Automation in the food industry - an automated rice cooking design solution
Toh, Zuan Ming
Date of Issue2015
School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering
Productivity and lack of manpower has been a persistent problem in Singapore, and many businesses are turning towards automation as a viable solution. In the Food and Beverages (F&B) industry where productivity, efficiency and service excellence are of utmost importance, the shortage of staff has left many of their businesses severely crippled. This report describes the design and fabrication process of a fully automated rice cooker prototype capable of automatically cooking rice at a predetermined time, sponsored by Sakae Holdings Ltd. This automation solution aims to reduce the burden of workers who maybe experiencing excessive workload in a short-handed workplace. Design ideas were carefully analyzed and the most suitable solution was systematically selected for prototyping. The design solution underwent a meticulous development process and any necessary adjustments were made accordingly. Using a provided rice washer and rice cooker each, an intermediary mechanism was fabricated and a microprocessor was programmed to integrate the two machines into a single system. Employing the mechanical, electrical and computer programming aspects of engineering, an operational prototype was completed despite the numerous obstacles and challenges faced during the process. The prototype was then tested and was proven to be functional. Upon further improvements and development, this inexpensive design solution would be of great benefits to F&B businesses. Automation solutions greatly improve the efficiency and productivity of various processes, hence similar automation design solutions could be developed to improve productivity and efficiency not only for businesses, but also for personal daily tasks.
Final Year Project (FYP)
Nanyang Technological University