This work describes the development, design, and parameter identification of a lychee peeling machine. The working principle of the machine combines two rollers with a pressing belt to separate the peel from the fruits. It was designed and its operational parameters identified on
[...] Read more.
This work describes the development, design, and parameter identification of a lychee peeling machine. The working principle of the machine combines two rollers with a pressing belt to separate the peel from the fruits. It was designed and its operational parameters identified on the basis of experimental data on the Thieu lychee, which currently covers about 80% of the plantation area in Vietnam. To this end, the first step was to measure the physical characteristics of the fruits, such as size, shape, and density. Moreover, the coefficient of static friction between lychees and rubber rollers, and the critical peeling force, were identified, with a view to optimizing the operational parameters later on. Results showed that a minimum tangential force of 10.5 N is needed to break the peel and separate it from the pulp. Based on the balanced force principle, various optimal machine parameters such as roller rotation speed, roller diameter, roller length, gap size between the two rollers, belt velocity, and minimum pressure of the belt were calibrated. In addition, spiral grooves were created on the roller surface to facilitate the motion of the fruits. The optimal results were roller size 900 × 100 mm (length × diameter), rotation speed 159 RPM, gap size between rollers 4 mm, belt size 850 × 60 mm (length × width), belt pressure 13.5 N, and belt velocity 140 mm/s. Using the design and operational parameters mentioned above, the machine was able to perform regularly at a throughput of 100 kg/h, as demanded by the current market. Moreover, it would be easily feasible to combine multiple pairs of rollers and pressing belts in order to increase throughput. The methodology for the design of this peeling machine and identification of working parameters with respect to experimental data could be applied in many other post-harvesting configurations.