Design, development and assessment of a small scale mixer - vacuum coater
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- Master's theses (RealTek) 
In this thesis, a new design for a machine for both mixing and vacuum coating has been evaluated. The idea of the design comes from FôrTek, a research laboratory for the food and feed industry owned by the Norwegian University of Life Sciences. The purpose of the idea is to make a simpler, less complicated product, compared to other similar products on the market. There is a lack of affordable, lab-sized vacuum coaters and mixers in the market, and the prototype designed in this thesis aims to fill this niche. To conduct the evaluation, a prototype has been built mainly using 3D-printed parts of plastic. Each part was first modelled using the CAD software SolidWorks, and designed to fulfil the above-mentioned purpose. Three tests were conducted to evaluate the performance of the prototype: a mixing test, a test of fluid dispersion in mixing, and a test of vacuum coating pellets. The mixing test, which consisted of mixing grain of various size distributions, showed promise with no significant difference between samples taken from different parts of the machine. The test of fluid dispersion in mixing was conducted by spraying a certain amount of water into flour. After the process, the water percentage in the flour was measured in samples from different areas inside the machine. The different samples showed no significant difference from one another and it was thusly concluded that the fluid dispersion in mixing was acceptable. The vacuum coating test were inconclusive, as the prototype and method used was unable to produce a satisfying result upon which to base a conclusion. As the prototype had some flaws regarding its design, recommendation for work on further prototypes has been suggested. Based on numbers from various sources, a cost evaluation of the product was conducted to compare against competitors’ products. The evaluation showed that a finalized product developed from the prototype potentially could be less expensive than similar products. A brief market analysis showed promise for releasing the machine in the market.