Design and fabrication of an aloe vera gel extraction machine
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Transformation of local agricultural produce helps in enhancing profitability. Several fruit juice extractors have been developed but herbal medicine extractors have not been considered greatly thus the need to make available aloe vera gel / oil extractors that has low production cost. This is to ensure that they are readily available and affordable for growers and processors. A manually operated gel extractor was designed and fabricated using locally sourced materials. The extractor consists of feeding unit, extraction unit, gel collection area, waste outlet, bearing and frame. Rotational motion needed by the screw shaft to compress and transport the aloe vera leaves is supplied mechanically / manually to the machine through pedaling handle. The screw crushes the already compressed leaves from the roller section and also facilitates the movement of the residues to the waste outlet as the gel passes through the perforated surface /screen to be collected. Tests were carried out to investigate the performance of the machine on the basis of gel yield, extraction efficiency, and extraction loss and were obtained. The gel yield being 79.87%, extraction efficiency being 8.99%, extraction loss of 9.19%. The machine design capacity is 10 litres per hour (10kh/hr.) And the gel produced is of good quality .the payback of the machine was calculated to be roughly one month of production. The extractor is durable, has low cost of production and can be afforded by average households and small scale farmers.