In ginger-processing, the equipment for enhancing ease of moisture loss during drying is the most critical machine in its processing into various products (Onu, 1997). These pre-drying operations also have several limitations. Flavour components of ginger are concentrated just below the peel hence great losses are encountered in the peeling
A new pre-drying processing technique – pricking, provides an improved alternative, which effectively resolves the challenges posed by splitting - due to material loss; essential oil and oleoresin losses - due to peeling, and energy and time waste - due to whole drying. Pricking is a new processing technique which involves the piercing of ginger rhizomes with cylindrical metal objects to improve moisture loss during drying. Okafor et al., (2007), showed that pricking technique produces an appealing colour that is superior to colour of dried ginger products processed employing other pre-drying techniques, with up to 50% reduction in drying time.
Peeling and slicing operations, are very tedious, time consuming and unhygienic (Onu, 1997), just like manual pricking operation. According to FAO (2007) manual processing is usually unhygienic, due to direct contact of product with handlers and time consuming, and often results in poor quality products due to under drying and mould growth. To overcome these challenges, mechanization of ginger processing, especially pre-drying treatment is necessary.
The basic unit components of the pricking machine include the loading chamber made of stainless steel metal sheet. The pricking unit was made up of stainless steel metal rods. These rods were assembled in a 203 x 164 mm rectangular metal sheet. The weights of ginger rhizomes before and after manual or machine pricking were not significantly (p>0.05) different from each other.