Mangaluru engineer designs low cost hands-free dispenser in a fight against COVID-19


MANGALORE – A step on the Foot Operated Sanitizer Stand (FOSS), and a generous portion of sanitizing solvent drops into the palms of the users at Farangipete bus stand near Bantwal taluk in Dakshina Kannada district. While in the COVID-19 era, hand-sanitizer is no longer an unfamiliar appliance – the local users were impressed by its hands-free dispensing ability.

About 350 kilometres from the state capital Bengaluru, using locally available Unplasticized Polyvinyl Chloridev (UPVC) pipe, FOSS are been fabricated in hundreds by a 29-year old Arjun Punja, an assistant resident engineer at NITTE University.

A civil engineer by qualification, Arjun said that he was prodded by local authorities to develop a device to contain cross-contamination of COVID-19 in public places. “Given the growing concern among people for hand hygiene, sanitizer are much sought after. So I decided to focus on designing

Arjun Punja, an assistant resident engineer at NITTE University

FOSS,” he said.

However, during research on designs and material Arjun said he was overwhelmed by the cost of the commercial variants of FOSS, some even quoting Rs. 10,000.

Along with his team of helpers, Arjun fabricated the UPVC material into a FOSS. “The material used are light in weight, easy to assemble, consumes minimal space for storage. Besides regular change of sanitiser bottles, the unit does require any maintenance,” he said.

With the price of Rs. 1450, Arjun and his team have already delivered 200 FOSS, including to neighbouring districts such as Bengaluru, Hubli and Dharwad. At present, Arjun and his team are in the process of manufacturing 300 units on additional demand, including one being a national bank.

Arjun, who is also a trustee of Sevanjali Prathishtana in Farangipete said that the actual production cost of FOSS is Rs. 1,000. “The remaining Rs. 450 is credited to the trust, which is used to fabricate FOSS that is donated to public institutions,” he said. Besides government hospitals, local police station at Bantwal; the team has over 10 pieces of FOSS to local agricultural cooperatives.

At present, Arjun said that the team is involved in the lowering of the height of the present FOSS model. “While at present its 43-inches tall, it is ideal and tested at public spaces such as supermarkets, hospitals. We are in the process of manufacturing a customised and smaller version for children and schools,” he said.


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