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Plastic Combs and “Midos” Making Plant


1. Product Description: Combs made from polystyrene are produced in a variety of sizes and shapes ranging from the small 5 gm pocket comb to 20 grams ladies combs.  Combs are consumer items which can be considered as basic necessities.  Combs can be made from horns and husks, metals, wood, and plastics.  Because of lower price, plastic combs are the most widely used in practically all countries.


2.  Rational: All the combs used in the Amhara Region are imported.  Some crude types of combs – “midos” were started to be produced in Addis Ababa.  But it seems that they have disappeared from the market probably due strong competition from imports.  Even with strong competition, it is possible to produce combs domestically which can compete against imported similar products.  Most countries import the raw material and process this raw material to make combs; and the combs can compete in quality and price in the home market.  If others can do it, there is no reason why we cannot do it.  This is why this project idea is included in this study.


3. Market Potential: At national level, the market for combs is 75 million people.  If we exclude babies and children between 0-4 years of age, there are 62.8 million people who are potential buyers (not users-because babies and children use combs also) of combs.  Let us assume that about 30 percent of the rural population do not use combs for one reason or another, there remains a minimum of 47.1 million people who can buy at least two combs each ear.  Then total demand for combs in the country will be 94.2 million.  This figure is an indication of the potential market that a comb producing plant will have in the country.  The share of the Amhara Region is 24.5 million combs.


4. Source of Raw Material: Plastic combs are made from special types of plastic material.  Like any other plastic inputs, this plastic will also be imported.


5.  Process & Technology:  The main production process include plasticizing (the resin is fed from a hopper of the moulding machine and heated and softened to make it plastic in a heated cylinder), injection (a correct amount of plasticized melt is injected from the plasticizing cylinder into the relatively cold mould while closed), after filling (the injected material is kept under pressure for some time to ensure adequate filling of the mould and to prevent the backflow of polymer), cooling (some further time is allowed to elapse for cooling of the moulded comb in the mould until it is sufficiently rigid to be ejected without any risk of deformation of the comb).  Machinery and equipment required are injection moulding machine, moulds and dies, scrap grinder, water circulation pumps and other accessories or auxiliary tools.


6.  Estimated Investment:- For a small plant with a capacity of 1,920,000 pieces of combs per year (working 300 days and 16 hours/day).  Building area will 400m2 and cost of building will be Birr 600,000.  Plant, machinery and working capital will require Birr 60,000.  Total Investment will be Birr 660,000.


7.  Benefits: saving in foreign exchange, conservation of financial resources of the Region, self-sufficiency, new technology and new skills, possibility to export to other parts of the country, --------.


8.  Location: Combolcha, Debre Berhan, Bahir Dar.