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Lt. Chris Collins

UPDF officer creates brick-making machine to cut construction costs

posted onSeptember 11, 2020
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Lt. Chris Collins, a Uganda Peoples’ Defence Forces-Airforce (UPDF-AF) officer serving under Somalia-based Battle Group Twenty-Eight as a raven commander, has created a brick-making machine, which he says will help cut costs of acquiring bricks for construction.


The officer and three colleagues started working on releasing his idea on May 12, a time around which Covid-19 lockdown started at the Base Camp, and it was commissioned yesterday.

“We got a chance to create this during the Covid-19 lockdown, so since we were not moving out, we thought it wise that we could utilize that time to do something,” Lt. Collins says.

Lt. Collins says the idea was born from the desire to construct his own house in Uganda, which compelled him to seek for a way to minimize the cost of making bricks. He later shared his idea with Capt. Gideon Kyeyune, the Marine maintenance officer, and they began researching about it on the internet.

Armed with knowledge, they brought on board two other soldiers to assemble the manually-operated machine that can produce three types of bricks with each requiring its own mold set. The machine makes interlocking stabilized soil bricks, pavers of different shapes and plain stabilized soil bricks. 

The machine operated by two to three people and produces two bricks per cycle. In a bag of cement, according to Collins, one is able to mix 7 to 8 wheelbarrows of subsoil, with which they will be able to make 130 to 150 bricks.

In a statement released by the UPDF press office, Lt Collins is quoted as saying that the machine will be mass-produced so it can help Ugandans, especially soldiers, reduce the costs of erecting a house. The machine can be used at the construction site.

The bricks produced by the machine are not burnt since cement is used as the stabilizer.

The machine was commissioned by Col John Winston Mugarura, the deputy Sector One commander who doubles as deputy Uganda Contingent commander in Somalia.

Lt. Chris Collins says the machine comes with other advantages like removing the need to cut wood to burn bricks, less mortar is used, plastering during construction won’t be necessary and because of their interlocking nature, the bricks will reduce the construction time.

One won’t need to transport the bricks for a long distance since they are made from the construction site. Commissioning the machine, Col. Winston Mugarura hailed those who used the lockdown period to think outside the box and do meaningful works.

“The lockdown gave many people the opportunity to look outside the box,” he said.

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