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Goan students develop an innovative rooftop solution

As part of their final year project, five BE (Bachelors in Engineering) Mechanical Engineering students of Agnel Institute of Technology and Design, Assagao developed a fully-functioning semi-automatic roof cleaning machine.
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ANNA FERNANDES |NT KURIOCITY

Pooling the theoretical knowledge and exposure gained while pursuing their BE (Bachelors in Engineering)  in mechanical engineering, five students of Agnel Institute of Technology and Design, Assagao developed a roof cleaning machine to ease the tedious task of rooftop cleaning. The team comprised Rohit Patil, Suraj Padji, Shubham Marathe, Rajat Naroji, and Tushar Parab, and was mentored by head of mechanical engineering department, MH Nadaf, and professor Shivakrishna J.

The idea of the project was conceptualised to address the task of cleaning rooftops, an issue faced in most Goan households and industries, and provide and efficient alternative, says Patil. “Automated roof cleaning is not practiced in our country – it’s more of a manual job here. There are a lot of houses and industries in Goa that have cemented sheet roofings and tile roofs which are prone to getting dirty especially during rainy seasons. Through our project, we aimed at providing a modern solution to this issue,” he adds.

The working of the semi-automatic machine is simple and efficient; it consists of a rectangular frame which is driven by four high torque DC motors attached to wheels. These are controlled with the help of a polarity switch (DPDT switch) which enables the machine to move forward and backwards. The machine utilises a high-pressure water jets to eliminate dirt, mould and mildew from a roof’s surface.

At each and every step of the way, from research to development, the team ably assisted each other in the completion of the project. Patil designed the prototype by sketching the initial concept drawings of the machine using CAD (computer aided design) software. Parab and Marathe helped in assembling the driving and cleaning mechanism, while the fabrication task was carried out by Naroji and Padji.

However, the team did face a few difficulties along the way. “We wanted to make the machine fully automatic but because of time constraints we couldn’t add some of those components,” says Parab.

Marathe adds that since this concept is relatively new in India, sourcing relevant information as well as machine parts proved to be challenging. “We had to work hard in gathering information about various things. Our college library provided us with various research journals and papers related to existing and similar machines,” he says.

Elaborating on the benefits of the machine, Parab says: “The machine combines efficiency with high operator safety. It is also user-friendly such that individuals with less technical knowledge are able to use it.” While researching and testing the market, the team also found out that in a few particular areas utilising the machine is cheaper than manual labour. The machine can also be used for cleaning flat surfaces such as fishing docks, long trailer, footpaths, etc. Additionally, the prototype cost them just `15000 – a good `5000 or so cheaper than the existing roof cleaners available in the market. 

For the students the biggest takeaway from this experience was the thrill of being able to provide an innovative solution and contribute to the betterment of society. Looking ahead at the future scope of the machine, Naroji says:  “The prototype can also be updated and utilised to carry out similar functions such as painting walls or for washing glass walls of buildings by using guideways. The machine can also be operated wirelessly with a camera attached to get a view of the cleaning process.”

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