Comparative performance evaluation of three coconut cracking devices with conventional cracking technique
Keywords:Coconut, cracking, impact, hydraulic, sphericity, efficiency, capacity, roundness
Performance evaluations of three coconut cracking devices was carried out and its results compared with the conventional (hand cracking technique) of hitting on hard surface. The three devices include a punch-split device, an impact-split device and hydraulic press split device which were developed at the Department of Agricultural & Bioenvironmental Engineering Technology, Federal College of Agriculture, Ishiagu. Each technique was evaluated for output capacity, cracking efficiency, ergonomics, and time required to crack a unit of different grades of coconut. The average cracking efficiency for punch split was 87.09 per cent with a range of 86.76 to 95.00 per cent, impact split efficiency varied from 83.33 to 95.00 per cent with the average of 90.08 per cent while hydraulic split varied from 90.00 to 95.00 per cent. Comparing the performances of the three techniques with the conventional technique which varied from 86.67% to 100% with average value of 94.17 per cent, the devices compares favourably with the conventional technique. The conventional cracking has the least output capacity of 110.09kg/hr compared with the hydraulic press (highest average capacity of 383.83kg/hr). The output capacity varies for different grades of coconut with the hydraulic press recording the highest capacity of 389.33kg/hr for grade B coconut while the conventional method recorded the lowest for grade D coconuts. Ergonomically, the hydraulic split device is favourable compared with other devices in the ease of loading, operation, product handling and management.