Two students of College of Engineering Pune (CoEP), after working for six months, designed and developed a laminator that can be used to make solar panels.
Lamination ensures the longevity of the solar cells of a module.
Shubham Khandare, who graduated three months ago, said, “It was the time when the college was contributing to Unnat Bharat Abhiyan and the director had told students to make a socially relevant project. Our guide, M J Rathod, gave us the idea of making a laminator.These panels can be custom-made and given to rural areas reducing the cost of procurement,“ he said.
Harshal N and Shubham, both students of the metallurgy department, with help from their guide, drew up the design for the laminator. “Once the optimum design was made, we wanted to procure items and cast it. There is an industry in Bhosari where we cast the machine out of aluminium. We then took the machine to college and fitted it with an electrical circuit,“ Khandare said.
They had to find a way to get hold of a small heater for the apparatus to work.“Our guide pitched in and we got it from Japan. We also made a heater based on the way iron boxes are made but we couldn't test it,“ he added.
They were able to run the apparatus and make a solar panel. “While the capacity of 10W can be made, we made a panel of 6W capacity which can run a light bulb and other such stuff. Moreover, students can use the laminator to make panels which suit their solar models,“ he said.
Rathod, dean alumni and international relations at CoEP and professor at metallurgy department, said, “Two models are already at Jnana Prabodhini school. The idea was taken from a Japanese NGO and we reverse engineered the product. This equipment can be used to train unskilled workers to make their own solar panels, especially electricians so that technology reaches rural areas.“