Philippines launches ‘Tryk ni Juan’ — tricycles with roofs made from abaca fibers

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By Ma. Cristina C. Arayata


MANILA, July 1 (PNA) — There are tricycles in Thailand, India, Indonesia, and probably in other parts of the world. Is there anything unique with tricycles in the Philippines?

With “Tryk ni Juan”, yes there is.

The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) launched on Friday the “Tryk ni Juan” — tricycles with roofs (both in the driver’s seat and in the sidecar) made from abaca fibers.

It was the result of the collaborative research project between DOST-Industrial Technology Development Institute (ITDI) and the Korean Institute of Materials Science – Association of Southeast Asian Nation (KIMS-ASEAN).

The project aims to enhance abaca’s potential for composite production.

Composite materials are developed from two or more constituent materials with different physical or chemical properties.

For the “Tryk ni Juan”, abaca fibers and resin were combined to form the composites.

“Abaca is one of the strongest natural fibers that can be found in the Philippines. The country is the number one producer of abaca in the world,” noted Blessie Basilia of ITDI.

Among the advantages of natural fiber composites that Basilia cited are the low production cost, low density, resistance to corrosion, and biodegradability. It’s also a readily-available raw material, she added.

She also cited that fiber composites are a good alternative for materials such as stainless steel, galvanized iron and others commonly used to make tricycle roofs and sidecars

ITDI officials admitted that they originally wanted to create abaca-reinforced roof for jeepneys. However, they opted to start the experiment on a small vehicle, which is a tricycle.

Newly-appointed DOST Secretary Fortunato Dela Pena, Jr. commended the ITDI for its efforts in making the citizens know and feel the benefits of science and technology.

He also shared that he takes tricycles whenever he goes to the market.

Basilia said that one day, “Tryk ni Juan” would be a household name.

The DOST-ITDI developed 15 “Tryk ni Juan” prototypes, and distributed these to General Santos Street Lower/Upper Bicutan Taguig Tricycle Operators – Drivers Association, Inc. (GSS-LUBTTODAI) — the project’s beneficiaries.

ITDI Director Maria Patricia Azanza said the project or the transfer of technologies was open to interested adoptors/industries.

She clarified that the ITDI’s job was to develop the technology and the prototype. If it will be sold in the market in the future, and for how much, depends on the adoptors.

Meanwhile, ITDI emphasized that the 15 prototypes were for actual road tests.

The prototypes still need improvements, and still need to undergo impact tests.

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