Covenant, Nigerian Foundries Team Up on Novel for Oil Industry
Africa’s best private university, Covenant, and the Nigerian Foundries Limited (NFL) have opened a new chapter in the partnership between them by collaborating on the production of an innovative product known as the butterfly valve and remarkably, the first of its kind in Nigeria.
The butterfly valve is a valve consisting of a rotating circular plate or a pair of hinged semicircular plates, attached to a transverse spindle and mounted inside a pipe in order to regulate or prevent flow. It is mostly used by international oil companies.
According to the immediate past Dean, College of Engineering, Covenant, Professor Christian Bolu, the University and the Nigerian Foundries had an ongoing relationship whereby some NFL staff had come for training at Covenant in solid works, software, and three-dimensional drawing, while postgraduate students of Covenant had gone to NFL to have their internship.
Professor Bolu said the latest effort would see the butterfly valves cast by the Nigerian Foundries being brought to the University for machining. “We are at a stage where they are manufacturing some things. They want us to do the academic side of the job. They did something which the government came to verify, and it was very big. The work we are doing now is, they cast in Nigerian Foundries, we machine in Covenant,” he explained.
In furtherance of this collaboration, a team from the Nigerian Foundries, led by the Head, Innovation, Branding and Strategy, Mr. Bababjide Arimoro, had on Friday, September 21, 2018, visited the Computer Numeric Control (CNC) Milling Machine Workshop at the Department of Mechanical Engineering, where they made a video recording of the machining process. The Technologist in charge of the CNC milling machine, Mr. Iriaye Famous, had also taken time to explain the process to two management trainees in the NFL team, Mr. Prosperity Ikechi and Mr. Nelson Obiegbusi.
While speaking on the collaboration concerning the production of butterfly valve, the NFL Team Leader, Mr. Babajide Arimoro, said his organization was going into the development of new products like producing broad range of different types of valves, and the valve brought to Covenant for machining was cast by Nigerian Foundries. “This is the first time a company in Nigeria would produce a valve. This is a way whereby we can promote Nigerian content and we can show to the world that we’ve successfully produced a butterfly valve in Nigeria, and it was born in Nigerian Foundries in collaboration with Covenant. So, that’s our aim and that’s our objective,” he stated.
We are at a stage where they are manufacturing some things, they want us to do the academic side of the job. They did something which the government came to verify, and it was very big. The work we are doing now is where they cast in Nigerian Foundries, they machine in Covenant. So, that machining is what they want to include in the video they are making, to show that it was actually done in Covenant. And they have a lot of international conferences they are attending.
Babajide Arimoro (Head, Innovation, Branding and Strategy, Nigerian Foundries Limited)
Basically, we are in collaboration with Covenant, collaborating in terms of training, manpower development for the past two years. At the moment, as a company, we are expanding and we are going into the development of new products like producing broad range of different types of valves, and the valve we brought here was cast by Nigerian Foundries, it’s a butterfly valve. We cast it ad due to our collaboration with Covenant, we sent one of the samples here for it to be machined and this is the first time a company in Nigeria would produce a valve. As we all know IOC (oil companies) are the ones using all these kinds of valves. We are always importing them. As a nation we are talking about Nigerian content; this is a way whereby we can promote Nigerian content and we can show to the world that we’ve successfully a butterfly valve in Nigeria and it was born in Nigerian Foundries in collaboration with Covenant. So, that’s our aim and that’s our objective.
The collaboration is first of its kind. If you look at it, for a discipline like mechanical engineering, it should not be theoretical, our undergraduates should be exposed to practical knowledge so that by the time they finished they would be well-built and ready to work in the work environment.
On commercial value of the collaboration to Nigerian Foundries or Covenant, I can’t say yes there is money to be made in the next six months. I want you to understand that we are developing this at our own cost. We develop this, we portray it to the IOC and say look, we’ve done this butterfly valve, what are your requirements? If any of them is using the butterfly valve, then I think it’s the way forward. There broad wings of valves; the butterfly valves, oval valves and others. So, we are taking it one step at a time, it can take two years for us to complete this. So, we are just at the developmental stage at the moment. On or before this year, we should complete this item and display it.
On past collaboration with Covenant, some of our staff had been here to train in solid works, software, three-dimensional drawing. Also, some students have come to do their internship, postgraduate students, in Nigerian Foundries. So, if you are doing the theoretical part, the practical aspect, the industry knowledge as well sis being learnt by students.
Iriaye Ejiomo Famous (Technologist 2, in charge of the Computer Numeric Control Milling Machine Workshop at the Mechanical Department)
We are trying to machine a valve called a butterfly valve, which the Nigerian Foundries brought. They came with their management trainees to see how far the job has gone. So far, we are able to machine part of the job, but there is a particular set of tools that is delaying the job.
They are not actually here for training, they came to come and get a video shot on the job process. In that process, they now brought some of their management trainees to come and see the job process. They don’t have CNC machine in Nigerian Foundries, they had to bring the job to Covenant for machining, that’s the collaboration.