Lack of modern equipment and spare parts have stifled manufacturing in Aba and Nigeria for a long time now.
However, that will soon be a thing of the past, as Clintonel Innovative Centre, an Aba-based manufacturing and technology-based firm, has acquired computer-aided design (CAD) and computer-aided manufacturing (CAM) equipment for digital fabrication.
The CAD is a computer software that designs and creates different products, while CAM is the use of computer software to control and automate factory machines.
Tochukwu Chukwueke, an electronic engineer and founder of Clintonel Innovation Centre (CIC) and Advanced Engineering Centre (AEC), explained that the funding he got from Ford Foundation helped him to procure the machines, which he said would solve the equipment problem of local manufacturers, as well as save the country huge foreign exchange.
Chukwueke emerged second at Aba Hackathon Challenge, organised by TBWA and with funding from Ford Foundation.
He explained that his firm had succeeded in procuring a computer numeric machine (CNC) to help manufacturers to have seamless production.
According to him, “It is precise because it is computer controlled. There is no human error. It is absolutely accurate. So, this is the technology that is in use by manufacturers in advanced countries such as Germany, United States, and China, among others.”
“The good news,” he continued, “is that we have brought that technology here. And we are going to be doing it here to make it cheaper for them. It is also faster and we will provide after-sales service support, which they don’t have at the moment”.
He explained that the machines, which arrived Nigeria in November, 2019, had high quality.
“We imported the machine from the United States of America and we got the highest quality machine in that category from the US. And we did installation around December-January. Right now we are still test-running the machine and probably inaugurate the facility in the second quarter of 2020,” he noted.
H said his team wanted to use that event to announce their services to manufacturers.
He continued “This technology is a precious, because CAD and CAM are used to build everything. In fact, every product in the world today is produced directly or indirectly using CAD and CAM technology.
“For instance in garment-making, sewing machines used in cloth making were produced with CAD and CAM technology. I gave you example with bottled water, the plastic bottle is produced with CAD and CAM technology.
“Moulds for plastic tables and chairs are produced with CAD and CAM technology. It will have impact across all manufacturing sectors. It will be used to design and build machine tools.
“For instance, in the plastic sector, the injection moulding machine is produced with CAD and CAM technology. With what we have now, we can design and build such a machine”.
He stated that by investing in CAD and CAM technology, his firm would help the country to save billions of dollar of foreign exchange, annually.
“And because it supports industries, it will create hundreds of thousands of employment for young people,” he stated.
He commended Abia State Government and its partners in the promotion of made-in-Nigeria goods, noting that patronising home-made goods is what Nigeria needs at the moment.
According to him, Nigeria was losing a lot of foreign exchange and also losing a lot of jobs.
“So, if we can build pieces of equipment that are currently imported, we can create enormous amount of jobs and solve unemployment challenge in Nigeria.
“That was what China did. China used to be one of the poorest countries in the world, but today, China is the manufacturing hub of the world. So, we can reproduce that in Nigeria by building capacity in the areas of computer aided designs and computer aided manufacturing.
“If we succeed in this, we will retain in Nigeria, the billions of dollars that we are losing in foreign exchange in importing tools and products. In addition to that, we can also begin to export those technologies to our neighbours in Africa and the rest of the world.
“We at Clintonel are at the forefront of that and we are introducing technology needed to make made-in-Nigeria a reality,” he stated.