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Journal of Emerging Trends in Engineering and Applied Sciences (JETEAS)


Article Title: Development and Evaluation of a Melon Shelling and Cleaning Machine
by Kassim M. James, Victor Umogbai and Isaac N. Itodo

Melon seed is very rich in protein and forms an important ingredient in Nigerian soups (Egusi) and vegetable oil industry. The drudgery involved in the manual shelling of the seeds has discouraged the mass production and commercialization of the crop and this necessitates the development and evaluation of a motorized operated melon shelling machine using impact method. Relevant physical properties of the seeds determined were moisture content, size, angle of repose, weight and the terminal velocity. Tests on the sheller were carried out using the main cultivar of melon (Bara) cultivated in Nigeria. The sheller comprises of the hopper which contains the unshelled melon seeds and is opened directly to the shelling chamber. The shelling chamber comprises of the disc and the rotor. The inner part of the chamber is lined with tiny metal rods to give it a rough surface. Flat metal bars are welded around the concave (rotor) at an angle of 45o. The concave is attached directly to a 2-horsepower electric motor which drives it in an anticlockwise direction to shell the melon seeds. The shelled melon seeds and the cotyledon fall directly into the cleaning chamber where an installed fan blow away the chaff and the cotyledons are collected directly through an opening below the shelling chamber. The sheller was constructed from locally available materials and its operation does not require any special skills. Tests were carried out at speeds of 750, 950, 1200 rpm and moisture contents of 7% and 10% (WB). Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) at P < 0.05 and P < 0.01 was used to determine if the moisture content of melon seeds and the rotation of the shelling unit had any significant effect on the shelling capacity, cleaning capacity and the efficiency of the shelling unit. The results of the analysis showed that increase in the speed of the shelling unit increases the shelling and cleaning capacities of the sheller. However, breakages of the shelled melon seeds also increase with an increase in the speed of the shelling unit. When the moisture content of the melon seeds was increased from 7% - 10% there was drastic reduction in the amount of broken seeds from 95% to 3%. The shelling capacity was reduced from 148kg/h to 145kg/h at a concave speed of 1200 rpm, the cleaning capacity also reduced from 52kg/h to 39kg/h at a concave speed of 750 rpm. It could be concluded that melon seeds should not be shelled at a moisture content less than 10% and that the speed of shelling should be about 950 rpm. The efficiency of the sheller is about 90%. The sheller performed satisfactorily and is suitable for domestic and commercial shelling of melon seeds. This will encourage the industrialization of vegetable oil gotten from melon seed processing in Nigeria
Keywords: design, construction, testing; melon, seeds, sheller
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ISSN: 2141-7016

Editor in Chief.

Prof. Gui Yun Tian
Professor of Sensor Technologies
School of Electrical, Electronic and Computer Engineering
University of Newcastle
United Kingdom



Copyright © Journal of Emerging Trends in Engineering and Applied Sciences 2010