Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Give me a lever long enough, And i will lift a barrel of shit

As a part of the Emptying and Transport sanitation technology stream of development undertaken by Sani-Hub, a method of lifting barrels onto the back of a pickup truck is needed to improve pit emptying operational logistics.

Currently pit emptying entrepreneurs are restricted by logistics costs, because households appear unwilling or unable to pay for more than 3 barrels of sludge to be removed from their pit. At current rates, the removal of 3 barrels of sludge will generate 90,000UGX, however the rental of a pickup truck will cost a minimum of 80,000UGX, and the pickup is required to remain at the site for the whole pit emptying operation.  Therefore the profit margin is not great enough to allow rapid business expansion.
Fabrication of the first prototype 

With the use of a barrel lifting device entrepreneurs will be able to increase their net income by reducing the transport costs per pit, because they will be able to service multiple pits in one area with one pickup truck. The pit emptying entrepreneurs can coordinate between each other and share transport vehicles this will increase their net income by reducing transport cost individually. And if barrels of sludge can be lifted onto a transport vehicle when they are full, this could lead to rapid expansion of the pit emptying services generating more business for the pit emptying entrepreneurs, and mitigate the issue of the pickup having to remain at the pit emptying site all day.

Barrel Lifting Device Prototype One:

The first prototype developed uses the concept of a counterweight through a simple lever system to lift a barrel of sludge. The device can be fully disassembled, so it can be loaded onto the back of a pickup truck, and then fully assembled once on the site where it is needed to lift barrels. 
The image shows the first prototype lifting a 150l barrel
(Of water, the test with poo is still to come)

We aim for 3 pit emptying team’s equipment to be loaded onto the back of a pickup truck consisting of, 6 barrels, 3 gulpers, hand carts and a barrel lifting device. The 3 teams will be dropped at 3 different sites within an area with a gulper, hand cart and 2 barrels. They will empty two barrels worth of sludge and then manoeuvre the full barrels with the use of a handcart to the roadside where the barrel lifting device can be set up and the barrels lifted onto the back of the pickup truck.  This means the rental cost of a pickup truck to be split between the 3 pit emptying teams allowing them to gain more net income from emptying a pit.
The barrel lifting device when disassembled 

We are currently testing the barrel lifting device prototype evaluating its ease of assembly and disassembly, lifting capabilities and usability for the pit emptying operators. It’s evident that the lifting arm of the device is heavy due to the weight in which it has to lift. Additionally, a driver to reverse a pickup underneath the barrel once it is hoisted. Evaluating these challenges will enable us to refine the barrel lifter’s design such that it effectively reduces the logistics costs of a pit emptying operation and allows businesses to scale up.  

1 comment:

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