Sustainable aid relies on programs which build skills and industry locally rather than parachuting in people and equipment sourced from abroad. Manufacturing and innovation have both been highlighted as key sectors in a number of national strategic development plans such as Kenya Vision 2030 or Ghana Beyond Aid. While by some measures local innovation is flourishing, with a wide range of products produced in deprived areas from base raw materials and refurbished or re-purposed e-waste, the products lack the consistency required for many technical applications. On-site metrology is key to reproducible production. My goal is to bring accurate metrology out of the National Measurement Institutes (NMIs) and to open it up to all those who need it. The METALL (METrology for ALL) project will create open source instruments, designed to be produced directly where they are needed, to open new pathways to innovation while supporting existing industry.
I have begun to prototype a pyrometer for calibrating iron casting furnaces in Ghana [pictured], and a mechanical tester (in collaboration with STICLab in Tanzania) for testing the flexibility of 3D printed equipment. The mechanical tester will be used to do quality control for 3D printer filament extruded from PET waste in Kenya.