Development and Evaluation of a Solar Powered Rice Packaging Machine

O Nwoke, O Ojike, A Onwualu, W Okonkwo
2011 Agricultural Engineering International: CIGR Journal. Manuscript No.1646   unpublished
To enhance the marketability of locally produced rice in Nigeria, a machine for cutting and sealing polythene for rice packaging was developed. The machine incorporates a regulator switch which ensures that current flows to the heating element only when the pedal which operates the sealing is matched. This feature reduces the energy requirement of the machine as well as prolongs the life of the heating element. This energy saving feature makes its adaptability to solar photovoltaic (PV) power
more » ... oltaic (PV) power cheaper than conventional sealing machines where currents flows through the heating element all the period the machine is on. The electrical power requirement of the machine is 84 Watts with a nominal voltage and current of 24 Volts (dc) and 3.45 amps respectively. For poor weather conditions when "peak sun hours" are as low as three hours, it can be powered by two 55 W (peak) PV modules connected in series. It can also be powered by 220 Volts (ac) source intercepted with a step down current transformer (CT) of 100 Volts-Ampere. 'Leak Proof Test', 'Fall Impact Test', 'Compressive Test' and 'Grain Quality Assessment' were performed to evaluate 'Effectiveness of Packaging'. Results obtained were considered satisfactory for practical applications. The theoretical capacity of the machine is 720 bags/hour while its actual capacity depends on the operator of the machine.
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