CTI's Ewing Grinder is designed to be assembled in minutes and can be cleaned equally as quickly. Capable of making peanut butter, cocoa butter, maize or millet flour, and dozens of other products, CTI's multi-crop grinder opens new opportunities to pursue microenterprise for smallholder farmers. Alternative enterprise opportunities are incredibly valuable, allowing families to gain an income, empowering women to participate in economic life, and contributing to food security by increasing incomes and local food production. One of the most frequent requests we get about the grinder is to add solar motorization, increasing the production potential a grinder can give to a smallholder in areas where electricity access is not available.

As part of CTI's human-centered design process, we are committed to only introduce motorization to our tools where it is contexually and culturally appropriate for the farmer and when CTI has fully determined that motorized solutions will be long-lasting and sustainable. As part of this effort, we reached out to the 
University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign's engineering department to assist with preliminary testing. Get an inside peak into the work being done from one of the hard working University of Illinois students, Lydia Tanner.

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Solar Project Update
Hello! My name is Lydia and I’m a member of a Senior Design group from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Within our major, it is required that all students take a course called ABE 469 – Industry-Linked Design Project where we get put into groups and work with an industry partner to get experience working on real-world problems/projects. Me and my four teammates, Hitarth, Shean, Sam, and 
Jeremy, have been working with CTI for the past few months on determining what it would take to solar-power the Ewing VI Grain Grinder.
Students Working in Shop
 
Our progress thus far can be split into three major steps: 
  
1)     Determining the design requirements
2)     Researching parts
3)     Choosing a design

All three of those steps have been completed, and we are now be entering the final two stages of this project (assuming no major unforeseen problems!):

4)     Ordering & assembling parts
5)     Testing & write-up

For now, I’ll be describing the first three steps!


Step 1 – Determining the design requirements
After receiving an Ewing VI Grinder from CTI (thank you, btw!), we needed to test the torque requirements in order to spec for parts. To do this, we had a wrench socket built on to the grinder’s shaft so that we could use a torque wrench to perform the grinding. We sourced dent corn locally (a tougher grain than what the grinder is typically used for, which we were informed was pearl millet) in order to determine the higher range of torque required to start the grinding motion. We also tested the torque requirements of soft red winter wheat to be safe. The maximum torque we measured was 25.2 N-m.



Step 2 – Researching parts
So from the first step, we determined that the torque requirement we would need to spec for was 25.2 N-m. From CTI we already knew that the maximum RPM the grinder could handle before incurring damage was 300. In addition, we knew that the shaft diameter of the grinder was 20 mm. And so at this point we started looking for parts that could connect to the shaft and could meet those requirements. This research led to two designs, which I will describe in Step
3. But first, I’d like to address a couple of questions that may have come up at this point in our process.


Why did we test for torque rather than power requirements? We thought torque was the more important requirement, since it more accurately reflects the initial movement of the grinding motion. Power is a function of both torque and RPM, and thus is a measurement that takes place over a period of time. Torque, however, is the force applied on a moment arm (a distance), and thus can be considered an instantaneous measurement, if you will. To motorize the grinder, we need one that can overcome the initial, instantaneous torque. Once the grinding has started, the torque requirement decreases, which is more in-line with a power measurement.

Why does the shaft diameter of the grinder matter? The grinder shaft has to be connected in some way to the rest of our design in order to motorize the grind. Some difficulty we encountered here though is that the shaft diameter is in the SI Unit system, while most of the parts we could realistically order within a certain time-frame are all in the American-adopted English Unit system.


Step 3 – Choosing a design
As stated earlier, we came up with two designs to choose from. Below are images from one of our class presentations that depict them.

Design1

Our first design prioritizes safety (since all the parts would be self-contained, thus minimizing the exposure of moving parts to the user) and ease of assembly (since everything is attached in a linear fashion, mounted onto a single base in order). However, the parts are more expensive overall due to the gear box (also known as a speed reducer). The cheapest we found, which did not provide an adequate output torque for our design anyways, was too expensive. In addition, the gear box we did end up finding required ¼ hp input, which required a motor that needed a 24 V input, thus increasing the solar panel requirements from our initial 12 V estimate.

 Design2

The second design, based off the motorization manual we received from CTI, is essentially the exact same thing except instead of a gear box we would be using two gears and a chain to reduce the motor’s RPM and increase its torque, but potentially lead to more slippage of the chain. However, this design is less expensive and the calculated output torque (maximum) and RPMs are more desirable. In addition, the motor requires the desired 12 V.



Design #1

Design #2

Output Torque

33.331 N-m

39.94 N-m

Output RPM

~49 RPM

~180 RPM



After a meeting with Don & Vern, we decided on Design #2 and began ordering parts.


What now?
So that was steps 1-3, and now we are moving on to 4 & 5. We’ve already have our motor, gears, and chain, and are waiting on a bushing in order to fit our gear onto the grinder’s shaft. Researching batteries and consulting professors is still underway, but we hope to order the remaining parts soon and have our assembly complete in the coming weeks, fingers crossed!


Kind regards,
Team Rise N’ Grind 
 Rise and Grind Team Logo





















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"Team Rise n' Grind"
From Left to Right: Hitarth Patel, Shean Lin, Samuel Sung, Jeremy Martin, and Lydia Tanner
From Left to Right: Hitarth Patel, Shean Lin, Samuel Sung, Jeremy Martin, and Lydia Tanner

 
Published in Grinder

What would you do if you were on your own, with six kids to care for, and fighting for your life?

If you’re like Joyce, you get to work.

A few years ago, Joyce was in bad shape. Like 10% of Malawians, Joyce had HIV. Her weight had dropped to 85 pounds and no one expected her to live much longer. But she was a fighter. Joyce and others with HIV in her community began growing peanuts. They got their hands on a CTI grinder and started making peanut butter. Before long, everything changed.

Eating peanut butter helped Joyce and her friends gain weight. With better nutrition, their HIV medication started to kick in. Now Joyce is strong, healthy, and is selling peanut butter to help put her kids through school.

“Since this grinder was introduced to me, I have seen a big change in my health. Even my children cannot believe how much my health has changed,” said Joyce. "People can’t believe that I have HIV.” ” 

This project was made possible by the suport of Earthen Vessels, click here to learn more. 

Published in blog

VEDemonstration

Villagers in rural Uganda are becoming small business owners as a result of a partnership between CTI and Village Enterprise (VE), a nonprofit that provides business skills training and support to entrepreneurs in some of the poorest regions of East Africa — in rural communities rarely served by microfinance groups.

In Uganda, VE distributes our grinders to small business groups, providing the groups with training and mentoring in business skills, savings and financial literacy. Recognizing that locals know their communities best, VE encourages the groups to develop their own business ideas. By empowering hard-working villagers with tools, training and support, the collaboration is helping those living in some of the world’s most underserved communities become thriving entrepreneurs.

 

Published in Grinder

In the months following the tragic earthquake in January 2010, CTI began collaborating with organizations working in rural Haiti. Though the earthquake was devastating to Port-au-Prince, communities outside of the capital city were struggling to find food and employment for their current residents, let alone the influx of refugees displaced from the earthquake.

Using donations from several organizations, the Haitian Health Foundation (HHF) began purchasing grinders to help families near Jeremie, Haiti support themselves. The grinders, in the words of Bette Gebrian, HHF Director of Public Health: “are making such a profound difference…”

Funds for grinders were donated by many supporters, including several rotary clubs. With help from members of the Jeremie Rotary, Mme Josie Charles has built a business using a CTI grinder to make and sell peanut butter and a warm corn-based drink called Akasan. Mme Charles cooks the Akasan by 6am and sells it all by 8am, so children can drink it on their way to school. The small enterprise has been very successful.

The Haitian Health Foundation has distributed more than 20 grinders which are being used to create micro-enterprises. 17 more grinders will be shipped to HHF in late January, 2012.

 

Published in Uncategorized

For nearly 30 years, CTI has worked with volunteer engineers and scientists in heart of the Midwest United States’ agricultural belt to create food and water technologies that relieve hunger and poverty in the developing world. With the help of supporters and partners around the globe, we are providing meaningful and lasting solutions for “the bottom billion.”

Innovation that can feed the world: Many African pearl millet farmers struggle to produce enough food to make a living, yet they lose about half of their harvest using rudimentary processing tools.To develop innovative new equipment for processing pearl millet, one of the most widely eaten cereal crops in the developing world, we collaborated with volunteer scientists and engineers from the USDA, ICRISAT, and the OneLab Initiative. The result has been a breakthrough technology: the first successful hand-operated tools for threshing and winnowing the pearl millet. The set of devices can capture 90% of a farmer’s grain, potentially doubling the pearl millet food supply in some of the most famine-prone regions of the world.

“Sometimes providing a simple service like a grinder can transform a community”  – Curtis Rogers, NWHCM Community Development Coordinator

Partnering to deliver solutions for the “Bottom Billion”: After the devastating earthquake hit Haiti, CTI’s generous donors provided grinders to help feed and employ Haitians. Since then, we have been helping Feed My Starving Children distribute grinders to their partner feeding sites throughout Haiti. At Northwest Haiti Christian Mission, CTI grinders have been made available to people in a number of towns, freeing them from a two to three hour walk to the nearest commercial miller. With grinders centrally located throughout Haiti, community members have an opportunity to produce nutritious food for their family or start businesses.

Engaging communities Development can only be sustainable with the participation of local communities. CTI’s culturally appropriate solutions empower locals to take ownership of their future. In Nicaragua, where less than half the people have access to clean drinking water, we’ve engaged community water groups to help install and maintain dozens of water chlorination devices in rural communities. By working together, CTI and rural Nicaraguans are providing clean drinking water for dozens of communities.

Without the support of CTI’s skilled volunteers and generous donors, thousands of families in rural Nicaragua would be without clean drinking water and farmers in Mali will continue to lose half of their livelihoods for lack of simple tools. Together, community by community, we can end extreme hunger and poverty!

Published in Haiti

We’re excited to announce that a new video covering CTI’s partnership with Meds and Food for Kids in Haiti is online!

Spare six minutes for this one; you won’t regret it. View the video here! 

 

Published in Grinder

CTI volunteers Ed Galle and Dick Fulmer recently returned from a trip to Ghana and Liberia where they worked with several collaborators to conduct extensive grinder training for 25 trainers on the use of the Omega VI (photo), demonstrate the processing of moringa leaf powder and peanut butter, and present CTI’s hand-held corn sheller and the wooden grinder.

President of the Moringa Association of Ghana and friend of CTI, Mozart Adevu, worked with Dick and Ed while they were in Africa, and attested to the quality of the Omega VI for moringa production in his recent newsletter.

“Ed Galle and Dick Fulmer, volunteers of CTI, joined me to travel to Liberia between March 28 and April 4. We conducted 6 demonstrations in 6 separate locations in two Counties, Nimba and Montserrado for over 260 farmers. The enthusiasm during the demonstrations was overwhelming and the farmers and communities indicated the opportunity as a great blessing for them. The situation during some demonstrations are likened to Acts 3:8 as the farmers jumped with joy and praised God with the excitement of the “miracle” of the new possibility for them to mill their products at such a fast rate. They considered this as great “healing” of their situation and prayed to God to sustain the lives of those who help them in such “wondrous” ways. We made the demonstration sessions very practical and participatory. The farmers, especially women, took turns to try their hands on the Omega VI grinder and it was great fun! When some quantity of powder was produced, the participants applauded their efforts and were amazed at the fine and smooth nature of final product…

I will also share these experiences with other countries during my trips and hopefully [the United Methodist Committee on Relief] and CTI could begin a good collaboration to explore the possibility of support for food processing in other countries too.”

Published in West Africa
Tuesday, 16 December 2008

Iringa (Tanzania) Festival

In the recent past, one of the main destinations of our Omega VI grinder has been the Iringa area of Tanzania. The conduit for this distribution has been the St. Paul Area Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America. In the past two years over 20 Omegas have been hand carried to Iringa by this group of dedicated missionaries. Most recently, a group from Our Saviour’s Lutheran in Hastings, MN took seven Omegas for distribution to various preaching points in the region.

On Saturday, November 1st, 2008, the St. Paul Area Synod held an Iringa Festival which brought together the Synod leadership on this project together with the Bishop from Iringa and his leaders. CTI was pleased to support this Festival with an informational booth. We premiered the new video, “This is CTI,” along with grinding demonstrations and other displays. CTI was ably represented by volunteers Jim Sentz, Ralph Thrane and Board member Kathy Junek.

Despite a busy schedule of events, CTI was able to renew many previous associations and to make new contacts. The telling of the CTI story was a key component of our presentations. For those who had heard it before, it reinforced our message; for those hearing it for the first time, we were able to spark an understanding of CTI’s mission and how it meshed with that of the St. Paul Area Synod’s.

Published in East Africa
Sunday, 16 November 2008

CTI Volunteer Visits Malawi

Over the past two years the Northwest Wisconsin Synod of the ELCA, in conjunction with the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Malawi (ELCM), has shipped over 30 Omega VI grinders to Malawi. During the month of August, CTI volunteer Hans Zoerb visited Malawi to evaluate the impact that these grinders were having on the lives of those who were being served.

Hans reports that the distribution of the grinders is under the supervision of a nutritionist employed by the Lutheran Development Services of Malawi (LDSM). The primary emphasis of the LDSM is food security.  More specifically, their emphasis is on maximizing commodity production, storage, and conversion to value added food, food products and food ingredients. Since conversion is part of CTI’s core competency, this objective fits well with CTI. The LDSM is very interested in the grinders and supports the training and use of the machines for the production of peanut butter and flours from soy and maize. They also support the use of these machines in emerging micro businesses based at the village level.

The ELCM has placed a very high priority on organizing and developing successful women’s enterprise groups at the village level in order to: elevate the role of women in their societies, make women more effective in combating hunger, and recognizing women as a point of introduction of new ideas and techniques to the communities. The added importance of women’s groups in villages is their connection to the feeding centers. In many of these villages, peanut butter is the primary product because the Omega grinder can produce relatively large quantities of product.  Ground, roasted soy was also a significant part of their production. Both peanut butter and roasted soy bean flour are packaged and sold in 250 gram jars; or, in the case of the feeding stations, carried home by the children.

The program has been so successful that the ELCM is targeting to introduce an additional 15 grinders in the near future so that every outreach point will have their own grinder.

Published in East Africa
Monday, 13 August 2007

Wooden Body for Omega Grinder?

The genius of George Ewing strikes again! In response to a discussion on how we might reduce the manufacturing and shipping costs of our Omega grinders, George offered to make a wooden grinder. And, voilá! George made this model out of oak with metal tubing for the throat of the grinder. Otherwise the body, front plate and yoke all are made of wood in place of machined aluminium castings. Although we don't have production costs for the "Woody" as yet, we believe that as much as $125 could be removed from the inventoried cost. Additionally, because the product could be shipped disassembled, some savings could be realized in the shipping.

There is also the possibility of just shipping the metal components, i.e., shaft, helix, burrs, bearings and metal throat and allowing local artisans to make their own wooden part.So many options! A few Board members are also approaching IKEA to see if there is a fit with their philanthropic outreach and/or utilizing their supply chain to make and package the parts for us. We will report more on this exciting development as it develops. In the mean time, George, thank you once again!

Published in Uncategorized
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