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Machine Spins Out Shelled Nuts Fast
"My wife got tired of swinging a hammer," explains Michael Andreasen as his motivation for creating his Get CrackinÖ nut-cracking machine. Walnuts are plentiful in the Boise, Idaho, area. Laid off from his job due to illness and with lots of available time, Andreasen used his skills in food processing equipment to make a prototype.
  His patented machine is a spinning cone (small end up) in a stationary cylinder. Nuts fall between the two, according to their width, and are cracked with even pressure. The nutmeat and shells fall down a chute into a container. Andreasen is working on adding an air leg, to blow shells off to separate them from the nut, similar to blueberry separators.
  "I can run 400 to 600 lbs. of walnuts an hour, 300 lbs. of pecans, or 500 lbs. of hazelnuts an hour," Andreasen says. Without any adjustments, he nets up to 65 percent halves on walnuts and pecans and up to 85 percent whole hazel nuts.
  "I even get a high yield on macadamia nuts, which are harder to shell than black walnuts," he adds. He can crack any round nut; flat-sided Brazil nuts are more difficult.
  While attending food shows, nut company representatives told him that without him knowing it, his machine is similar to quality commercial machines used by large nut companies. He also listened to ideas from average consumers and modified his prototype.
  Get Crackin' is small enough to sit on a countertop or shop bench and comes in hand-crank and electric models. They're made of structural aluminum and can be anodized to be harder than stainless.
  "This is great for an entrepreneur or home business. It's a food grade machine. You can use this for business," Andreasen says. Nut farmers often sell part of their crop to bakeries and small businesses. Even cracking nuts for individuals at 25 cents a pound could be a lucrative business, he adds.
  Andreasen builds the machines himself and has crank models (about $1,800) and motorized models (about $2,500) on hand. He also has more expensive models with cracking tolerance (adjust for nut size), which increases the percentage of half and whole nuts.
  He has plans to add bins that size nuts and automate the system for optimal yield.
  Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, In a Nutshell, Inc., Michael Andreasen, 11341 Hall Dr., Nampa, Idaho 83651 (ph 208 880 5487).

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2008 - Volume #32, Issue #6