James Frank is a welder by trade. Equally so, he is an artist, inventor and entrepreneur.
His latest invention – an industrial hand sanitising dispenser – exemplifies his creativity, welding skills and entrepreneurial insight.
Frank gives all the credit to God for inspiring him to design and build this fully mechanical dispenser. He first started thinking about the machine when reports of the coronavirus began emerging in February.
“The Lord brought me through,” he told The Grenadian Voiceon Tuesday, as he recalled the design and build phases of transforming his inspired idea into a functional product.
The durable machine, which can be used indoors or outdoors, is designed for the right and left-handed, allowing persons to stand at the side and operate the foot pedal.
Sales are growing; to date, approximately 50 machines have been installed, mainly in businesses in the parishes of Saint George, Saint Andrew and Saint John; and some schools have also expressed interest.
The machine is one of several inventions James has made over the years, including a hand operated sand blaster. The sanitiser, however, is the first machine he has decided to patent and says the lengthy legal process has begun.
The long-time owner of Caribbean Welding in Woodlands and a T.A. Marryshow Community College (TAMCC) certified Advanced Welder, James has worked and studied with professional welders in England, the United States and St Maarten. He has guided many TAMCC students during the on-the-job training component of their studies.
James sees the value of welding everywhere.
“Everything that is done, even going to the moon, required welding,” he points out.
Globally, welders are employed in cutting, assembling and fabricating commercial steel structures. From interpreting drawings to following safe welding procedures, welders have an understanding of the science of metals. Whether it is fancy gates or pipe repairs, there are always welding projects and repairs at private homes, businesses, yards and parks.
There is also an artistic side to welders and James has created several metal sculptures over the years.
“The creativity, the art goes with welding,” he said, adding that safety is an essential part of a welder’s daily routine since the incorrect use of tools or not having the proper safety equipment can be dangerous.
“You always have to be alert,” he said, a rule carefully followed by James and the six employees at Caribbean Welding.
Acknowledging that Grenada needs more qualified welders, James encourages more young people to consider welding as a career.
“It takes real skills and it can take you anywhere,” he added.