Design, Fabrication and Testing of Cocoa Depodding Machine
Cocoa (Theobroma cacao) is an important cash crop that serves numerous food purposes. Removing the seed from the pod, or depodding is key to its vast applications. In an attempt to ease the bottleneck in breaking the pods to release the seeds for utilization, a cocoa depodding machine was developed to efficiently depod various sizes of cocoa. Fabrication was done using locally available materials to achieve reduction in production cost, stress and drudgery attributed to the manual methods of depodding. The essential components of the depodding machine are the hopper, the depodding unit, the frame and the power unit. Its design and operation are based on the engineering properties of the cocoa pod, and the machine utilizes impact and compression mechanism for depodding actions. Machine evaluation was conducted on four levels of speed resulting from different pulley diameter ratio (219, 278, 397 and 636 rpm) in order to establish the best operating speed for the machine. The results of which were 89.29%, 87.38%, 85.25% and 80.70% respectively. The best output of the depodding machine was obtained when operated at 219 rpm speed with a throughput capacity of 469.87 kg/h, a minimum bean damage of 10.71%, and a 2 hp electric motor as the prime mover.