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Development Of A Crawfish Processing Machine In A Capstone Design Course

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2001 Annual Conference


Albuquerque, New Mexico

Publication Date

June 24, 2001

Start Date

June 24, 2001

End Date

June 27, 2001



Page Count


Page Numbers

6.367.1 - 6.367.8



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Paper Authors

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Michael Larson

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Melanie Landry

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Donal Collins

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session 2793

Development of a Crawfish Processing Machine in a Capstone Design Course

Michael Larson, Donal Collins, Melanie Landry

Department of Mechanical Engineering, Tulane University, LA 70118


This paper describes how an entrepreneurial focus can be brought to a capstone design course in mechanical engineering. During the 2000-2001 academic year, senior undergraduates in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Tulane University were divided into teams to prototype, test, refine and manufacture a new product under the direction of faculty and graduate students who created the concept of an industrial-scale crawfish peeling machine. The graduate students and undergraduates worked together to employ a structured design methodology in a course which satisfies many of the ABET 2000 objectives and gives the students a window on the process of developing intellectual property and bringing it to the marketplace.

I. Introduction

The motivation behind this design effort is a direct result of Louisiana losing its position as the leading producer of crawfish tailmeat. While thousands of people still work in the state to produce millions of pounds of tailmeat, recent years have seen a less expensive Chinese product being imported into the U.S. resulting in a loss of market share and jobs for Louisiana companies. This project seeks to design machinery to aid producers in becoming internationally competitive once again. Mechanizing the industry represents a significant innovation over the present hand-peeling done by processors -- no machinery is currently used to facilitate tailmeat removal due to a lack of industrially suitable designs.

The Chinese processors are able to sell a high-quality product at much lower prices. (In May of 1997, a tariff was placed on Chinese crawfish products because of unfair trade practices. Application of the "Anti-dumping" law has raised the price of the Chinese product almost to the $6 to $9 per pound price range that Louisiana processors typically charge [4]. Before passing of this tariff, Chinese tailmeat sold for $3 to $6 per pound, a dramatic discount compared to Louisiana products. Simply examining the labels that are printed on the tailmeat product sold in the local New Orleans grocery stores reveals that many still opt to sell only the Chinese products due to the cost differential, even since passage of the tariff. " Proceedings of the 2001 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright 2001, American Society for Engineering Education"

Larson, M., & Landry, M., & Collins, D. (2001, June), Development Of A Crawfish Processing Machine In A Capstone Design Course Paper presented at 2001 Annual Conference, Albuquerque, New Mexico. 10.18260/1-2--9118

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