Statement of Problem:
Cassava is an important staple food crop in many countries and it is used for multiple industrial purposes. It is a rugged root crop and the most resilient food crops grown in Africa. Nigeria takes the global lead in cassava production, producing about 54.8 metric tonnes per annum. In spite of these facts, limited quantities of cassava-based products are exported due to the inability of such products to meet the required international standards. This limitation is due to the unwholesome and unhygienic features of the traditional processing methods being used.
The peeling aspect in cassava processing is unavoidable and it is the major bottleneck in the processing industry and it still remains a global challenge. The variation in sizes and geometry of cassava roots have been the main limitation of developing a mechanized peeling system without loss of useful parts of the roots and reduction inproduct quality. The manual method of peeling is commonly adopted as it poses to be the only means of solving this inadequacy and it involves the manual use of a knife to remove peels from roots. This method is evidenced to be primitive, cumbersome, labour demanding, time-consuming, hazardous and wasteful and it is usually done by women and children.
To solve these issues, mechanized cassava peeling machine was successfully developed, tested and evaluated. It is a compact and movable system and has a great potential for commercial production and it can be adopted in the new quest to improve the quality of processed cassava in Africa.
The developmental process involved the use of computer-aided design and simulation software’s for optimization before its actual fabrication.
What is special about this machine?
The machine is sectioned into four compartments, that is, the watering system, peeling chamber, peels collector and the recyclable water basin. In the peeling chamber, there are two abrasive cylindrical wire-brush that does the peeling. The abrasive peeling material is made from a flexible wire-brush which is long enough to reach the curvature of complex-shaped tuber without chopping off useful parts of the root. Also the recyclable watering system aid in cleaning debris and enhances the removal of peels during operation.
From the performance evaluation, it was revealed that the has the potential to revolutionize the cassava processing sphere as it is of higher efficiency, cost-effective, higher throughput capacity, safer to operate and minimizes loss.