Protea Engineering’s Shane Cass gears up for a dedicated marketing drive to promote the upgraded mobile macadamia de-husker built by the KwaZulu-Natal firm based on a design drawn up by South Coast macadamia farmer Robert Charlton-Shields.

Cass said the engineering firm had optimised the initial design. For example, where it was PTO-driven before, now it is fully hydraulic, with additional improvements including the optimisation of the torque and flow rate reducing the overall kilowatt requirements of the system. The mechanical parts of the de-husker were also redesigned to reduce wear and tear and to cut back on the time frame required for repairs.

“Over the past few months, we have been testing the machine and putting it through its paces. We are satisfied that we have built a fit-for-purpose machine that is not only perfectly designed to suit orchard conditions but will reduce operational costs for farmers resulting in improved profits and reduced processing costs,” Cass said.

The mobile unit is fully independent of the tractor power take-off (PTO) and is powered by a Lombardini LDW1003 engine. The chassis is mounted on floatation tyres to prevent compaction in the orchards. The de-husker can also be operated while moving, and is equipped with bag straps and a bottom discharge opening. The augers offer secondary de-husking and sift out any small nuts, sticks and debris picked up in the orchards.

“We are really very proud of what we have developed and built, but now we have to take it to market and show the industry that it has the capacity to add value to their operations,” he said.

For further information contact shane@proteaengineering.co.za