Dr. Habeeb Ajimotokan, a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Ilorin, has fabricated a machine capable of producing different shapes of pencils in commercial quantities.
According to the University of Ilorin bulletin issued on Monday, the machine was fabricated from locally-sourced off-the-shelf materials.
The report stated that the machine had been tested and found to be capable of producing 400 units of pencils in an hour.
The publication described Ajimotokan as a specialist in Mechanical Process and Energy Engineering.
It stated that the inventor and his team were currently working on producing eraser-fitting and pencil-end-cutter, which would make the local production of pencils a resounding reality and for which a patent would be sought thereafter.
The publication noted that the initial pencils produced through the machine “could only be sharpened with razor blade’’.
It added that the situation compelled the don and his team to go back to the drawing board, which culminated in the production of a normal pencil comparable with the imported ones in every parameter.
The bulletin noted that: “The engineer said that the raw materials for the pencil itself were gotten from waste papers and graphite that abound everywhere.
“He added that pencil-making is not only cheap but can provide job opportunities for many unemployed Nigerian youths.’’
It said Ajimotokan was propelled to work on the domestication of the pencil-making machine in order to reduce the hard currency being expended in the importation of that essential material for the nation’s education sector.
The publication commended the enterprising dispositions of the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ilorin, Prof. Sulyman Abdulkareem and his management team for encouraging productivity and ingenuity among staff members and students.
It particularly commended Abdulkareem for his personal encouragement.
It noted that Ajimotokan commenced the processes which led to the re-modification of the machine when the Vice-Chancellor was the Director of the University’s Laboratory to Products (LABTOP) Unit, based on the advice he was offered by the Unit.
According to the bulletin, the inventor lamented that paucity of funds impeded the speed with which he intended the machine would be produced.
It further stated that Ajimotokan called on wealthy entrepreneurs to collaborate with the university in producing the machine in large quantities.
The bulletin noted that this was because its economic value could not be overemphasized, considering the number of end users of the product.
It said it was important for governments at various levels to encourage scientific and technological innovations through favourable public policies and adequate funding of research.
“Nigerian scholars have the expertise to go places if they are given the enabling environment,’’ the publication added.