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New concepts and products

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The Hindu                      04.04.2013 

New concepts and products

Mitticool, a terracotta refrigerator.— PHOTO: S. SIVA SARAVANAN
Mitticool, a terracotta refrigerator.— PHOTO: S. SIVA SARAVANAN

With more than 12 hours of power cut a day, consumers, including students, are looking at ways that will improve power availability.

Be it industries, students or the common man, many are coming up with new concepts and products that will reduce the dependence on conventional electricity, improve energy conservation and generation.

The State-level science expo organised in Coimbatore a couple of months ago by the Department of School Education saw a significant number of entries related to energy conservation and generation of power from alternative sources.

This included off-shore wind mills and an improvised pedal-operated generator to power home appliances.

On the industrial front, two companies went in for bio-diesel production using non-edible vegetable seeds. Though awareness is high, production of bio-diesel is not viable in this region at present because of non-availability of seeds. If there is an assured supply of the seeds and support from the Government, production and use of bio-diesel can increase, says an industry source. The plants require nearly three kg of seeds to produce one litre of diesel and the total cost works out to Rs. 40 a litre. The cost varies according to the availability and price of the seeds. The diesel can be used to run generators and in industries.

Similarly, a product that has found a market here is terracotta refrigerator manufactured buy a Gujarat-based entrepreneur.

The 50 litre refrigerator does not require electricity to keep vegetables, fruits, milk and water cool. According to Mansukhbhai Prajapati, who makes “Mitticool” from 2004, he entered the Tamil Nadu market recently by appointing dealers. In Coimbatore and Erode Districts, over 50 have been sold in the last two months. Mr. Prajapati is now working on “Mitticool house”, which is an environment-friendly air-conditioner.


Give us prior notice before digging up roads, say Salem residents

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The Hindu                          18.03.2013

Give us prior notice before digging up roads, say Salem residents

Staff Reporter 

People inconvenienced because vehicular movement is hit.

The Convent Road in Mittapudur that was dug for laying water pipeline has caused hardship to the residents as the civic body carried out the work without prior notice, thereby affecting vehicular movement.

Residents in the area said that pipelines, each about 20 metre length, were stocked along the road on Saturday and two earthmovers began to dig up the road by afternoon.

Only after the work began, they realised that vehicular movement was not possible in the narrow road and demanded they could have been alerted about the work.

They added that mushrooming of houses in the area has led to frequent movement of the public, but the width of the road, that is less than 10 feet, was not extended and hence only pedestrians and two-wheelers can move.

A cab owner said that his vehicle was stationed in his residence could not be moved out due to the work and he could not pick up his customers.

“If we had been informed, I could have parked my vehicle somewhere else and carried out my business,” a frustrated owner added.

They also said that the roads were hurriedly closed after laying pipelines, resulting in potholes at many places making it dangerous even for pedestrians, during night hours.

Residents also demanded that the road be re-laid immediately before accidents occur. Corporation officials said that since the work was scheduled to be completed in a few days, the public was not informed.

Pit closed

They added that the pit was closed and re-laying would be carried out only after completing the under ground drainage work that would begin soon.

Residents in the area demanded that the civic body should assure that re-laying of roads would be done after completing the underground drainage work in time, as delay in executing the work would affect the movement of over 1,000 families in the area.

Civic body stacked water pipes on the road and began digging up the road using earthmovers.


Students develop low-cost automatic urinal flushing system

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The Times of India                         22.02.2013

Students develop low-cost automatic urinal flushing system

MADURAI: In a bid to solve the problem of stinking public urinals, students of the mechanical engineering department at Velammal College of Engineering and Technology have come up with an innovative urinal with automatic water flushing.

"Despite sensor-enabled automatic water flushing urinals available in the market, they cannot be installed in public toilets as they cost more. The starting price of such sensor urinals would be Rs 5,000. Moreover, they need continuous monitoring and battery maintenance. Whereas, the simple mechanical equipment which we have developed at only Rs 440 can be attached to the ordinary urinals," claimed G R Malarmannan, a final year student, who developed the mechanism along with two second year students, S Emmanuel Richards and R M Pearlson.

"The urinal is designed for frugal water usage as it allows only 350 ml of water for every flush. When the user gets down off the urinal platform the water flush is automatically on. The spring arrangement suspended, under the platform enables it to come down. As a result, a 350ml container connected with the water source would be filled due to a mechanical element attached to it. When the user gets off the platform, the water is released from the container to flush the urinal," the students explained.

The simple mechanical urinal has won several accolades both at national and international-level technical contests. It was shortlisted in the International Mechanical Engineering Congress held in the USA last year. Understanding the feasibility of the urinal, K Veera Raghava Rao, erstwhile corporation commissioner of Trichy city approached the students for the installation of such urinals in public places. However, before the project could commence, the commissioner was transferred, the students said.

The students have also developed another equipment, which can help rubber tappers. After seeing a news report from Kerala last year about cash award to anyone who comes up with a viable model and cost-effective mechanized rubber tapping knife to solve the problem of employees in rubber milk tapping, the final year students M Venkatesh and Malamannan along with Richards decided to come up with one.

They developed a handheld semi-automatic rubber-tapping machine using a motor, which can be used with a battery. Using the machine, a labourer can tap milk from 300 trees in the morning hours, which is the apt time for the work. They can collect milk from only 50 trees using their conventional knife, the students claimed.

Similarly, the students have exhibited more than 15 innovations including detection and signalling for trains at unmanned level crossings, semi-automatic fish scaling machine, automatic toilet cleaner, jasmine flower winding machine, automatic feeder button riveting machine, high-efficiency domestic gas burner, stair climbing trolley, remote-controlled floor cleaner and dust-free blackboard duster.

Last Updated on Friday, 22 February 2013 09:08

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