Mr. Zakariahs Mathew, the Chairman & Managing Director of SENZO Group of companies, who holds a unique record of applying 27 patents in India, is a well known figure in the world of inventions. He was born to an agriculturist in a remote village in Kerala. After 6th grade, his concentration was diverted towards the engineering field. He left studies and started driving a tractor. At the age of 22, his curiosity forced him to dismantle and re-assemble the tractor to know the functioning in detail.
His first invention started when he was just 20. He developed a pulley system with a bucket for transporting mud from the hill top to construct a road near Manjur Pulicken, a place near Kottayam, Kerala. He developed this system when he saw people lifting mud in buckets on their head. He became popular in that locality when the matter was reported in the local news paper appreciating his work.
Armed without an academic degree to his credit, without a god father and any kind of guidance,Mr. Mathew relocated to the commercial capital of our country, Mumbai. Initially, he made a hand to mouth living by repairing machines. Later, He started visiting all those large factories like Godrej, Voltas, Boots, Siemens and Larsen & Toubro to solve their production problems by re-designing/modifying their existing machines and also designed new machines for them.
With his broad engineering knowledge, which he developed within a short period, using his ingenuity in the art of mastering machines and inventing new technologies, he preferred to design new innovative machines for the benefit of the people of this country.
He would design machines according to the need of the people/customers.
The Self Collapsing Bridge and the Saptadwaras (seven arch’s) which he developed at Tirupati temple was a huge achievement. At an average, one lakh people visit this temple every day and on auspicious occasions, when the Ratha (Chariot) has to move around the temple, it took almost 10hrs to dismantle the earlier bridge which was manual. The new bridge, which Mr. Mathew developed would collapse and hide itself below the remaining part of the bridge giving way for the Ratha to go within minutes at the push of a button. Similarly, when the Ratha reaches the Saptadwaras, the two arms of the Saptadwaras move in opposite direction making way for the Ratha to pass smoothly.
Mr. Mathew has also designed a conveyor which could be used to transport people across the temple. The movement of the conveyor is designed in such a way that the conveyor which carries 6000 people in one hour would give more than one minute per person to pray in front of the deity, with the queue moving all the time. The conveyor could be dismantled and re-assembled in just one hour if the officials want to clean the area. The temple officials have appreciated Mr. Mathew for designing such a system.
At Kudalmanickam temple in Kerala, the elephant associated with the temple went violent and created havoc. It killed three people including the mahout, and destroyed nearby properties. This incident triggered Mr. Mathew to design Control Gear for Violent Elephants. The magic device is fitted on one of the rear feet of the elephant and the belt from the device is tied on the other leg. If the elephant gets violent, the device could be activated by a remote control by the mahout from 25mtrs away. Once the device is active, both the rear legs are pulled together automatically and would immobilize the elephant. Demonstrations were done at various places including Assam, in front of officials under the ministry of Forest dept.
The need for inventing the Car Cradle came into his mind when he saw his daughter holding his newborn grand daughter in an uncomfortable manner. She was uncomfortable holding the newborn when she got into the car too. Mr. Mathew realized the need for inventing a new car cradle immediately for his grand daughter. The thought process reached the design room and within no time, the car cradle was designed and put for large scale production after the sample pieces were tested under various conditions including the high range areas in Kerala stretching over 400 kms with his grand daughter. The market survey indicates huge demand for the car cradle in India and international markets. One of the most renowned doctors in Maharashtra, who is also the honorary doctor of the Governor of Maharashtra approved the cradle and said that this cradle is more comfortable than most of the imported ones. He said the child could sleep straight in this cradle due to its horizontal shape, whereas the imported ones have a slight curve in between, which could make the child uncomfortable.
In order to pay the farmers on the basis of sucrose contents in sugarcane, Mr. Mathew developed the SUGARCANE SAMPLER in cooperation with the India’s premier research organization, VSI (Vasantdada Sugar Institute), Pune, Maharashtra. The machine is eligible for 75 % Central Government Subsidy. The Sugarcane Sampler has already been supplied and installed at Shree Narmada Khand Udyog Sahakari Mandli Ltd, Gujarat. The machine was manufactured to drill into the sugar cane bunch loaded on tractors or trucks. There are three drills in one machine which would smoothly drill simultaneously on the top, centre and bottom of the sugarcane bunch up to 1.5mtr and collect around 6 to 8 kg of samples in one minute. The sample would go into a shredder and the shredded sample would then pass through a conveyor where the probe of the analyzer is fitted. The analyzer would read the sucrose contents in the sample. The machine was demonstrated in the presence of officials from Vasantdada Sugar Institute and numerous officials from sugar Industry. There is huge demand for this product as we are shifting towards sucrose based cane payment in our country.
Inside the sugar factory, he noticed that the crushing unit for the sugarcane was not getting uniform material. He realized that if the sugarcane goes evenly into the rollers, production of juice could be increased. He designed and produced a feed pusher and named it Cane Bagasse Feed Pusher. With this machinery, the percentage of both production and sucrose level could be increased and also the consumption of water could be reduced. There is demand for this product from the sugar Industries and the production has already commenced.
Mr. Mathew observed that the maintenance of streetlights is a difficult task. The news that appeared in the newspaper regarding the death of a person who fell from the bucket crane while repairing the light fixture reinforced his decision to design some alternative method to cut short this difficult task. He straight away went to the drawing board and gave instructions as to how the product should be. The drawing got converted into Base Hinged Hydraulic Pole & Mast. This wonder pole has been designed specifically to cut down on maintenance cost. The maintenance or replacement of bulbs etc could be done standing on the ground. The whole pole could be brought to the ground level with a hydraulic power pack unit fitted with a cylinder, which is easily portable. After maintenance, the hydraulic unit could be detached and used for the next pole. This would reduce the cost of maintenance to a great extent. The product has been granted patent and also commercialized. There is huge demand for this product in both Indian markets and overseas. Dr. Abdul Kalam, former President of India appreciated his work and said this type of poles for lighting should not be restricted to highways alone. It should be installed even in the villages. He further said that our Grampanchayats do not have sufficient funds to own bucket cranes for the maintenance of streetlights. Even if they have to hire a crane, it would be too costly for them. In such a scenario, Mr. Mathew’sproduct Base Hinged Hydraulic Pole & Mast would be the ideal thing to install.
Due to shortage of coconut tree climbers and also the risk associated to it, the Kerala govt. approached Mr. Mathew to develop a new machine to pluck coconuts. He was also given funds to develop this product.Mr. Mathew wasted no time and developed a Coconut Tree Climbing Robot, which was also tested. Standing on the ground, the operator guides the device to the desired coconut bunch and cut the same with the attached knife, using a switch.
The Rubber Board also has given funds to Mr. Mathew for the development of Motorized Rubber Tapping Machine, which is a very handy device to cut the bark of the rubber tree to tap latex. The device is specially designed to align and then cut the bark evenly. Considering the light weight and user-friendly quality, the machine could be used by any unskilled individual and could tap maximum trees in minimum time.
While enjoying success and climbing up the corporate ladder, many awards and recognitions were also bestowed on him. Rajiv Gandhi Shiromani Award, National Excellence Award and Rashtriya Ekta Award were some of the prestigious awards that came his way. He is the Chief Technology Officer at Amal Jyoti College of Engineering, Kanjirappalli, Kerala. He was also felicitated at the National Innovation Foundation, Ahmedabad, which was led by none other than the former President on India, Dr. Abdul Kalam. Mr. Mathew was requested to give guidance to all those engineers who are unable to complete their innovative projects.