The Official E-Newsletter of the Institution of Engineers Sri Lanka   |  Issue 47 - April / May 2020


By : Eng. Randika Amarasuriya and Eng. Arjuna Manamperi

As the deadly Covid 19 began to spread in Sri Lanka in mid-March 2020, a group of Engineers from Mechanical Engineering Sectional Committee (MESC) of The Institution of Engineers Sri Lanka (IESL) decided to come forward to face the new challenges (and opportunities). They realized that their role as mechanical engineers is equally important as healthcare workers to control the spread of virus.
Since the social distancing has limited their physical meetings, they created a dedicated online platform to discuss and plan their activities. Following some preliminary studies and brainstorming sessions, they decided to focus on following activities.

  • Design, fabricate and handover a steam (chemical free) decontamination machine (prototype) to a government hospital to decontaminate hospitals and medical equipment. To improve this machine in collaboration with doctors and other users to arrive at a production model.
  • Design and produce, very low cost, plastic personal protective gowns for medical staff.
  • Create a fund for purchasing urgently required items for healthcare staff.
  • Co-ordinate with hospital offices about their immediate requirement for controlling the spread of virus and arrange donations accordingly.

Accordingly Engineers from MESC have succeeded in achieving following results.

  1. Handing over complete personal protective equipment sets

27 numbers of complete personal protective equipment sets worth LKR 250,000.00 were handed over to the health care staff of Colombo South Teaching Hospital. This project was coordinated by MESC and sponsored by Lakdhanavi Limited.

Donation was carried out on 25th March 2020 and it was followed by a discussion with a panel of doctors headed by Dr. Asela Gunawardena – The director of Colombo South Teaching Hospital about the technological assistance that hospitals and healthcare system needs implementing control measures to mitigate the spread of virus as well as developing medical equipment.

Eng. Randika Amarasuriya (Former MESC Secretary), Eng. Shakthi Dissanayake and Eng. Janitha Jayasinghe joined this occasion representing MESC, IESL and Lakdhanavi Limited respectively. Eng. Kithsiri Egodawatte coordinated this activity from Lakdhanavi Limited end.


  1. Manufacture & Handing over Personal Protective Gowns produced by MESC

Members of IESL-MESC set up a small scale pilot production facility to manufacture and donate PPE (Gowns) with technical support from the Sri Lanka Institute of Textile & Apparel (SLITA). The facility is currently catering to the needs of National Health care sector. DG of SLITA Eng. Robert V Peiris, a Member of MESC was instrumental in setting up the technical partnership and SLITA Eng. Sarath Vijayabahu was the main stay in the factory setup.


  1. First set of personal protection Gowns Manufactured under this project was ceremonially handed over to the Minister of Health Pavithra Wanniarachchi. Eng. Lasantha Gayan Ekanayake- Chairman MESC, Eng. Rantharu Athtanayake – Secretary MESC, Eng. Arjuna Manamperi - Former Vice President of IESL & Council Member of Engineering Council Sri Lanka, Eng. Sarath Wijayabahu-SLITA and Dr. Anuruddha Padeniya joined this occasion.
  2. Second set of personal protection gowns (870 Nos) produced under this project were delivered to a few Kurunegala Hospitals in collaboration with the Wayamba Chapter of IESL. This donation was fully sponsored by IESL Wayamba Chapter. Eng. Prasad Siriwardena, Officer of Wayamba Chapter coordinated with MESC.
  3. Third set of personal protection gowns produced under this project were handed over to Dr. Udaya De Silva of Anuradhapura Teaching Hospital. Eng. Lasantha Ekanayake, Chairman – MESC, IESL participated for this occasion on behalf of the committee.
  4. Another set of Personal Protective Gowns (600 Nos) made by MESC with the Sponsorship of 2002 Batch at Faculty of Engineering, University of Peradeniya were handed over to Sirimavo Bandaranayake Specialized Children's Hospital - Peradeniya (plastic sheets were provided by the hospital staff)-. Eng. Arjuna Manamperi - Council Member of Engineering Council Sri Lanka, Eng. Rantharu Athtanayake – Secretary MESC and Eng. Gayan Karunarathne C.Eng 2002 batch, Faculty of Engineering, University of Peradeniya joined the occasion to hand over these items.
  5. Fifth Set of PPEs (270 Nos) were handed over to the Teaching Hospital of Anuradhapura at the IESL premises on 01st May 2020. The donation was sponsored by MESC and Eng (Dr). Ananda Ranasinghe, IESL Council Member, IESL Past President.

  1. MCovid Steam decontamination machine

MESC Designed and fabricated a PROTOTYPE of Steam Decontamination Machine. This was handed over to Dr. Udaya De Silva (Teaching Hospital Anuradhapura) at the IESL premises. Eng. Rantharu Athtanayake – Secretary MESC, Eng. Arjuna Manamperi, Eng. Ganesh Dahanayake and Eng. Loshan Palayangoda, all from MESC participated at the event.
MCovid SD2750 Steam Decontaminator is designed for the purpose within wards, surgical rooms, general operating areas of hospitals, ambulances and patients handling areas, without the use of chemical compounds. The device uses an electrical heating element to generate saturated steam at temperatures as high as 120 Celsius. High temperature steam has a record of destroying bacteria, certain viruses and other microorganisms including many forms of pathogens. Dr. Udaya and his team plans to test the efficacy of the machine in their hospital.
MESC team will work with the Doctors to improve this prototype to a higher level
Project Team

  • Eng. Ganesh Dahanayake - Project Leader / Design
  • Eng. Loshan Palayangoda - Design
  • Eng. Gayanath Rathnayake – Documentation, shop floor supervision and MCovid logo
  • Eng. Sarathchandra Kumara - Safety Certification
  • Eng. Ruwan Nagahawatte – Technical Advisor
  • Eng. kumudu Kumbukage – Logistics and procurements including machine tag
  • Eng. Janaka Chaminda – Transport
  • Eng. Kumudu Herath – Drawings
  • Eng. Randika Amarasuriya – Publicity
  • Eng. Asela Pathirathna - Technical Support
  • Eng. Lochana Kollure -  Procurements
  • Eng. Arjuna Manamperi – Project Advisor and overall project coordinations
  • Eng. Parakrama Jayasinghe- Project / Technical Advisor
  • Eng. Gayan Ekanayake - Chairman MESC, overall project coordination
  • Eng. Rantharu Attanayake - Secretary MESC

Behind the Curtain…

Challenges and Difficulties behind the success story

Entire work had to be performed in a time period when the country was in a “lockdown” to mitigate the spread of virus. All the supply chains were affected, production facilities were closed and transportation of resources was strictly controlled during this period. It was a time many Engineers were stuck in places away from their workplaces and sometimes they had to switch back to basics to complete the project. Many hand written drawings were exchanged due to unavailability of design software they normally use. However, none of the above obstacles stop them from achieving their goal and they finally succeeded showing the power of dedication, hard work, and smart team effort.


Eng. Randika Amarasuriya
AMIE (Sri Lanka), CEB





Eng. Arjuna Manamperi
CEng, FIE (Sri Lanka) Council Member, Engineering Council Sri Lanka
Vice President & Chairman - National Issues Committee, OPA Sri Lanka
Vice Chairman, ICT Industry Skills Council
Former Vice President, Chairman CPDC & Chairman MESC of IESL