Farmers used to extract fibers through hand scraping or with the use of a manual spindle-stripping machine introduced by the Japanese. This device is stationary and poses hazards to its operators because it can chop fingers off with a wrong turn of the device.
Now. a machine that is proudly Filipino-made and a first of its kind in the country has been developed. It can chum out several kilos of fibers a day and has a safety device.
Engineer Adriano C. Valenzuela says: 'The machine was a total refurbishing of the older device. Every glitch we spotted in the manual stripping machine was solved in this latest version. Since this new machine is mobile, it can easily be moved from one barangay to another so that farmers from far-off places are not burdened by the labor and cost of transporting their fiber."
The scientist and and engineers from the Fiber Industry Development Authority (FIDA) developed the mechanical and mobile machine for extracting pineapple, banana, and abaca fibers. The inventions of the machine are Dr. Aurora G. Peralta, Adriano C. Valenzuela, Fidel S. Josol, Edgar A. Abriol, Romeo P. de Vera and Petronilo B. Jabay. They are all stationed at the Fiber Processing and Utilization Laboratory (FPUL).
This technology may also prove to be attractive to neighboring countries which are persistent in buying the device, says Dr. Peralta, head of the FPUL. Of course, we are anxious that our technology might be pirated from us so we are very careful in relating with them. We do not want another country to reap what we sow before we can commercialize it in our own country.
What can the machine do? There are two kinds of fiber, primary and secondary. With the use of this extracting machine, one can decorticate both the primary and secondary which means nothing is wasted in the fiber and secondary crop.
Decortification means the removal of the non-fibrous material from the fibercrop. When the fibercrop stalk is fed into the extracting machine, two rounds of decortification are needed.
By Ramon Ma. Espino (The Philippine Star 05/28/2006)