THINGS TO CONSIDER BEFORE BUYING LOCALLY MADE INDUSTRIAL MACHINES IN NIGERIA
Due to the poor state of the country economy that have driven many foreign investors away following the continuous rise in foreign currencies against naira, the worst of it is the US dollar which increased tremendously from N160 in 2012 to N500 in 2016, this continuous rise made most companies to relocate out of the country due to the fact that they cannot be able to carry out foreign transactions effectively, while on that, the government is making serious effort to reduce the level of importation in the country and encourage local industries to grow so that it could help in reviving the fallen currency, such is a good idea and a step taken in a right direction.
Most Nigerians have bought into this idea as there has been a serious increase in the number of locally made machines for the small industries at different locations were such machines are being built. Many organizations have confirmed to the sudden increase in the number of local industries as they are set to take over the market and fill the gap created by the foreign companies.
In the quest to achieve this most Nigerian investors that what to venture into different types of industries ranging from chalk making, chemical industries, paint industries, block molding industries, palm oil processing business, cassava flour processing, making of local fertilizers, etc. to bigger industries like opening of refinery has been done today by DANGOTE GROUP in Lagos state.
While the local industrial competitions have been established, there is need to pay attention to certain issues regarding the locally made machine that is mostly built for these industries, no matter how good it may sound the truth cannot be hidden.
The engineers or craft men designing and building these machines may be considering their own gain after the machine have been completed as a result tends to remove some of the essential designs that could make the machine to have a high level of structural integrity and could be able to stand the test of time while also giving back the investor enough money from its function, do to this reason I decided to put down some of the things that are very necessary and must be put into consideration when buying locally built industrial machines.
The following are what to consider;
The joints simply means the method in which the various parts of the machine were formed, while some parts may require welding some may need flexible joints like bolts and nuts or may require a bending/deformation actions, what is important is to consider the function each of these parts are meant to perform, therefore it is advisable to seek the assistant of an engineer in that field whom you trust in regard to helping you identify poor designs that will not stand the test of time.
It should be clearly noted that parts of a machine that will be subjected to impact loads should not be built with a mild steel, rather it should be with an alloyed cast steel of high carbon content. The same goes to the joints of such parts traces of welded or fixed joints should not be located in it rather where it is possible the whole parts should be cast together. So any local many that do not put this into consideration will see the parts of the machine deformed following the effect of the impact loads after a period of time. While in the case of cast alloyed steel it would rather break under extreme impact load on it such that could definitely condemn a part made with welded or fixed joints.
PROPERTIES OF MATERIAL
Most machine builders use the sub-standard material because they want to minimize the cost of production but it is your duty to confirm to them that you are not a novice, every machine built to have its calculation and load requirements. When you specify all the features you want from a machine and they give you the type you felt is not having enough strength to perform the specified function all you have to do is to conduct a calculation check, as well as ascertain the properties of the metal in which the machine was built with. If the material property does not suit the function do not buy the machine because it may not last while in operation.
Though this may be hard for a novice in the field of engineering, but it is essential in overall strength of the machine, as less thickness denotes less strength and vice versa.
In some area, a particular amount of thickness may be required and that is ok for that area if the thickness is small, but areas that bears much stress while working need a good metal with the required properties in it and enough thickness.
The design of the machine is another thing very important to look out for because a Machine may acquire all the whole quality but lacked good design such that it would affect its overall function. Some design aimed at beautification may end up becoming detrimental to some parts thereby increasing the damage rate of such parts.
Where a design is not properly focused on the overall function of a machine then faults to some parts of the machine after some period of operation is inevitable.
METHOD OF FABRICATION
This is very important because a fabricated machine, a machined machine, and a forged machine are not the same in terms of services they can offer. While each of the mentioned methods does not apply to the whole parts of the machine but have about 80% to 90% of its parts either forged, fabricated, or shaped with machines in a workshop by a machinist. This is necessary because forge parts can stand great force due to the heat treatment process it has undergone but has the disadvantage of becoming brittle and breaks at a very high force, while fabricated parts works properly but may possess properties that are not good for the machine function such as deformation of shape after a long time of impact force, breaking at various welded joints, etc. while the machined parts may have issues with dimensions and accuracy, and also deformation of shape due to malleability property but beside these points the machined part is better than the other two.
Another factor to put into consideration is the safety features of the machine, to ensure anyone operating it is not exposed to any form of hazard or accident. Taking a look at the diagram of a locally made machine in this article, you would observe that the chain drive does not have any cover on it, which is a bridge in safety policy so in that case, it is enough to reject the machine.
Every safety features required to make the machine look professional has to be included.
Though the cost of a machine should not be the reason to avoid buying it, it sometimes discourages the investors with limited funds to afford such machine. The major thing everyone buying such machine should be considering is if the cost equates the overall qualities mentioned above, if yes then buying it costly will guaranty you of using the machine for a long time ensuring your money is well recovered in multiple folds, then the cheap one that cannot stand the test of time.