Vegetables play an important role in meeting the needs of human beings for vitamins and minerals. Leafy vegetable especially helps to lower susceptibility to infection and contains large amount of squalene, a compound that has both health and industrial benefits. Vegetables are cut into smaller sizes which aids its preservation and packaging. In order to achieve this a leafy vegetable slicing machine was designed and fabricated for both domestic and commercial use in final processing of vegetable in an attempt to make cut and preserved vegetables available to consumers. The machine components consist of frame, the loading hopper, blade cutter, outlet chute and engine seat. The leafy vegetable cutting machine was subjected to preliminary tests using four different speeds (1440 rpm, 930 rpm, 720 rpm and 510 rpm) with one-, two- and three- blade cutter arrangements. The machine was evaluated to determine the effect of speed on the slicing efficiency and machine capacity. The leafy vegetable cutting machine had a capacity of 29 kg/hr with over 80% functional efficiency. At speed 510 rpm using three- blade cutter arrangement, the leafy vegetable cutting machine was at its best as it took 472 seconds to reduce 1kg of vegetables with a slicing efficiency of 88.2%. The machine is easy to operate and maintain as it operates on a 1 Hp electric motor and convertible on a crank arrangement to be used manually.
Keywords: Cutting machine, leafy vegetables, Amaranthus hybridus, Machine capacity, Design and fabrication