Mechanical pod splitter for opening cocoa pods
The department has developed a mechanical cocoa pod splitter that includes a conveyor system to carry pods to the splitter and can be linked with other machinery to separate 'wet' beans from split pods for the next bean fermentation stage.
We developed the pod splitter and conveyor in conjunction with partner research organisations. When used together, the conveyer and splitter can split approximately 5,000 cocoa pods per hour. Pods can also be safely hand-fed into the splitter without the need for the conveyor, though at a slower rate.
Pods are split into 2 discrete halves with little to no fracturing and breakage—less than 2 per cent damage by weight to the wet beans.
The splitter and conveyor are suitable for smaller scale farms.
Licencing and royalties
The mechanical pod splitter is a product of the state of Queensland through the department and our research and development partners. There is no fee for accessing the intellectual property in this machinery.
The pod splitter is no longer protected by any patents.
We have allowed the patent applications to lapse so the technology may be used widely by the industry.
An opportunity exists to manufacture the pod splitter to departmental design or to modify the design as appropriate.
Entities that are associated with building and improving cocoa industries among farmers and farmer cooperatives in developing nations, including charitable organisations and governments, will find this technology invaluable.
For all research commercialisation enquiries, please contact Agri-Science Queensland's Crop and Food Science Unit via the Customer Service Centre.