Mobilizing for a generational change

Nigerian engineers produce respiratory, automatic hand washing machines

Mr Ibrahim Aledu, a former Chairman of the Apapa Branch of the Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE), has fabricated a respiratory machine for treatment of the coronavirus, the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports.

Aledu, a fellow of NSE, is the Apapa Inspectorate Chief of Council for the Regulation of Engineering in Nigeria (COREN) Engineering Regulation and Monitoring (ERM).

The fellow of the Nigerian Institution of mechanical Engineers, in video presentations to various stakeholders and on Facebook, demonstrated how the mechanical respiratory machine works.

NAN reports that the machine was made from wood, recycled and other locally-sourced materials which are powered by dry cell batteries and controlled by a pulley to pump out oxygen.

A pulley is a wheel with a grooved rim around with a cord passing through to help change the direction of a force applied to the cord.

It is usually used to raise heavy weights.

In the video presentations made available to NAN, Aledu explained the different oxygen requirement levels for children and adults which the machine was able to regulate to suit each need.

He told NAN on telephone on Monday that the device was a modification of existing technology to suit local purpose at an affordable rate.

The engineer said that the gesture was part of his contribution to the fight against COVID-19.

“The mechanical respiratory machine is a modification, not an invention; when a technology already exists, it can be modified.

“Engineers were planning to donate money to the Federal Government but I felt it is better we produce something as a solution and donate. I used the period of the lockdown to work on it.

“ A foreign mechanical respirator costs 300 dollars but an electronic one is about 30,000 dollars. During this lockdown some of my colleagues encouraged me, and I began the design drawings.

“I searched my materials storage and saw that I had bearings and a few things I needed.

“I could not get some of the things at home; so, I had to go out to get other materials to assemble them,’’ he told NAN.

Explaining the challenges he encountered, Aledu said that he had to abandon a faulty direct current adaptar he bought from an online store to improvise with motorcycle dry cell batteries to power the device.

“I have built in a mechanical governor that regulates the degree to which the air bag is pressed down to release oxygen through the valve to humans,’’ he told NAN.

He said that a presentation would be made to the Lagos State Ministry of Works and Infrastructure on Tuesday to get its approval for mass production of the device.

Aledu said that the prototype cost him about N130,000.00 to produce, adding that he had the capacity to produce up to 50 machines daily from his works lab in Ijora.

NAN reports that another mechanical engineer, Mr Ahmed Ayinla, a member of the Ikeja Branch of NSE, also invented a foot-operated hand washing and soap dispensing machine for public places.

Speaking on the invention, the Chairman of the Ikeja Branch of the NSE, Mrs Funmi Akingbagbohun, told NAN on telephone that the device would reduce the risk of COVID-19 infections.

“With conventional taps, users must turn on the water supply by hand and in the process must touch the tap, but this invention eliminates the touch because water and soap dispense automatically,’’ she told NAN.

Akingbagbohun, also the Deputy National Chairman of the Nigerian Institution of Mechanical Engineers, hailed the inventions of both Ayinla and Aledu which would be presented to the Lagos State Government on Tuesday.

NAN reports that Ayinla, in a video demonstration, said that the mobile foot-operated hand washing device would be used in public places to curb the spread of coronavirus.

The device made from a drum, wash hand basin, pipes connected to a water tank allows users to activate either soap or water sources through pedals operated by foot to either dispense soap or run water on hands.


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