MANILA – Since the country is prone to typhoons, many small and medium enterprises (SMEs) who rely on sunlight to dry their handicrafts suffer. It is because either they may not be able to dry their products on time whenever it rains, or their handicrafts which aren’t thoroughly dried become more prone to molds. Considering these situations, looking for a budget-friendly handicraft dryer has always been a challenge for SMEs.
To address the problem, the Department of Science and Technology – Forests Product Research and Development Institute (DOST-FPRDI) has developed a low-cost handicraft dryer (LCHD) which is suitable to dry both the products and the raw materials.
It was developed through simplifying the FPRDI furnace-type lumber dryer’s design and by using quality surplus materials to save on material and fabrication costs.
According to Wency Carmelo, senior science research specialist of Technology Innovation Division, this handicraft dryer is 40 percent more effective than other FPRDI-designed dryers. She cited that a 10-cubic meter prototype worth Php 250,000 was tested at R.A. Bagabaldo Wood Carvings in Paete, Laguna.
“It was found as effective but 23 percent more efficient on wood fuel use than the furnace-type lumber dryer of the same capacity,” she said.
The FPRDI added that two other companies have actually adopted LCHD of bigger capacities.
Starwood, Inc. in Valenzuela, which makes export-quality handicrafts from driftwood, has built two units of 18 cubic meter-capacity dryers in its plant.
Larry Tan, Starwood, Inc.’s owner, told FPRDI that the company is now able to deliver their products on time without worrying their products will be attacked by molds.
On the other hand, Masaeco Development Corp. in Indang, Cavite, maker of handicrafts from handmade paper, currently uses a 35 cubic meter-capacity dryer instead of their previous kerosene-fired dryer that consumed as much as Php 60,000 per month worth of kerosene.
FPRDI director Romulo Aggangan acknowledged the fact that many local handicraft industry players do not have their own dryers because it entails huge investment cost. Through the LCHD, the agency hopes that the country would remain being a leader in this industry and be more globally competitive.