Enset or Weese, as it is called in Sidaama, is a large single stemmed, banana-like perennial plant grown mainly as a garden crop in the south and south-western Ethiopia. About ten million people use enset as their major staple food crop.
Enset plant is used for 1) Food (hamicho or boiled corm, kocho and bulla),2) Bedding (dried enset leaves),3) Food wrappings (leaves),4) Cattle feed (leaves, leaf sheaths, and corm) and 5) Building materials (leaf sheaths and fibre—by product of decorticating leaf sheaths). Kocho and bulla are obtained by decorticating leaf sheaths and by grating/shredding peduncle and corm. The traditional way of extracting kocho and bulla from leaf sheaths, peduncle and corm is tedious and back breaking process. Weese processor is meant to change that and make the lives of enset producers much simpler. In the following few pages, I will try to explain, with the help drawings, how weese processor works.
The Weese processor has two distinct processors designed to deal with different parts of weese. In addition to these primary units, there are important accessories and pedal based power source.
This brief introduction to Weese Processor presents the drawings of basic component parts of the processor, the system’s function and how the system accomplishes the intended function.
The system is defined by the principles of operation of the following three parts:
1) The SH model, 2) The HM model and 3) The power source
1) The SH model
Fig.1. and Fig.2 are the primary parts of SH model (Spring- loaded system that decorticates or scrapes SHAFINNA or leaf sheaths of weese.
Fig.2 (spring loaded box) slides into Fig.1 from the top to form part of the SH model .It contains a light board or a “plate” that is held to the base of the box by a spring hinge, at the top end of the box. The hinge is similar to the spring one finds on a clipboard (torsion spring), except in this case the plate forms 20 -30 degree with the base of the box when the spring is at rest. The specimen is loaded by pushing the plate down to the base of the box. Each time the top leaf sheath is removed (corticated & removed), the spring loaded plate pushes the remaining leaf sheaths up, delivering the specimen to the spinning blade system.
Fig.5. (shield- box) is used 1) to collect decorticated component of kocho and 2) as a splash protection during operation. The box part of fig.5 slides under B (Fig.1.) just slightly, before starting the process.
A=Wing of the spring-box (fig.2.). The wings prevent leaf sheaths from falling forward or from free falling.
B=Scrape board (fig.1)--the leaf sheaths are decorticated, mainly, on this board.
C=where the spring loaded box and the scrape board meet.
E=specimen (leaf sheaths) support hooks (3 on each side of the spring box). These are meant to ensure that the specimen doesn’t just slide through before it is processed.
F=a notch to hold strainer 1 in place (see fig.6 below)
D=Where two ends of blade system are positioned. One end of the blade system is connected to the power source and the other end is connected to a support structure that holds it firmly in place.
Principles of operation
- The specimen is loaded into spring loaded box so that when the last part of one leaf sheath (specimen) is decorticated, the next specimen is pushed up onto scrape board (fig.1 B). As the bottom edge of the specimen slides into position, it comes into contact with a cylindrical system of blades (fig. 4) at C (fig.1). The decorticated specimen falls into strainer 1 (fig. 6) which forms a part of shield-box (fig.5), suspended at F (see Fig.5)
- The blades are held in place by a metal rod that runs through the centre and metal brackets on both ends such that the blades assume a bow shape for more effective contact with the specimen. There are four 30cm (12 inch) hacksaw blades in this system. The stability of this assembly is maintained by placing support structures on both sides of fig.1 (see D-Fig.1).
- At the end of decorticating process, fig.5 is removed from fig.1 to start wringing process. Using strainer 2, the specimen is pressed against strainer 1 to complete separation of fibre from food component of the specimen and to force liquid into the bottom part of fig.5 from which bulla is recovered after sedimentation process is completed.
1) 5-10 leaf sheaths are manually loaded into the spring box.
2) The shield box(splash protector and specimen collection system) moved into position
3) Pedal power source is started. As the top leaf sheath is decorticated and moved off the scrape board the remaining specimens are pushed up into position, where they come into contact with the SH-blade system, by the spring loaded plate. The process continues until all the loaded specimens are processed.
4) The shield-box is pulled out of the assembly. Note, the “collection box” has two parts. The top part is strainer 1(a porous structure) and the bottom part is just a rectangular box or ‘bucket’ with a fluid outlet. At this stage, all decorticated specimen is inside strainer1 with the exception of a small amount of fluid that escapes to the ‘bucket’.
5) Using strainer2, the specimen is pressed against the inside walls of strainer1 to do the following:
a) To remove any food component (waasa) that wasn’t completely separated from the fibre (haanxe) during decorticating process.
b) To force as much fluid as possible into the lower compartment or the ‘bucket’.
6) Haanxe is removed from strainer1 manually. Both the waasa and the fluid that contains bulla are transferred to separate containers, for storage and recovery of bulla respectively.
7) The shield-box (fig.5) is moved back into position to continue with the next load.
However, there is an alternative way of using SH model. In the alternative system, the shield-box will have only one specimen collection compartment and the functions of strainer1 and strainer2 are replaced by the functions of the “SPINNER” (see fig. 8, 9, 10 and 11 below).
1) It is made up of two steel barrels, one large barrel (about 50gal.) and another barrel (about 30 gal) small enough to fit inside the larger barrel.
2) The larger barrel is stationary and there is a tube connected to it to transport fluid. The smaller barrel is perforated and it is the spinning part of the spinner and as such it is directly connected to the power source. There is a wire brush (see fig.9 and fig.11) that is mounted inside the small barrel---it runs through the centre of the small barrel, length-wise.
3) The spinner can have its own power source or the power source can be shared.
The procedure of SH-model operation when spinner is used, instead of strainer1&strainer2:
1) 5-10 specimens (leaf sheaths) are manually loaded into the spring box.
2) Shield-box is moved into position
3) Pedal power is started. As the top specimen is decorticated and moved off the stage, the remaining specimens are pushed up into position, where the next specimen comes into contact with the blade system, by the spring loaded plate. The process continues until all the loaded specimens are processed.
4) The shield-box is pulled out of the assembly.
5) The decorticated specimen from the collection box, which is part of the shield box, is transferred to the spinner.
6) The shield-box is moved back into its position to process the next load.
The procedure after the decorticated specimen is transferred into the spinner:
1) Close the lids of both barrels.
2) Start the pedal power source
3) As the inner barrel spins:
a) The fluid is forced out from the inner barrel into the outer barrel and through the tube it is transferred to a different collection container
b) More separation of food material from fibre (waassa-haanxe separation) takes place as the specimen comes into contact with pointed ends of the wire brush
c) Haanxe will gather around the wire brush while waassa remains on the surface of the barrel
d) After a number of minutes, depending on circumstances, haanxe(fibre) and waassa(food material) are moved into different containers for further processing or for storage.
Notes (spinner and different parts)
- The spinner is securely placed on fig.8. Movements during operation can be minimized and the spinner can be secured in the support structure(fig.8) by using 4 corner brackets
- The size of fluid collection container “Y” (see fig.8) depends on the volume of operation.
2) The HM model
Fig.12 A=position of specimen
Fig.12 B=position of spinning blade system (Fig.14)
Fig.12 C=power source
Fig.12 D=outlet to E (specimen collection bucket)
Fig.12 F=spring loaded board that moves the specimen forward----here, compression spring is used.
Fig.12 G=metal bracket and/or a similar structure through which spinning blade system is introduced.
Principle of operation
- The edge of spinning blade system (SBS) and that of the specimen are lightly pressed against each other.
- As SBS (fig. 14) shaves off the edge of the specimen every time it turns, F (fig.12—spring loaded board) pushes the specimen towards the edge of the blade and the process continues until all specimen is processed.
- The processed specimen is collected in E (specimen collection bucket---fig.12)
1) The corm is loaded onto stage by pushing F (see fih.12) towards the wall of fig.12.--one corm at a time.
2) The power source is started
3) As the HM-blade system shaves off the edge of the specimen (the corm)closer to it, the remaining part of the corm is pushed into position by the spring board (F,fig.12). This process continues until the loaded corm is completely shredded.
4) The processed specimen is collected in a bucket or a box (see E, fig.12). When the container is full, the specimen is transferred to a different container for further processing or is mixed with the decorticated leaf sheath
5) New corm is loaded and the process continues until all the specimens are processed.
3) The power source
Structure of the power source (fig.15)
- Modification to the bicycle is moderate and no permanent changes are made. The change is limited to the rear wheel.
- The rear wheel is suspended on a support base and the wheel is converted into a friction wheel by removing its tire.
- It has about 4 to 1 gear ratio (when the pedal turns once, the rear wheel turns 4 times). In addition, the rear wheel is significantly larger than the friction wheel that is connected to the spinning blade system. A wheel of small children’s bike can be used as a friction wheel that links blade system to the bike.