Sanitary napkin for Rs 2.5

Over the years, multinational manufacturers have used cutting edge technology to produce sanitary napkins that have radically improved the lives of women across the world.

However, untouched by the technology
revolution, a large mass of Indian women still live with the old age practice of using dirty rags, pieces of cloth and other unhygienic mechanisms during periods.

With affordability being the major obstacle to poor women using sanitary napkins, a student-teacher duo from ITM University have designed a low cost sanitary napkin making machine that can make a sanitary napkin available for just Rs 2.5.

The unique effort to develop low-cost sanitary napkins to help rural women maintain better standards of hygiene and health has been accomplished by ITM University student Mr. Surbhitarora and faculty Mr. Ashwini Sharma (Assistant Prof. ITM University, Gurgaon).

It took almost a year for the two to come up with the machine which included virtual equipment design, virtual testing and simulation along with the fabrication and assembling of the machine parts in college labs and workshops. The project was recently awarded the first prize for most innovative work at a national ‘Rural Entrepreneurship’ seminar in Jaipur.

The napkin is produced in a 3 step process of pressing, sealing and cutting and the machine has the ability to operate the 3 steps in a single cycle with a capacity to produce 4 napkins in a minute. The material used for making the napkins is wood pulp that is biodegradable.

The machine is semi-automatic in nature and consumes very small amount of power. At the same time the dies used in the machine are easily re-machinable and replaceable.

“The issue of hygiene among rural and urban poor women is a key issue but is oft ignored and not talked about. Technology should not only benefit people of the higher strata of the society but it should also be used to help the poorer sections. A majority of women in India continue to use unhygienic options during periods just because they cannot afford to buy sanitary napkins. We hope our product will help them,” said Mr Sharma.

The machine can be used to run small and medium enterprises producing sanitary napkins at a very low price, allowing the rural women to take care of their personal hygiene. The mechanism can also provide employment to women in rural areas.

The duo hope that their invention would go a long way in ensuring that the sanitary napkin making process gets revolutionized and the product can be sold in rural and remote areas at a much lower price than available in the market.

Funded by the National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad (under the Design Clinic Scheme of MSME for Rs. 1.5 lakh), the project has already won laurels for its sensitivity to the needs of the rural community in the area of hygiene and health-care of women.

“We are proud of the fact that a team from our University has worked with sensitivity on a project that can help rural Indian women improve their health and hygiene standards immensely. We promote innovation in our students in a big way and we are happy that they have turned out to be social innovators,” said Prof Prem Vrat, Vice Chancellor ITM University Gurgaon.


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