1960, Bharat Motors diversified into manufacturing rubberised coir products for the first time in the whole of South East Asia with the technology imported from the Austrian, Dr. Fehrer, who helped set up the plant in Tirunelveli in southern-most India, with a vision that it had a very huge market potential in India. The mattress pads produced from these machines are made of essentially coconut coir fibre with latex rubber sprayed on them to bond the coir fibre and impart stiffness to the mattress.

The main raw materials required for the plant, namely, coconut coir fibre and natural rubber latex were available aplenty in and around Tirunelveli and the local government was helpful in extending some infrastructure facilities like power, water etc. required for setting up of the plant in Industrial Estate. Starting with a modest turnover, the company slowly built up a popular brand in rubberised coir mattresses called ‘Fibroflex’ with varieties like pillows, cushions, carpet underlays, bath mats, various kinds of cushioning materials, air-filters used in air-conditioning equipments etc.

Basically cotton is generally used for beds in India since ages. The rubberised coir mattresses were a revolution in the Indian household, which took some time to pick up in the Indian market and in the minds of conservative Indian people. After many years of promotions through various media to convert these people into users of rubberised coir products, it has now come to stay with us permanently due to its environment and climate friendly nature.

The rubberised coir products which are similar in appearance to any ‘U’ foam or rubber foam products, are biodegradable and eco-friendly compared to the former and much cheaper in cost compared to the latter. This is the reason it has become a huge hit in the Indian market. There are more than 100 manufacturers of rubberised coir products now in India servicing the ever-growing population of India.

The rubberised coir industry, which gives employment to the rural section of the population, helps tapping of our enormous coconut plantations and encourages many young entrepreneurs to take it up. It falls under the SSI sector.

The finished mattresses, manufactured at Tirunelveli are transported to almost all the places in Tamilnadu, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh.
 

Process

The manufacturing process for Rubberised Coir Mattresses involves :

Curling of Coir

Purchased Coconuts are broken and the husks are soaked in water for a few days and then beaten in a Disintegrator and Decorticator set to remove the coir fibre. This fibre is then cleaned in Turbo Cleaner and spread out under the sun for drying. The dry fibre is then sieved in Revolving Screener to remove any pith, dust and baby fibre. This decorticated cleaned fibre is hand-fed into the spinning and curling machine to get the curled coir in the form of rolls.

These curled coir rolls are stored for 2 months in a dry, moisture-free and cool place. The 2 month long storage period helps to set the curl in the coir, thus making coir springs, to give springy effect in the mattress.

Additional dry curled coir with moisture content less than 10% (Industry average set by Coir Board of India is of 15%) is also purchased at least 2 months in advance for usage and stored away.

Production of Bare Mattress

This curled coir is uncurled in Uncurling Machines and the coir thus thrown out of the uncurling machine is fed into the Sheet Machine, which is set for a desired width of the mattress required to be made. In the Sheet machine, the coir passes through different processes where it is well combed and knitted to form a continuous coir sheet of required density and thickness.This sheet, also known as a fleece, gets sprayed with compounded latex rubber evenly on all sides at a desired weight per square inch of the fleece.

The partially vulcanised rubberised coir fleeces coming out of the Sheet machine is neatly cut to the desired lengths and placed on top of one another till the desired thickness is obtained and this is made into one rubberised coir bare sheet. The bare sheet thus obtained is weighed in an electronic weighing machine to check if the desired weight as per BIS specifications is attained.

From the weighing machine, the bare sheet is taken and passed through a Rolling Machine, also called Drum Press, to even out the coir sheet and the fibres, which may be protruding out of the surface. These rolled bare sheets are loaded onto the Hydraulic Matt Press to be pressed to the desired thickness between it's steamed hot plates (a boiler provides the steam required) for a fixed time.

After the bare sheets are removed from the Hydraulic Matt Press, they are transferred to the Vulcaniser to cure the rubber and also remove any moisture that may have collected in the sheets and baked for required time. Any moisture that may be retained in the bare sheets would adversely affect the quality of the resultant mattress. The bare sheets are then removed from the vulcaniser and allowed to cool to the room temperature.

These bare sheets are taken to the cutting table and are cut to the exact size/shape required. From the cutting table, it is then taken to the Latex-spraying chamber where latex and glue is sprayed on one of its surface and the foam sheet is stuck evenly.

This bare sheet with foam stuck on one of its sides is taken to the adjacent shop floor, where thermo-foam cut to the desired width is stuck with glue on the sidewalls of the bare sheet.

It is then inspected to check if the foam and the thermo-foam are stuck properly and evenly and no portion is coming out.

A sample cutting is also taken to the lab for testing the density evenness throughout the bare sheet and also tested for strength on compression at different pressure levels. This is to ensure the final mattress does not sag on usage.

Finishing

This bare sheet is then taken to the Finishing Section where it is converted to the final mattress. Depending on the type of mattress, quilted or plain fabric is kept cut to the desired width and length. This cloth is then placed on the bare sheet and stitched along with the mandatory labels using imported automated tape edge machine. This mattress is then covered with a polythene bag using a Polythene Heat Sealer. These finished mattresses are then either stocked or packed for transportation using hessian and polythene sheets to be sent to its destination.
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