Training center TCM in Zambia

Short description of the project


Shipment of machines including equipment service and training by Fritz Schuhmacher (Former Workshop Manager of HIOB International, who is in “active retirement”).


2792 articles, a total of 17’779 kg have left our warehouse in Steffisburg for TCM.

From the planer on the hacksaw, long belt sander, Planer, table saws, power generator, to the hand plane. From the kneading machine to the baking tray. From the van to the tool box including a large post hospital material.



Selection of material in the warehouse of HIOB at Steffisburg by Ueli Gnehm and Fritz Schuhmacher



Loading in Steffisburg

TCM (Trainings Centre Mpanshya)

Among other professions, TCM is educating trainees in wood and metal working. It is located in a rural area, about 200 km east of Lusaka. It employs trainers who themselves were former trainees from TCM and were trained by now. In the carpentry they produce mainly furniture like tables, chairs and beds, which are then sold in the market of Lusaka.


Arrival in Zambia



What a joy!



Unloading of the machines

The TCM has received a container from Switzerland of HIOB International, with used but still good machines. These machines had to be properly placed and connected to the power.

A somewhat unusual undertaking

A 30-kilowatt power generator was there, which is to serve for the incoming machines. First, the old, rather heavy generator by hand and with very simple means had to be developed. Also, the yield of even heavier new caused some troubles.



Heavy lifting transport the generator



Training on the machines

Now, after almost half a day of heavy labor, he stood at his intended place. The connection of the electrical system and the laying of the diesel lines, giving no major problems.

Unruly Technology

Now we still had to find a new cooling system for the generator engine. (The generator came from an air-raid shelter in Switzerland. The cooling system was also the heating for the shelter.)

Unfortunately, even the fan blades didn’t fit on the drive shaft of the engine and had to be changed on the lathe. The fan probably came from a vehicle accident and was totally bent and crooked. So the bent fan blades had to be straightened out.

The radiator had allegedly been checked for leaks and repaired by a specialized company in Lusaka. We had to make a bracket to fix the motor on the carrier. We also had to make suitable fittings on the lathe for the cooler hoses, we found there. Now, the condenser was filled with water and the motor has been started. After a short time thick fog spread in the generator room and made us coughing. This supposedly controlled by a specialist workshop and repaired radiator was leaking in two places. These holes had simply been stuffed with putty and painted over by the “workshop”. We sealed them professionally with tin-solder. But now it happened, that the cooling water was too hot and thus the system could not be operated. The fan drew too little air through the radiator. So we had to construct an air baffle to the fan with available materials.



Improvised construction on the motor



Putting in service of the generator

Clogged radiator pipes

With a long strip of plastic and a lot of patience these clogged pipes were cleaned by Martin and a trainee from the metal workshop. Now we could show to the people, how such a cooler has to be soldered shut. Now the cooler could be installed again and filled with water. From now on, this engine ran flawlessly and without overheating. Now we had to instruct all the responsible persons in the maintenance of this rather complicated system. People have understood the instructions and realized that such a valuable facility also needs the necessary care. (Because: No power generator – no electricity, no electricity – no working on the new machines.)

In the meantime we had to repair, install and connect many other machines and equipment. In particular, the work on the lathe, such as threading and making fine surfaces have raised many questions.



Interested trainees



Ueli Gnehm instructs the new moulder machine

Pride in the work clothes

The trainees proudly wear uniforms discarded by the swiss civil defense, which they have also received from HIOB International in the relief action. Now they serve as working uniforms for TCM in Zambia.