|Display of Smart Barge technology. (Photo: Mirza / PR)|
Salt included renewable minerals and the amount was unlimited. Indonesia with its tropical climate and the long coastline was a country with promising production potential. On the other hand, domestic and world salt usage continued to increase. To cover the shortfall, the import was carried out.
In 2018, Indonesia's salt imports would reach 3.7 million tons with a value of 83.6 million USD, and in 2019 salt imports would be allocated 2.7 million tons. The reason given by the Government was that the production and quality of Indonesia's local salt were insufficient for the needs of the domestic industry, both for industrial and food purposes.
"It means that the state has issued Rp1, 34 Trillion for salt imports. With a large import fee, the salt farmers were far from being prosperous, "said Zehandana Khatami Rasyid, Mechanical Engineering student at the University of Muhammadiyah Malang (UMM), explaining the proposal that would be contested at the innovation arena in Japan.
This innovation would compete at the world-class innovation arena Advance Innovation Jam (AI-JAM) in Tokyo, Japan on 8 December. Smart Barge would be renamed, Smart Barge. It was hoped that this work would be as successful as other works in South Korea and Germany recently.
Participants who took part were high school level students to companies that were inventors of the technology, including artificial intelligence, big data, robotics and others. Through INNOPA (Association for the Promotion of Indonesian Inventions and Innovations) UMM advanced with 17 other Indonesian teams after making descriptions and abstracts related to the work.
"The lack of assistance from experts and traditional exploitation that is not maximum has some shortcomings. As land ownership is limited, it is highly dependent on the weather and low production efficiency, making the quality of local salt less attractive to the industry, "continued Zehandana when met on Tuesday (3/12) afternoon.
According to the students who were joining this international competition for the first time, a solution was needed in the form of land expansion which was flexible but helped accelerate the production of salt that was in accordance with decent standards. So that it could be moved and brought closer to the factory, thereby reducing transport and operational costs of trucks.
"The solution in the form of adding floating land makes sense because it can be moved or brought closer to the factory. And embedded additional technology in the form of an android control device to determine the position, water content, temperature, and activation of automatic mechatronic features, "he explained while explaining what a Salt Barge.
Because it was equipped with a roof, mirror, windmill generator, automatic shovel, a stainless barge, tow hook and anchor make it easy to move. So that the manufacture of hybrid salt ponds was expected to be a solution to help farmers accelerate the production of salt according to industry requirements.
With this barge design, it was expected to answer problems such as land limitations because the crystallization process was carried out on the sea, the quality of salt that could be improved such as cleanliness, colour, decrease in water content, and production acceleration which was originally 15 days to 8-10 days due to mechatronic engineering.
"It means that the production of the harvest will be faster with better quality and will increase the selling price of a higher crop. It is hoped that this solution will be the cause of the cessation of salt imports by the government. We are preparing patent documents for this product, "concluded Zehandana, a member of this team.
Chandana did not fight alone. He and his two friends majored in Mechanical Engineering namely UMM students who had won competitions in South Korea and Germany Haryo Widya Darmawan (class of 2015), and his younger brother Haryo, Annisa Widya Nurmalitasari (class of 2017). They were optimistic to win.
This innovation won in National technology events such as Champion II in scientific papers held by APSTM-PTM (Association of Mechanical Engineering Department of Higher Education Muhammadiyah), LNTRBM (Annual National Engineering Design Competition) held by BKSTM (Mechanical Engineering Cooperation Agency) and many others.
The prototype, which was made and prepared for one month, used facilities found at the UMM Mechatronic Semi-Autonomous. Supervised by Dra. Rr. Heni Hendaryati, MT, it was hoped besides being joined in national and international competitions, this work would truly benefit salt farmers. (win)