April 29, 2009 Ludhiana
Looking into socio-economical conditions of farmers, a castor depodding and decorticating machine is developed by Ludhiana based Central Institute of Post Harvest Engineering and Technology (CIPHET) which separates seeds from pods and dehulled from seeds by using principle of impact. The unit also contains a cleaning grading assembly which grades the seed in two sizes. The fabrication cost of the machine is Rs. 25,000/- excluding cost of 2 HP electric motor. The operating cost of the machine is only 65 paisa per quintal of castor pods for 8 h per day operation.
The manual depodding process presently followed is tedious, highly time and labour consuming. Currently castor seeds are manually depodded. After harvesting, the castor pods are sun dried for 3–12 days, depending on the initial moisture content and weather conditions. The husk is then removed from the seeds by beating with a mallet so as to release the seeds.
The depodding and decorticating efficiency was found to be 98.5 % at 6.22 % (wb) moisture content of the pods. At the same moisture content the capacity was also as high as 179 kg/h. Overall dimension of the machine was 1255 x 625 x 1595 mm. Single person can conveniently operate the machine.
Castor (Ricinus communis) is considered as one of the ancient (150 BC to 100 AD) non-edible but having high medicinal value crop containing 25–58 percent oil in different varieties. India ranks first in area and production in the World producing 8.70 mt from about 1 lakh acres.
Other than grown wild, castor is cultivated mainly in Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra and Karnataka. Although castor has industrial and medicinal uses, still it is a neglected crop due to the laborious processing operations involved.