Fro-yo gets fruitier — and more efficient

The senior design project makes a fruit-based frozen dessert more efficiently

· April 16, 2014, 5:28 pm   ·  Updated April 17, 2014, 1:57 am

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Five Engineering seniors are developing healthy desserts in a tech savvy way.

The project, FruzenTech, by Engineering seniors Garrett Zwahlen , Jonathan Blutinger , Daniel LaMorte , Josh Raines and Nate Baker , is upgrading a juicer so that there will be a minimum amount of fruit wasted through the manufacturing process.

This device is a senior design project, which Engineering students must complete during their senior year. Seniors choose a challenge that allows them to apply various skills and knowledge they have acquired during their undergraduate years.

The team works with 2012 College graduate Rob Zambito , whose restaurant, Firingi, currently serves Fruzi — a type of fruit soft serve made with 100 percent fruit and no added sugars or dairy. Senior design project teams from Mechanical Engineering are required to have a customer like Zambito as proof that the devices they are creating are useful in real life.

The team is making a juicer that will be used to make Fruzi as efficiently as possible without compromising the ice cream-like texture. “Our goal is to have the exact same texture [as ice cream], but with healthier ingredients,” Baker said.

The team focuses on four different aspects of machine development.

A lot of fruit usually gets caught in the device , but the seniors got rid of unnecessary parts in the machine’s inner cone. They also modified the shape of the press that pushes fruit into the machine to have the same curvature as the cone-shaped tube which receives the fruit. The upper part of the machine, where fruits enter the machine, is another part that creates a lot of waste.

The team attached a pipe to the freezer so that fruit can slide down directly into the machine when the press is lifted. The press is lifted 90 degrees for a specified amount of time so that only the amount of fruit used in one serving of the product enters the machine.

Finally, machine users can easily clean afterwards with a hose that pumps water into the pipe.

The team mainly used mangoes to test their machine because it is one of the toughest fruits and has a lot of fiber to make into ice cream. With some adjustments, the machine can be used to make other desserts as well. For example, it can make smoothies by using warm fruits instead of frozen ones. The team expects the machine to have applications in other restaurants as well.

“[HipCityVeg] uses the same juicer, but we’ve made a product which could potentially be a huge improvement,” Baker added.

The team is planning on providing the actual ice cream during their senior design project final presentation and will sell it for the next few days.

“In the popularity contest, we’d win,” LaMorte said.

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