Functional performance of a vertical-shaft centrifugal palm nut cracker


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A vertical-shaft centrifugal palm nut cracker was presented and evaluated. The cracker efficiency and kernel breakage ratio are some of the most important parameters for evaluating the cracker performance. From the result of this work, the two parameters are function of cracking speed, moisture content and feed rate. The result showed that for the lowest speed of 1,650 r/min, and the highest feed rate of 880 kg/h and for all moisture contents, the cracking efficiency was not up to 65%, therefore the efficiency increases with an increase in machine speed and a decrease in feed rate. The kernel breakage ratio ranged from 0–0.18 (0–18%) for all feed rates and moisture contents. It increased with moisture
content and cracking speed, but decreased with feed rate. All the parameters determined have a linear relationship with moisture content.


The oil palm (Elaeis guineensis Jacq.) is a great
economic asset. It is acclaimed to be the richest
vegetable oil plant (Kheiri 1985). According to this
author many products can be derived from the oil
palm; this includes palm oil, palm kernel oil, palm
kernel cake, fibre, palm wine, fatty alcohol, broom,
and wood plank. Harvested palm bunches undergo
processing stages of sterilization, stripping, diges-
tion, and palm oil extraction. Palm nuts and fibres
are left as residues. The nuts are dried and cracked
into palm kernel and shell. It is separated into palm
kernel oil (PKO), palm kernel meal (PKM), and water
(Akinoso et al. 2009). The world production of oil
palm products has always been impossible to access
accurately due to the recorded quantity produced
in grooves and outlaying groups as semi-wild palm,
for domestic use, and for sale. Estimate made by
the FAO (1996) suggested a rise from 3.6 billion kg
of palm kernel and 11.3 billion kg of palm oil in
1989–1991 to 5.08 billion kg of palm kernel and
17.04 billion kg palm oil in 1996–1997. However,
according to the FAO (1996) the palm kernel pro-
duction potential of several countries was not fully
exploited, which may be attributed to poor extrac-
tion methods. However global output forecast for
oil palm production according to FAO (2005, 2006)
will reach 42 billion kg. According to Anonymous
(2004–2006) the world palm oil production during
2005–2006 stood at 39.86 billion kg of which 4.36
billion kg is palm kernel oil. The rate of vegetable
oil consumption is increasing compared to animal
fat due to its health implication (Akinoso et al.
2009). The industry is challenged by demands for
high quality products at reduced prices. Importance
of oil crops as a vital part of the world’s food supply
was evidenced in world agricultural trade statistics.


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Agricultural Engineering

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