The almojábanas of La Paz are a tradition that dates back about 130 years and on which several generations have based their livelihood. One way to boost its production would be through the use of conveyor belts that allow automation from its preparation to packaging. Three young people from the National University of Colombia (UNAL) created a low-cost band prototype.
Using pieces of triplex, small tubes, ice cream sticks, gears, a motor, a battery, a switch, and an Arduino system or microcontroller, among other low-cost, easily-acquired materials in the region, the prototype of a tape was made. conveyor.
Its creators are Euler Yohan Paez Riobo, Edwin Daniel Tattis Machado, Luis Felipe Cujia Vizcaino, Mechatronics Engineering students at UNAL La Paz Campus, who were motivated by the idea of developing a tool that would facilitate the transport of small materials.
“Conveyor belts are a system that is widely used in industry and in many other sectors for the continuous transport of granulated materials, such as cereals, coal, minerals, earth, among others,” says the student Paez Riobo.
The Mechatronic Engineering students point out that, “increasingly the transport and transfer of materials is an important factor to take into account in the economic profitability of any activity, be it industrial, mining, food or agricultural”.
For his part, the student Cujia Vizcaino, indicates that “conveyor belts are an essential tool, not only to increase the safety of employees but also to reduce errors in the development of activities, improve productivity, facilitate the fulfillment of goals and objectives previously raised, contributing to ideal results for the growth of companies, especially micro and small companies”.
In this regard, the professor of Engineering, Juan Vaca González, noted that conveyor belts are the main component of many automated industrial processes. They allow an object to go through different processes until it reaches its final form.
Other benefits of the prototype are: serve as a fast and effective transport of small objects such as gears, servomotors and more electronic parts. It can work in conjunction with a robotic arm, which would make it more practical.
For its operation it has a switch adapted to a battery that moves the gears and the latter drive the belt. In addition, it can be used repeatedly because the parts can be made or renewed.
The prototype was also intended for a local context. The almojábanas from the municipality of La Paz are a representative food of the region, where the economic income of several families depends on their production.
According to the teacher, if you wanted to promote the mass production of this food, one way to do it would be through automation, a strategy in which the use of conveyor belts would be essential.
“With them you can move the raw materials with which this food is made, for example flour, sugar or eggs; once they are prepared, another process that could be automated is packaging”, indicates the teacher.
Currently, “several processes in the local industry are done manually, so an innovation such as the conveyor belt would represent an opportunity to streamline production processes, reducing time and costs,” concludes Professor Vaca González.