Each year, FINIC raises the bar in the development of technologies in Agro Processing. The year 2018 has been particularly exceptional as the bar was raised higher than any other period of our 2 decades existence. Among the numerous technologies FINIC generated this year is the mechanization of cassava peeling.
Folks, cassava peeling is a daunting task. It constitutes the greatest drudgery in the transformation of cassava tubers into Gari and Cassava Flour. Traditionally, the process of peeling the tubers in Sierra Leone, as in many other countries in the world, is by grabbing a knife and cut slice the tubers with a special care to reduce tuber loss. It will require a committed and hard working youth an hour to peel 40kg of cassava tubers. With the same speed and commitment, 25 persons will be required to peel 1 ton – 1000kg – in an hour. That is a huge number of personnel and managing to get the best out of them is also daunting and herculean.
CAPACITY OF THE FINIC MADE CASSAVA PEELING MACHINE
The FINIC mechanized peeling machine has capacity to peel 1,800 kg – 36 bags each of 50 kg -of cassava tubers per hour.
As the machine conducts it’s peeling operations, the tubers are automatically washed off their peels. Gravity fed water system supplies water conveniently when a tap is opened.
The Machine does not however, peel 100 percent. After several tests, we rated it at 97 percent. We also came to the realization that the remaining 3 percent peels are not necessary to remove at that point. They come out automatically as light fibre after the garification process.
TUBER LOSS USING THE MACHINE.
Cassava tubers peeled by machines do suffer tuber loss than those peeled by skillful and careful hands. The technological prowess is in narrowing the difference between the percentage loss when peeled by hand and peeling by machine. . Unless assisted by Artificial Intelligence, no machine can peel cassava and have the tuber loss equal to that peeled by dexterous hands.
We had 1 of our Food Processing Department team to peel 29 Kg of tubers by hand. After peeling, the weight dropped to 21Kg. The loss was 8kg. The percentage loss on account of tuber and peels removed, is 27.5. Same content peeled by FINIC machine recorded a loss of 31.5 percent. The difference between hand peeling and machine peeling was 4 percent. However, the time taken to peel by machine was 60 times faster.
Now, compare 4 percent loss to the difference in time. Clearly, the machine is extra ordinary and must be the best choice for large Gari or Cassava flour production.
Monetizing the 4 percent loss and the personnel paid to do the peeling by hand, one will quickly see the importance of the machine. Factoring sociocultural negative tendencies and other considerations, the machine is the winner and should be celebrated. It will, without doubt, enhance Gari and High Quality Cassava Flour production in Sierra Leone.
Also, integrating livestock production such as pig farming with transformation of cassava into Gari and flour, the loss will serve as an input to the farm. In that sense, there is no loss.
DOES THE MACHINE PEEL OTHER TUBERS?
The good news also is that the same machine peels potato, yam, onions, garlic and ginger without any modification.
BEATING THE AFFORDABILITY CONUNDRUM
To make a machine cheap and yet strong, is a delicate balancing act. It is a huge conundrum to disentangle. Battling a mindset of Sierra Leoneans that what is made in their country is of inferior quality, further complicates the problem. We must be other geniuses to let both sides – FINIC and Clients – happy. One of the ingenious ways we are researching into is to make the machine affordable by replacing the prime mover – engine or electric motor – with the manually actuated system we call FINIC”S “Merry Go Round” technology. We are almost there with astonishing positive results. As another measure to cut down cost, same machine is used to do the grating after peeling a number of batches.
Another research going in tandem is innovation into a system that will speed Gari processing by 20 folds. YES, by twenty times than the current traditional practice !
FINIC IS GOOD FOR AFRICA !
See pics below. If you can, download the attached video to view the machine in action.
Visit our website : finicindustries.com
Call/WhatsApp us at +232-76-601956
Foday Melvin Kamara
Member of the Order of the Rokel for Exemplary Engineering.