Genio goes high-tech
Throughout last year, Genio has been actively involved at the Engineering Faculty of the North West University (NWU) in Potchefstroom, South Africa. We employed two Mechanical Engineering students to do research and development (R&D) projects as part of their engineering degrees and we were delighted to receive the destoner and bean conveying protoypes. The destoner made use of sophisticated Computational Flow Dynamic (CFD) analyses and the bean conveying system was based around an Aeromechanical principle. All pretty high-grade stuff! The destoner project even scored in the 85% and above and will be used in Genio’s new coffee bean silo/destoner range.
The CREMA project
But this was all part of a much larger ambition: the CREMA project. The Coffee Roaster Environmental Management and Automation project is a multi-discipline research initiative involving the engineering faculty, the SA National Research Foundation and Genio Intelligent Roasters. It will span over a period of 3 years, involve 10 Masters Degree engineering students and be headed by Neil Maree. Both Chemical, Electrical and Mechanical engineering faculties are employed under the project and the students will be overseen by the expert of Electronic Control Theory at the NWU.
Last week, I had the pleasure of hearing the final outcome of our application: APPROVED! The CREMA project is now official and will kick off this year with the preliminary research in coffee roaster smoke analyses, automation, monitoring and interfacing. The exact details of the project are all still under wraps, but we’ll be following the progress on our blog closely. We will soon set up 2 laboratories where our experiments will be done. Both facilities will feature state-of-the-art testing equipment to develop cutting-edge technology for Genio Roasters
Put that in your pipe and smoke it!
Late last year, in anticipation of the project’s approval, we already signed up 3 more students to take care of the CREMA project’s initial R&D. In the team, we have 2 electronic and computer engineering students and one chemical engineering student. The electronic students will develop our brand new, state-of-the-art automation systems. The chemical engineer’s focus is on finding out exactly what goes on during the roasting process by employing a Mass Spectrometer to analyze the by-products of coffee beans throughout the roasting cycle. His research will form a key part of of the project and will greatly improve our understanding of the roasting process and its by-products.
My very own Masters Degree
Yep, as if there isn’t enough to do when building a business, I have committed to doing my own research under the CREMA project. My thesis will revolve around the thermal energy transfer inside a roasting drum and how we can model, improve and understand it better. The difference will be that, unlike most studies of it’s kind where the outcome is to decrease time or energy input (typical engineers. uugh), my study will be focused on the coffee itself: how do we employ thermal energy transfer, coupled with an improved understanding of all the factors involved (drum design, rotation speed, bean origin etc) to ultimately improve of the sensory profile of the coffee.
I am incredibly fortunate to have 3 senior lecturers and researchers from the University on my side. But more on that later. First I have to read up on a few things (for the next 2 years).