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Team 11: Sow What?

Project Background
In central Africa, a seed known as amaranth is emerging as a strong crop to sell on the market. It has very high nutritional value and grows quickly and easily, requiring little to no water. In Kenya, Hillcrest CRC in affiliation with CRWRC would like to provide a simple and efficient way for Kenyan farmers to process this seed. There are two main reasons for this; the first, that they can sell amaranth on the market for three times the amount corn sells for. Having an effective way to harvest the amaranth would allow this area, which is extremely poor, to experience economic growth. Secondly, the nutritional seed can be used to boost the physical health of the villagers, especially the children, in an area where malnutrition is a significant issue.

Project Description
This machine processes amaranth seed for farmers in Kenya. The device separates the seed and chaff from the stem of the plant (threshing), and then separates the seed from the chaff (winnowing). The parts for the machine will be built in the United States by the Hillcrest team and then shipped as a kit to Kenya to be assembled and used. Our smaller, potentially more economical device will allow more individuals to own the mills, increase labor efficiency, and produce clean, quality amaranth seed.

Our Current Design
The figure to the right is our current design for the device. The process is as follows:

1. The harvested heads of amaranth are fed into the thresher (in green and yellow), which uses a grooved, frictioned belt to thresh the amaranth heads.

2. The threshed debris falls onto a screen, which stops any large material, such as stems.

3. The seed, chaff, and dirt fall through the screen into the chute (red).

4. Here, the seed, chaff and dirt mixture encounters an air flow generated by the fan. This air flow is at a speed which allows the seed to fall, but blows the chaff out the chute.

5. Finally, the seed, at the bottom of the chute, falls through another small opening into a catch pan,

6. The bottom of this container is composed of a fine screen. When shaken, this effectively removes any remaining dirt.

Our Team

Brian Katerberg, Kristin De Groot, Andy Vander Moren, and Dan Schrik

Our Team: Brain Katerberg, Kristin De Groot, Andy Vander Moren, and Dan Schrik

 

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