KOCHI: Usually, people replace their old automobile with a brand new one. However, Ben Jacob, an ISRO engineer, decided to go the extra mile with his vehicle. The engineer altered his old car into a backhoe or mini-excavator which has become viral on social media. Hailing from Choozhattukotta village near Nemom, Ben is now on a mission to create other useful innovations such as wind turbines using renewable energy.
Being an engineer in the Liquid Propulsion Systems Centre (LPSC) of Indian Space Research Organisation, the lockdown period gave Ben time aplenty to work on the innovation. “A 1998-model Daewoo Matiz car, which I had purchased for my wife Jeeja years ago, was lying in the garage. I considered redesigning it into a useful machine. Since I was always fascinated by excavators since my childhood, I thought of utilising my free time to transform the old vehicle into a mini-excavator,” shares Ben.
After a feasibility study, the engineer worked on the design and redesigned the car with a functional digger. “As the innovation works on the hydraulics principle, I had to procure some spare parts from Gujarat while a few were available in Thiruvananthapuram. Although I started working on the design in May, I could only complete it in August due to the delay in obtaining the spare parts,” says Ben.
Explaining the redesign, Ben says, “The car-turned-mini-excavator consists of a metal arm along with a digging bucket at the end which extends like a small crane. It was not an easy task to transform this car. I took some help from a nearby workshop for punching 44mm holes for the hinges.”
The mini-excavator weighs about 1.1 tonnes and can be extended both vertically and horizontally to 14- feet. The total lifting capacity of the backhoe is 500kg and it is capable of exerting a digging force of six tonnes. For the whole modification, it cost Ben `70,000 while the commercial excavators in the market cost close to `25 lakh. The engineer said, “The multipurpose machine can be used in farms and is cost- effective.” Ben has already started working on appliances using wind and solar energy.
not an easy task
Ben had to procure some spare parts from Gujarat while a few were available in Thiruvananthapuram. Although he started working on the design in May, he could only complete it in August due to the delay in obtaining the spare parts. The car-turned-mini-excavator consists of a metal arm along with a digging bucket at the end which extends like a small crane. Ben had to take some help from a nearby workshop for punching 44mm holes for the hinges.