Design and construction of a fruit color sorter for Agricultural applications.
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Uganda is suitable and has abundant potential to produce mangoes, citrus, pineapples, tomatoes and a host of other vegetables. For profitability, it is therefore essential for Fruit and vegetable processors to have good quality products, attractive packaging and a well-managed business. Good quality fruits can be ensured through rigorous testing for surface defects, color and size to attract customers. The objectives of the project were to analyse the current fruit sorting techniques in Uganda, design and develop an accurate fruit color sorter, and construct and evaluate performance of the machine. To fulfill the objectives, information regarding the existing technologies in terms of operation, selection criteria, advantages and limitations was obtained from the existing literature. The information obtained was then analyzed to come up with appropriate concepts for the power transmission, sorting mechanism and energy source mechanisms. The data was also analyzed and relevant calculations done in detailed design. With the final design requirements for the major components of the determined, construction of the machine followed. The machine’s performance was tested in regards to capacity and accuracy using red(ripe) and (green) tomato fruits. The capacity and efficiency were found to be 144Kg/h and 71.4% respectively. Commercialization of the product was done and this involved costing in order to come up with the selling price of the machine. The machine costs Shs 1,240,200, which is by far lower than the cost of other automated sorting machines on market. Implementation of this project can be a business venture for various small-scale industries.