by Rita T. dela Cruz
Everyone wants an easy life. In business, easy life means less work, without compensating profit. In the fish smoking business, it means less procedure but still yielding greater and quality output.
This is exactly the driving force behind the fabrication of a 4-in-1 portable smokehouse device, the latest in fish smoking technology developed by Zaldy A. Fernandez of the College of Industrial Technology, Mariano Marcos State University (MMSU) Laoag City campus. He previously fabricated a multi-purpose, portable smokehouse device (MPPSHD) in 2003, which also gathered interest among stakeholders in the fish smoking industry, both smallhold and big time.
The main features
As the name implies, the newly-developed device is a 4-in-1 smokehouse that carries on the four major processes in smoking fish: marinating, boiling, drying, and smoking. With this one machine, all these four processes can be done in one major sweep without the hassle of going from one machine to another.
The 4-in-one smokehouse is like an elongated box with an upright oven-like feature in the middle. It consists of three major features which are collapsible for mobility. These include: marinating chamber, boiling chamber, and the drying-smoking chamber. As a device, it has four main features: the boiler, trays and body, marinating chamber, and fuel chamber.
How does this 4-in-1 smokehouse processor differ from other conventional types of smoking devices like the Pangasinan stove, the pilon type, the drum type, the smoking pot, the batya for marinating, the boiler developed by the Department of Science and Technology (DOST), the pugon type, or the MPPSHD?
Simply, this new 4-in-1 portable smokehouse device carries all these features, from the old-fashioned batya type of marinating to the pugon type of smoking fish. The new device is a shortened version of all the former models.
The feasibility and portability features of this 4-in-1 smokehouse processor was determined following five efficiency measures: 1) cost of production, 2) fuel consumption, 3) rate of production, 4) quality of the product, and 5) convenience in operating the device.
The device was tested using two fish product samples: 30 and 9 kg of baraniti (Caesio caerulaurea) and bangus (Chanus chanus). For fuel, the following were used: combination of charcoal, sawdust, and guava leaves.
In terms of marinating, boiling, drying, and smoking, result of the test showed a performance average mean of 3.81 for the machine which according to the statistical treatment used, falls on a very satisfactory performance level.
The total expense incurred in the fabrication of this 4-in-1 portable smoke processor is P21, 027.60. Distribution of expenses included: materials (P15,526.00), electric power (P412.60), water (P82.00), labor, 30% of material cost (P4,657.00), and travel (P350.00).
The sensory and quality evaluation of the smoked baraniti and bangus was measured in terms of color, texture, aroma, and taste. For the smoked baraniti, the overall sensory evaluation showed a highly acceptable product. It was acceptable in terms of texture and taste and highly acceptable in terms of aroma and color.
Convenience in operating
Physically, the 4-in-1 smokehouse processor has more added features, it is bulkier than the MPPSHD but since its main feature is its collapsibility, it is portable and can be moved from one place to another. The device weighs about 70 kgs which can be easily handled by one to two persons.
Fuel can be easily loaded or unloaded because of the sliding fuel and ash basin which are included in its main features. Fuel can be easily ignited through disposable or recycled papers at a maximum of four minutes. When the fire starts, it requires lesser attention and management since it already has a built-in ventilation system duct. Moreover, the 4-in-1, as the evaluation showed, is economical in terms of fuel consumption.
For easy monitoring during the smoking process, the door of the drying-smoking chamber is made of transparent glass. Likewise, the device has a built-in temperature reading indicator and a controller. It has a throttle valve which is mechanically operated for heat operation and a built-in multi-purpose boiling chamber.
During the testing, two main problems were encountered: fuel continuity and smoke exhaust that inconvenienced the operator. However, these problems were easily solved. According to Mr. Fernandez, extra sets of bamboo trays used another form for the continuous and everyday operation of the smokehouse processor. Meanwhile, a collapsible smoke chimney was fabricated as an extension to the present chimney to serve as exhaust for the smoke coming out of the drying-smoking chamber. This was also used to reroute the exhaust of smoke.
When the inventor was asked the other great things about his invention, he said that aside from its complete features, this smokehouse processor is good for different production sizes: family-size, medium-size, and even for large-production size.
This article was based on the study, “Multi-Purpose Portable Smoke Bin for Smoking and Drying Fish and Other Products” by Zaldy A. Fernandez of the College of Industrial Technology-Mariano Marcos State University (MMSU), Laoag City 2900. This paper won the AFMA R&D Paper (technology generated category) during the recently held 18th BAR National Research Symposium.
For more information, please contact him at 0918- 4229357 or e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org