A Central Equipment Maintenance Committee was first set-up in 1990 with Dr. J.N. Akanya as chairman and Mr.E.D.A Imeh as the head of Technical Sub-Committee. The objective (or focus) then was on “inspection and repair of broken down equipment”. With the launching of the World Bank EquipmentProject in 1991 a full fledge Equipment Maintenance Centre was established and Dr. Akanya was appointed 1ST chairman of the Centre and Accounting Officer, while Mr. Basseda became the 1STTechnical Coordinator. The above Status - quo continued under six different Chairmen until Mr. Basseda the Technical Coordinator retired from the University service
in 2006 and the late Mr. Rumalla, the last chairman handed over to my humble self as Tech. Coordinator, under the supervision of Prof. Akinbode, the then DVC(Admin.).
In 2007 the objectives of the Centre was refocused from “inspection and repair of broken-down equipment,” to reflect the Federal Government mandate for EMC’s in Federal Universities which included the following:
a) To assist the Vice Chancellor in managing the procurement, installation, proper usage, andmaintenance of Teaching/Research and Service Equipment in the University.
b) Provision of appropriate Technical Support Services to the University Management on various aspects of scientific equipment applications and development.
c) Initiating appropriate programmes (Seminars, Workshop etc) that would lead to the development of a maintenance culture within the University system.
d) Initiating the transfer of maintenance culture to relevant organizations outside the University system. The 2007 administrative arrangement is still currently in operation under the supervision of the current DVC (Admin) Prof. M.A.T. Sulaiman
The provision of qualitative functional and up- to-date Teaching and Research Scientific Equipment Base is one of” the three essentials” for enhancing the academic excellence and socio-economic relevance of a Specialized Technological University like ours. The establishment of a Scientific Equipment Maintenance Centre (EMC) was thus conceived to provide necessary Technical Support Services for managing various aspects of Scientific Equipment development, application and maintenance, and thus boost the academic excellence of the University to a world class Institution as well as enable her train technically skilled and innovative workforce capable of transforming Nigeria’s abundant natural resources into wealth for her citizenry and the nation.
To assist the University Management establish a functional, “state-of-the-art” and specialized Teaching/ Research Scientific Equipment Base that would enhance the academic status of the Federal University of Technology Minna to a world class University, and effectively support her quest for excellence in professionalism and technological service delivery.
a) To ensure that scientific equipment acquired for the University are professionally relevant, qualitative, functional, and properly installed and managed by highly proficient Technologists.
b) To initiate and implement a functional and sustainable preventive maintenance programme that eventually evolves into an efficient maintenance culture for the University.
c) To develop an effective Scientific Equipment maintenance outreach that facilitates the transfer of maintenance culture to related institutions and organizations outside the University.
Major activities of various Units under the Technical coordinator during the current year centered around the following:
a) Core-maintenance (EMC) functions
b) Central Teaching Laboratories Complex project implementation and take-off operations
c) Central Research/Analytical Laboratories Unit project implementation and take- off operations
d) Other important technical/management responsibilities as directed by the University Management
CORE – MAINTENANCE (EMC) FUNCTION
Apart from the regular maintenance functions of repairs and servicing of teaching and research instruments, several specialized functions involving equipment procurement planning, specifications writing, costing, new equipment installation, staff training and re-training etc were undertaken during the year under review. A few important cases are highlighted below:
a. Testing and Certification of New Equipment
A total of 186 sets of new Teaching and Research Instruments, including 19sets of “Duplo” copiers and 101sets of “Digital sharp” copiers were tested and installed for regular use within the year. To the best of my knowledge there was no “abandoned” new equipment. All new equipment were appropriately engraved with Dept/Unit codes before they were certified for payment.
b. Seven New Fume Cupboard Systems Installed In five Laboratories in SSSE
The University has had no functional Fume Cupboard since its inception in 1983. Seven fume cupboard systems were recently approved for five Laboratories in SSSE. As at the time of this writing, the installation jobs were in progress and would be completed soonest. Other relevant laboratories in SAAT, SSSE and SEET would be considered as soon as possible, so that all our laboratory environments could be rendered both safe and accreditable.
c. Digital Photomicroscope Systems for the University:
Last year 39sets of various models of Digital Photomicroscopes were received out of which 34 were allocated by the Vice Chancellor to relevant Departments and distributed along with digital projectors. Technologists from the 22 affected academic Departments were trained on the set-up and operation of the photomicroscopes and the digital projectors. A University-wide photomicroscopy technology workshop has also been approved by the Vice Chancellor. Resource persons will include eminent Microbiologists, a Micropolaentologist and a Metallurgist drawn from within and outside the University system. The main objective is to domesticate the emerging technology of digital photomicroscopy with respect to Biology, Microbiology, Engineering (Metallurgy) and Geology in this University.
d. Installation and Staff Training on Hi-tech Analytical Equipment:
Approval was also obtained for installation and staff training exercises on the last batch of Teaching/ Research Equipment received in 2009, which included some hi-tech Analytical Instruments in SSSE and the Central workshop (SEET). Two Engineering Teams are expected to undertake the exercise as soon as convenient dates and logistics are sought out for all concerned. Staff drawn from at least 10 departments will benefit from the training exercises.
e. Preparations for Accreditation Exercises
Preparations for accreditation exercises have been particularly challenging on EMC staff. Last year we had the SEET and SET accreditations, and currently the SSSE accreditations is expected. To make up for our neglect on facilities and equipment over the years, EMC was advised to carry out inspection of laboratory and workshop facilities, including equipment and utility services and submitted costed repair bills to the management for consideration.
The Vice Chancellor and University Management are to be commended for the prompt consideration given to most of the submissions made. Our laboratory and workshop environment are gradually taking-on new and safe looks.
f. Preventive Maintenance Programme (PMP):
The Office Equipment sub- Unit of EMC has recently submitted an impressive survey report on all office machines in the University, which was duely forwarded to the Vice- chancellor. The average functionality status of all office machines as atMarch 2011 was reported at 87%. This implies that about 9 out of every 10 office machine in the University were functional. According to a report presented at the “PRISM” workshop held recently at Abuja, a survey carried out in recent years in several Universities in Nigeria reported equipment functionality ranging from 40 – 60% in Universities surveyed. The next logical stage is to launch a PreventiveMaintenance Programme (PMP) for office machines in the University. PMP sets specific time intervals for servicing each equipment thereby minimizing any equipment break-down, and promoting zero down time. Details are being worked out to be submitted to the Management for consideration. The other two field Units of EMC are working hard to raise the functionality status of equipment under their care.
CENTRAL RESEARCH LABORATORY UNIT
Following the directive of the University Management, this new Unit under the vice –chancellor’s office was moved during the year from Bosso Campus to the Chemical Engr. Complex in G/kwano. Following the movement, some of the hi-tech Analytical Instrument that had already been installed and made operational at the Bosso Campus would have to be re-installed at the new location. The re-installation would involve the provision of appropriate laboratory utility services including, extraction systems, water and gas supply systems, dedicated and stabilized electricity supply line etc.
Apart from the re-installation of the Instruments, the two Technologists who had been trained on the usage and management of the new Instruments since 2009 need to be deployed permanently to the new units, to implement the take-off process and kick-start regular operation of the Unit.
THE CENTRAL TEACHING LABS COMPLEX
The take-off of the new Central Teaching Laboratories Complex under the Vice Chancellor’s Office was actualized during the 1st Semester of 2010/2011 session. 650 students drawn from Six Departments benefitted from the exercise. It was a test-run of the new concept with students drawn from 400 and 500 level classes across the University. The practical courses did not earn any academic credit to the participating students. Plans and schedules have already been drawn-up for the second set of students during the 2nd semester of 2010/2011 session. The exercise will involve students drawn from 300 level classes across the relevant Schools and Departments. The 400level students are supposed to be on their I.T. then, while the 500levels will be busy with their final year projects. The 2nd semester practical courses would be credit earning.
During the current year ten Senior Technologists and one Chief Technologist were administratively deployed from various Depts. /Units of the University to the Central Teaching Labs. Complex, where they under- went technology training on the new hi-tech teaching instruments They are currently conducting practical courses using the new equipment for students drawn from relevant Depts./ School
OTHER IMPORTANT TECHNICAL/MANAGENT FUNCTIONS
University- wideEvaluation of Laboratory Facilities and Technical Staff Positions
A comprehensive survey and evaluation of laboratory facilities and Technical Staff positions in all academic departments of the University as directed by the DVC (Admin.) was carried out and submitted to the University management during the year. The report was accompanied by a number of recommendations and proposals which included a periodic training and retraining of technologists in their respective areas of specialization
Establishment of Directorate of Technical Services
A proposal on the above was also submitted to the University Management in response to a directive from the DVC (Admin.). It is hoped that when implemented, the new idea would promote professionalism and excellence in the management of technical related services within the University system. Their operational efficiency will be enhanced, and made comparable with our financial and human resources managements that are currently being undertaken by the Bursary and Registry Departments respectively. This should make the products of our Universities relevant and capable of effectively addressing the developmental problems of Nigeria through the skillful application of appropriate scientific technologies. Thus the abundant natural resources of the nation would be harnessed to create wealth for the benefit of the nation and citizenry.
EMC BEFORE 2007
During the 16years period between 1991 and 2007, not much progress was made in the organization and operation of EMC. Indeed as at October 2006, EMC was sadly a skeleton of itself, with just two functional staff and two others on suspension. Most of the office and workshop spaces were filled with obsolete/broken-down equipment. There was no reliable Inventory of T/R Equipment in the University. Many of the World Bank equipment delivered in 1995/96 were never installed for use.
EMC AFTER 2007
Since 2007, the efforts of the current EMC administration has been to resuscitate the Centre to enable it fulfill the Federal Government Official Mandate stated earlier. Inspite several constraints, many of the objectives are being realized and the following have thus far been accomplished:
a) 1st Edition of Teaching/Research and Office Equipment Inventory was compiled and produced in 2008 and circulated to all management staff, Deans, Directors, HOD’s, the University Library and the NUC.
b) An Equipment Database Software Package was also produced for internet application in 2009.
c) A Standard Equipment Documentation Process was initiated for screening and certification of all new equipment to eliminate non-functional and sub-standard products before payment could be recommended. This is ongoing
d) Initiated Standard Numbering Code for all new equipment and a permanent engravement process for identifying individual equipment for security purposes. Also on going
e) Initiated Standard Technical Specifications Procedures for Equipment Orders to be adopted by all Department to eliminate the delivery of sub-standard T/R equipment
f) Introduced the organization of NewEquipmentInstallation and Staff Training workshops for all major hi-tech Teaching and Research Equipment,on-going
g) Providing various Technical Advisory Services for the University Equipment Procurement/Tender / Contract Management Committees. This is on-going
h) Providing Technical Advisory Services to the University Management on University-wide technical problems, technical staff matters, laboratory and workshop utilities services etc.This is also on-going
i) Organization of EMC staff into 4 Operational Sub - Units namely:
- Laboratory Equipment Sub Unit
- Workshop Equipment Sub Unit
- Office Equipment Sub Unit
- Documentation & Administrative Sub Unit
The current staff strength of 8 is highly under staffed for the present operational level and work-load of the Centre.
j) A “mission and vision statements” for the Centre and the individual operational sub Units, has been produced to promote a focused work force.
k) Currently initiating the development of a Preventive Maintenance Programme (PMP) for all T/R and Office Equipment for the University to eliminate equipment break-downs and raise functionality status to 90 – 100%.
l) Currently coordinating the setting up of the University Central Teaching Labs Complex (CTLC) with 5 functional laboratories and two more being planned with staff strength of 12 Technologists. This is expected to be formally established as a separate Unit under the Vice Chancellor’s Office by 2012/2013.
m) Currently also coordinating the setting up of the University Central Research/Analytical Lab. under the Vice Chancellor’s office to provide hi-tech analytical services to researcher within and outside the University systems.
n) For the first time in the University’s history, seven functional fume cupboard systems were recently installed in 5 departmental labs in SSSE.
o) We have been engaged in various Technical Support Services to the Step B-Programme particularly in the area of Scientific Equipment Specification and Organization of their equipment orders to meet internationally accepted standards.
Equipment Maintenance Centre
Staff of the Centre normally partakes in all major Equipment Installation and Staff training exercises along with Departmental relevant Technologist. Arrangements are also made from time to time for Technical Experts from major Equipment manufacturers to train EMC staff in specialized equipment maintenance and management in their respective areas of specializations.
The search for an experienced staff to replace the workshop Equipment sub- Unit head whose contract appointment could not be renewed is still on. Also the only office Assistant in the centre was placed on suspension following his activities in his earlier Department/Unit before transfer to EMC.
The current staff strength consists of
Four senior and four junior staff totally eight (8) staff. Only one secretarial staff takes care of all administrative, secretarial and clerical functions. One administrative and one clerical staff are needed. Also each of the 4 sub-Unit needs two new staff for effective service delivery. The 2011/2012 budget can accommodate the new staff positions mentioned above.
Central Teaching Laboratories Complex (CTLC)
Eleven Technologists were deployed from relevant Departments/Unit to kick start the operation of CTLC after an initial Technology training workshop. Because of the very large number of students taking practical courses at the complex, more new staff needs to be considered. Staff training on new equipment acquired is a regular exercise.
The mandate for EMC includes the development of a maintenance culture for the University , as well as an outreach to related institution outside the University. A Preventive Maintenance Programme (PMP) is currently being planned. As soon as the PMP programme becomes operational, outreach maintenance exercises will be started to establish linkages with relevant institutions for the purpose of transferring our experiences outside the University Community.