INDUSTRY PROFILE #12
1600 Wilson Boulevard, Suite 500
Arlington, Virginia 22209 USA
Tel: 703/276-1800 . Fax:703/243-1865
Portable Metallic Cookstoves
[C]1988, Volunteers in Technical Assistance
This Industry Profile is one of a series briefly describing
small or medium-sized industries. The
Profiles provide basic information for starting
manufacturing plants in developing nations.
Specifically, they provide general plant descriptions,
financial, and technical factors for their
operation, and sources of information and expertise. The
series is intended to be useful in
determining whether the industries described warrant further
inquiry either to rule out or to
decide upon investment. The underlying assumption of these
Profiles is that the individual
making use of them already has some knowledge and experience
in industry development.
Dollar values are listed only for machinery and equipment
costs, and are primarily based on
equipment in the United States. The price does not include
shipping costs or import-export taxes,
which must be considered and will vary greatly from country
to country. No other investment
costs are included (such as land value, building rental,
labor, etc.) as those prices also vary.
These items are mentioned to provide the investor with a
general checklist of considerations for
setting up a business.
These profiles should not be substituted for feasibility
studies. Before an investment is made in
a plant, a feasibility study should be conducted. This may
require skilled economic and
engineering expertise. The following illustrates the range
of questions to which answers must
What is the extent of the present demand
for the product, and how is it now being
Will the estimated price and quality of the product make it
What is the marketing and distribution
plan and to whom will the product be
How will the plant be financed?
Has a realistic time schedule for
construction, equipment, delivery, obtaining
and supplies, training of personnel, and the start-up time for the plant
How are needed materials and supplies to
be procured and machinery and
to be maintained and repaired?
Are trained personnel available?
Do adequate transportation, storage,
power, communication, fuel, water, and
What management controls for design,
production, quality control, and other
have been included?
Will the industry complement or interfere
with development plans for the area?
What social, cultural, environmental, and
technological considerations must be
regarding manufacture and use of this product?
Fully documented information responding to these and many
other questions should be
determined before proceeding with implementation of an
Equipment Suppliers, Engineering
The services of professional engineers are desirable in the
design of industrial plants even though
the proposed plant may be small. A correct design is one
that provides the greatest economy in
the investment of funds and establishes the basis of
operation that will be most profitable in the
beginning and will also be capable of expansion without
Professional engineers who specialize in industrial design
can be found be referring to the
published cards in various engineering magazines. They may
also be reached through their
Manufacturers of industrial equipment employ engineers
familiar with the design and installation
of their specialized products. These manufacturers are
usually willing to give prospective
customers the benefit of technical advice by those engineers
in determining the suitability of their
equipment in any proposed project.
Volunteers in Technical Assistance (VITA) is a private,
non-profit, volunteer organization
engaged in international development. Through its varied
activities and services, VITA fosters
self-sufficiency by promoting increased economic
productivity. Supported by a volunteer roster
of over 5,000 experts in a wide variety of fields, VITA is
able to provide high quality technical
information to requesters. This information is increasingly
conveyed through low cost advanced
communication technologies, including terrestrial packet radio
and low-earth-orbiting satellite.
VITA also implements both long- and short-term projects to
promote enterprise development and
PORTABLE METALLIC COOKSTOVE
Prepared By: Andre Charette
Reviewed By: Timothy Wood
The product is a metallic, wood-burning cookstove designed
a pot of specific dimensions. It uses a small amount of wood
cooks rapidly. It can be made entirely from new or recycled
steel, with joints fastened by metal rivets or spot welding.
cookstove is designed for preparation of such foods as the
and sauce or stew of Africa. Its manufacture is easily
to other locations.
The basic structure is a short cylinder with internal pot
an opening for inserting fuelwood, two handles, and a
metallic grate with air vents below (Figure 1). Correct
are extremely important and should follow a few basic
o The distance from the grate to the bottom of the cooking
should be about 40
percent of the stove diameter.
o The gap between the cylindrical wall of the stove and the
cooking pot should
be uniform, ranging between 6 mm for small
stoves to 9 mm for
the larger sizes. If the gap is smaller than
this, the fire may
smoke excessively. If it is wider, fuel
efficiency will be
o The front opening should be no larger than necessary to
two or three sticks
of wood at a time.
Because of the important gap between pot and stove, every
requires its own stove. In West Africa, the success of this
particular model is due, in part, to the standardized sizes
the popular cast aluminum pots (Table 1).
The design of pot supports is a critical factor in stove
These supports must be strong and must keep the pot at the
proper height above the fuel bed. They must also center the
so that its distance from the stove body is uniform all
Finally, many women require the pot to be held firmly so it
not slide around while they are stirring. A system that
these needs consists of three wedges fashioned from sheet
(Figure 2). They are fastened to the inside of the stove
with rivets or by welding. An additional advantage of these
supports is that they make good use of metal scraps left
cutting other pieces.
Table 1. Metallic Cookstove Sizes, in Millimeters; Examples
No. 4 No. 6
Range of pot diameter
Fuel opening, h x w
Draft vent, h x w
Size of sheet needed
The draft vents are equally spaced below the grate around
base of the stove. Common stove sizes (for Pot Nos. 1-7)
four vents, larger sizes have six.
The grate is supported by tabs formed when the sides and
of draft vents are cut and then bent upwards. After the
blanks are cut from a 1 x 2-meter metallic sheet, the
metal is used to make the grates, handles, and pot supports.
Openings in the grate must be large enough for ash to drop
through naturally without losing small coals. If the grate
positioned with the rough side up, it will hold a small bed
insulating ash and reduce heat loss.
Folds at the top and bottom rims of the stove eliminate
edges, provide rigidity, and give an attractive appearance.
Metal stoves are often made with a hammer and chisel in
areas where recycled oil drums or other metal items are
These can be worked into flat, rectangular sheets according
to stove size (Table 1). Blanks are traced on the metal with
help of a template. The various openings are then chiseled
The two 180 degree folds are made lengthwise at the edges.
reinforce the top and bottom rims. The stove is then shaped
specifications, using a Dutch fold to join the ends in a
In some areas, special hand tools can be used to ensure
dimensions every time and reduce fabrication time. Such
o A press for forming the pot supports shown in Figure 2.
o A set of forms to make smooth curve for the cylinder and
ensure a correct
diameter. Each consists of a partial cylinder
for each stove
model. These are quickly interchangeable on a
common holder. When
the cylinder is formed and the seam is
is put back on its form and made truly round
with the help of a
o A hand operated bench shear for cutting the grate into a
disc. Even with
this tool the operation is tedious.
circular shear is
better; it operates on the same principle as
a can opener.
o A piece of steel pipe about 15 cm diameter and 60 cm long
support when the Dutch fold is hammered closed.
The hammer and chisel method permits production of five
daily by two workers. The tooling-aids package permits
of up to 25 units daily by two workers.
Stoves can be made in any space that accommodates two
work table, and storage of materials and products.
The product was designed in response to deforestation of
areas as the West African Sahel. Its main objective is to
the use of fuelwood. The stove itself has the added
decreasing the exposure of the cook to smoke, and since the
is contained, the user is less susceptable to burns. Cooking
is also reduced about half.
A fabricator can
meet a demand of up to 2, 000 stoves per
markets will require more fabricators. Stove
making is a labor
intensive process that creates jobs.
The stove is a
simple product, easily manufactured by unskilled
workers under supervision.
Manufacturing Equipment Flexibility
Either of two methods are used to achieve the accurate
that are needed: the basic hammer and chisel, and tooling
mounted on a table. The tooling aids include forms
designed for each stove size. Joints may be riveted if
equipment is not available.
No special knowledge is required. Training requires only a
The tooling aids enable fabrication of each stove to
Constraints and Limitations
Local cooking pots must be available in standard sizes.
is slowest with the hammer and chisel method. Hearing can be
permanently damaged by prolonged exposure to loud noise;
should therefore use ear plugs or muffs.
Women, housewives. In addition to reducing fuel costs,
times are shortened, and health and safety are improved.
stove improves women's working conditions.
Any supplier of sheet steel, whether new or recycled.
Sales Channels and Methods
Retail sales may be done directly by fabricator to buyer.
and pricing of products may involve a wholesaler.
sales, advertising (radio, TV), demonstrations, etc. may be
used. Endorsement and promotion or support from local and
national women's groups and by popular leaders and
Geographic Extent of Market
Cities and towns where extensive fuelwood consumption takes
This stove is likely to compete with and offer a ready
alongside of gas, charcoal, petroleum, traditional, and
In households normally using two pots to cook a meal, there
need to be a minimum of two stoves per family of ten
many places, the stove pays for itself within two months
savings made from the purchase of fuelwood. Stove life is
two years. The potential market is 100,000 stoves per
PRODUCTION AND PLANT REQUIREMENTS, SMALL PLANT
1. Infrastructure, Utilities
2. Major Equipment
tab forming press
Set of nine
forms with support
mandrel to hammer fold
Equipment & Parts
(*) TOTAL ESTIMATED COST
of equipment & machinery only
(*) Based on US$ 1987 prices. The estimated costs are
for general guidance. Actual costs will depend on local
and may differ significantly from these estimates.
3. Materials & Supplies
One 1x2 m sheet makes:
stoves and 3 #4 stoves, or
2 #7 stoves, 3 #2 stoves, and 1 #1 stove, or
Figure 1. Metallic cookstove with pot.
Figure 2. Wedge-shaped pot support made from scrap sheet
Figure 3. A Dutch fold.
Figure 4. Universal pattern for stove blanks with a key for
in each of seven pot sizes
1. Technical Manuals & Textbooks
Biomass Stoves (1987). Samuel F. Baldwin. Arlington,
VITA. 287 pp.
Burning Issues: Implementing Pilot Stove Programs: A Guide
Eastern Africa (1984). Stephen Joseph and Philip Hassrick.
London: UNICEF/IT Publication. 184 pp.
Improved Cooking Stoves in Developing Countries. Technical
No. 2 (1983). Gerald Foley and Patricia Moss. London:
Wood-Stove Dissemination, Proceedings of the Conference held
Wolfheze, The Netherlands (1985). Edited by Robin Clarke.
IT Publications. 202 pp.
2. VITA Resources
VITA has a number of documents on file dealing with industrial
processes. On request, VITA will supply dimension tables and
pattern drawings for metallic cookstoves used in West
3. VITA Venture Services
VITA Venture Services, a subsidiary of VITA, provides
services for industrial development. This service-for-fee
the following: technology and financial information,
technical assistance, marketing, and joint ventures. For fee
schedule, contact VITA.
`INDUSTRY PROFILE SERIES'
VITA is pleased to present this series of industrial
These Profiles provide basic information for starting
plants in developing nations. Specifically, they provide
plant description, financial, and technical factors for
operation, and sources of information and expertise. Dollar
are listed only for machinery and equipment costs, and are
primarily based on equipment in the United States. The price
not include shipping costs or import-export taxes, which
considered and will vary greatly from country to country. No
investment costs are included (such as land value, building
labor, etc.) as those prices also vary.
The series is intended to be useful in determining whether
industries described warrant further inquiry either to rule
to decide upon investment. The underlying assumption of
Profiles is that the individual making use of them already
knowledge and experience in industrial development.
These profiles should not be substituted for feasibility
Before an investment is made in a plant, a feasibility study
be conducted. Each profile contains a list of questions to
answers must be obtained before proceeding with
an industrial project.
All profiles are available in English only. They are priced
$9.95 each. You may take advantage of the introductory offer
order any three profiles for just $25.00 or order the entire
nineteen profiles for a bargain price of only $150.00.
BAKED, LEAVENED BREADS
Richard J. Bess
Describes a small bakery operating with a single shift and
producing 100 tons of baked products a year. It also
medium-sized plant operating on the same basis but producing
tons of baked goods a year.
(IP # 19) 6pp.
Describes one plant operating with one shift and making
dozens of blue jeans a year, and another that produces
dozens a year.
(IP # 6) 8pp.
Describes a medium-sized mill operating with one shift that
produces 4,500 cubic meters of dimension hardwood per year.
information is also provided for a mill twice as large.
(IP # 16) 8pp.
FISH OIL AND FISH MEAL
Describes two plants. The first is a 20-ton per day plant
with an eight-hour shift and producing 8,000 tons of fish
4, 000 tons of fish oil a year. The second is a 40-ton plant
operating an eight-hour shift and producing 8,000 tons of
and 16,000 tons of meal per year.
(IP # 8) 8pp.
GLASS CONTAINERS (BATCH PROCESS)
William B. Hillig
Describes small batch production plants with a work force of
50 people that produce 500 to 25,000 containers per day.
(IP 118) 8pp.
GLUCOSE FROM CASSAVA STARCH
Peter X. Carrell
Describes a plant that can operate 250 days a year on a
continuous basis and produce 2,500 tons of glucose syrup.
(IP #17) 8pp.
LIQUID PETROLEUM GAS
Jon I. Voltz
Describes two plants, operating with three shifts for 52
year. The smaller has an annual manufacturing capacity of
barrels; the larger plant has an annual capacity of
(IP #12) 8pp.
MEN'S DRESS SHIRTS
Describes one small plant operating with one shift and
15,000 dozen men's dress shirts a year. It also describes a
larger plant running a single shift and manufacturing 22,000
shirts a year.
(IP #13) 8pp.
MEN'S WASH AND WEAR PANTS
Describes one plant operating with one shift and producing
dozens pairs of pants a year, and another that produces
dozens a year.
(IP # 4) 8pp.
MEN'S WASH AND WEAR SHIRTS
Describes a plant operating with one shift, manufacturing
dozen men's wash and wear shirts a year, and another that
22,000 dozen shirts a year.
(IP # 5) 7pp.
MEN'S WORK SHIRTS
Describes one plant operating with one shift and
15,000 dozen men's shirts a year. It also describes a larger
running a single shift and producing 22,000 dozen shirts a
(IP # 2) 8pp.
Describes a small plant that will serve local needs, mainly
trade-sales-sector. Its output may exceed 4, 000 liters per
(IP #14) 10pp.
PORTABLE METALLIC STOVE
Describes a facility that accommodates two workers, a work
and storage of materials and products. The hammer and chisel
permits production of five stoves daily. The tooling-aids
production of up to 25 units daily.
(IP # 10) 9pp.
Dave F. Smith & Alfred Bush
Describes a small plant producing 35,000 metric tons of
(IP # 9) 10pp.
Describes plants (sawmills) operating with one shift that
produce 10,000 and 30,000 cubic meters (cu m) of product per
(IP # 15) 8pp.
SMALL CERAMICS PLANT
Victor R. Palmeri
Describes a small plant operating with one shift and
16,000 pieces a year. It also describes a medium-sized plant
running a single shift producing about 80,000 units a year.
(IP # 11) 8pp.
STARCH, OIL, AND FEED FROM SORGHUM GRAIN
Peter K. Carrell
Describes a small plant operating with three shifts on a
work schedule and processing about 200 tons of sorghum a
shifts are down per week for maintenance. This facility may
considered a heavy industry because of the emission from the
and dryers and the noise from its high speed machinery.
(IP # 1) 8 spp.
UNFERMENTED GRAPE JUICE
Describes a plant operating with one shift and producing
gallons of grape juice a year, and another that produces
gallons a year.
(IP # 7) 8pp.
WOMEN'S BROADCLOTH DRESSES
Describes a plant operating with one shift and manufacturing
women's dresses a year (1,440/week, 288/day). It also
larger plant running a single-shift and producing
104,000 dresses a year.
(IP # 3) 8pp.