Peanuts are approximately 40% moisture content when initially dug from the ground and inverted in windrows. They are threshed and harvested after the moisture content has fallen below 20%. Curing continues by forcing heated air through the peanuts in wagons or semi-trailers equipped with a false floor and usually occurs at a facility curing between 50 and 200 individual loads at the same time.
Engineers are conducting small scale research investigating dryer control methods to reduce curing time and energy requirements.
Computer software (Expert Systems) developed by engineers at NPRL aids personnel in managing the commercial curing operation by predicting drying time, suggesting sampling schedules, and providing real time estimates of moisture content. The software also maintains a database of all peanuts cured at the facility for future operation management. PECMAN is available for download and installation at no cost.
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