With the huge scale of the mango industry in the Philippines comes a significant health risk. The country produces more than one million tonnes of mangoes each year and supports 2.5 million farmers – but the harvesting technique only uses around half of the fruit, leaving huge amounts of waste to rot in dumpsites.
Not only does the discarded waste cause unpleasant odours, it also promotes the spread of potentially hazardous substances which risk the health of people in the local community, many of whom scavenge in the area.
Our Centre for Flow Measurement and Fluid Mechanics researchers are working with production companies and colleagues at the University of San Carlo to help implement a solution which removes these health risks by eliminating almost all waste vegetation from the process. By using a drying technique, factories are able to turn virtually all of the plant waste into products such as mango flour and mango tea. This frees up dumpsites of hazardous material and has the added effect of generating more business for communities.
The team at Coventry has now helped to streamline and automate this drying process by introducing a full end-to-end environmental monitoring system based on wireless sensor networks. The system can target temperature, humidity and air flow in the factory drying tunnel, making the whole process completely automated and more efficient.
In the past 12 months the system has already yielded impressive results, creating an up-skilled workforce and allowing business to grow at the factory. Researchers can now use the data gathered by the networks to understand the process and produce even more effective technologies for the future.