RMUTT had constructed its very first prototype 1 kg food dryer with real-time on-screen humidity detection during drying process. Being supervised by Lecturer in Faculty of Engineering in the Department of Food Engineering, Asst. Prof. Dr. Apinun Wanlapa, a team of 4th year students from the Department of Agricultural Engineering in the Faculty of Engineering, Rajamangala University of Technology Thanyaburi (RMUTT) including Mr. Kittisak Bundasak nicknamed ‘Moji’, Mr Soravit Dejathirat or ‘Gun’, and Mr. Jirasak Vongkor or ‘Fam’ had designed and constructed food drying machine with built-in, real-time humidity screen monitoring.
As the representative of the research team, Mr. Kittisak revealed that food drying process is a method of increasing the food’s shelf-life and its product values. In order to achieve the food drying procedures, dehydration of moisture that supports microbial activity in food must be diminished. Removal of water needed by bacteria, yeasts, and molds could eventually prolong, preserve, and lessen the chance of deterioration in food and thus having healthy looking on food texture.
The main problem in the drying process is to measure the moisture content of food during drying procedure. Having to take out food out of the dryer on every occasion for humidity testing and having consumed excessive time for humidity measurement, a ‘Food Drying Machine’ with build-in humidity detector was designed and developed to detect any changes of humidity during the drying process, thus giving more accuracy for testing, saving more testing time. The machine used infrared light as the source of heat energy while data changes of food weight would help calculate the humidity of food. While installation of food weight measurement equipment, and real-time humidity screen monitoring would help show actual amount of moisture real-time.
Mr. Soravij gave more details on the machine that the structure of machine made in square shape having 0.5 inch of steel. The machine was comprised in two chambers: one for drying, the other on for controller. Each chamber would be made from 1mm. steel while the interior parts of each chamber was being attached with fiber glass insulation. Moreover, infrared lamp power unit, temperature controller set, single point type- weighing load cell, and heat dissipation fan were installed inside the drying chamber. Concerning the heat dissipation fan, installation of the equipment would help air flow constantly from outside into the chamber as well as distribute and transfer infrared heat evenly inside the chamber and ventilate moisture out of the machine. For the purchasing price and its specifications, the machine costed 10,000 baht per unit which was equipped with food weighing capacity of 1 kg and optimization of testing temperature of 90 Degree Celsius.
It could be found from the test results of prototype moisture measurement system being standardized by standard test method for measuring humidity that the machine was accurate and eligible for real application making it suitable for researchers and developers as well as local industry. Moreover, the machine equipped with built-in remote control could further be developed for commercial uses as well. Mr. Jirasak also supported that this invention could not only develop technologically but also commercially. Last but not least, this machine in a way was also the reflection of successfully applying theoretical knowledge into practice of agricultural engineering. For those interested, please call 099 116 4980.