A few weeks ago, the Internet was buzzing with photos of what was tagged the ‘Nepaless Iron’. It was very intriguing, and as you can imagine, we wanted to get in behind the story.
The ‘Nepaless Iron’ is actually called the ‘Iron Rhino’ and is the innovative brain child of a Nigerian Engineer, Ayokunle Adeniran. A graduate of Covenant University, ‘Sean’ as he is fondly called by his friends, works as a mechanical design engineer in the United States, and has found a way around having to wait for the ‘NEPA’ before getting nicely pressed outfits.
The Iron Rhino is a gas powered device which is portable and easy to use. BellaNaija, in a chat with Ayokunle, finds out about te inspiration behind the invention, and how soon we should expect to see the product on our shelves.
Please tell us about yourself
As a kid I spent most of my growing up years in Ekiti and Ondo states. Later on during my teenage years, I moved to Lagos where I attended secondary school. I love to play soccer, video games and hangout with friends. My favorite games are Fifa, Call of duty and ping pong on Nintendo Wii. I love social networking, most times I’m on instagram liking posts and drawing positive inspirations where possible. In 2004, I gained admission to studied Mechanical Engineering at Covenant University, I graduated in 2009. All through my childhood days, I was always passionate about engineering and creativity, I made my own toys from materials around the house. I remember the period after completion of my secondary school, I started making toy cars which I sold to kids in my neighborhood.
What do you do?
Presently, I’m a Mechanical design engineer in United states. I’m experienced in design of elevator components and recently moved towards consumer products.
Can you describe an average day in your life?
An average day in my life consists of me waking up at 6:45am, doing my morning essentials and heading to work by 7:45am. I work from 8:00am to 4:30pm and head back home, then I pick up personal projects from 5:30pm till 8:30pm. After that, I watch T.V. shows which I mostly sleep off on while watching.
Tell us about the Iron Rhino
The Iron Rhino is a product I designed in response to the inability of people to iron their clothes due to electrical power outages. It is a butane gas powered pressing iron, meaning it does not require electricity to function. It looks very similar to and functions like existing electric irons. The butane comes in canisters that retail for about N120 and can last for 1 week usage at 20 minutes daily ironing.
What inspired you to create the Iron Rhino?
My inspiration came from disappointment. One day, I needed to meet up with my dad at the airport, and the clothing I wanted to wear was rumpled, I was unhappy and had to wear something else. This disappointment brought about the spark of creativity in my head so I decided to proceed with the idea of having an alternative source of powering clothes iron
How long did it take for you to complete the first prototype?
It took about 2 years to complete the first prototype during which the patent had to be filed and the processing took about 4 years.
How user friendly would you say the Iron Rhino is?
Rhino is very user friendly because the design was built around user ergonomics, while safety was not compromised. The iron functions at most habitable environmental conditions making it very reliable.
The Iron Rhino is going to be powered by little gas canisters. Can you tell us about the accessibility of these canisters to the consumer?
The canisters presently are being manufactured by a Chinese company, but provisions are being made to have them produced locally by a Nigerian company. The projected production rate is calculated to serve all functioning irons abundantly, also a recycling process of the canisters will mean users can get discounts on recycled canisters.
Are the canisters going to be locally produced?
Yes, eventually in future.
What would you say is your biggest challenge as an inventor
My biggest challenge as an inventor is funding of projects as we all know research and development process is often very expensive.
Do you have an idea of how much each Iron Rhino will retail at?
With the present low volume production rate, it is projected to retail for N5,000 per piece, but in future with higher production rate, prices will drop based on economies of scale.
What’s the most exciting part of this project so far?
The most exciting part of this project is the reception it got from people. I’d like to appreciate all those who shared the posts and created awareness of it.
So what is the next step for the Iron Rhino now?
The next step is fund raising through rsvp.com.ng for #IronRhino mass production. With mass production, the retail prices will be lower and will be affordable for most people.
Thank you very much for sharing your story with us, Ayokunle. We really wish you the best with the project and we can’t wait to see it in its final roll out stage.