Sunday, June 20, 2010

Here is how Akshaya Patra has innovated in their kitchens for scale.

Akshaya Patra is proud of its modern, high-tech kitchens where food is steam cooked. It has used research and development to make them efficient, while keeping expenditure to the minimum. The food moves via gravity as it gets machine cooked, thus reducing energy requirements. Currently such kitchens are operational in Bangalore and Hubli in Karnataka.

The data below will give and idea of the optimum utilization of resources:

  1. By designing Akshaya Patra kitchens based on Industrial Engineering concepts, the total built-up area of the kitchens decreases, as in the following ways:
    1. Separate area not required for washing vegetables, processing and storing.
    2. The cooking floor area is reduced by optimizing the layout of the placement of the cookers.
    3. By relocating the rice chute and sambar tank, the length of the conveyor is reduced by around 70%.
    4. By relocating the main silo (where all the grains are stored) and day silo (the day requirement of grains) nearer to the gravity floor (2nd floor), a separate space is not required for washing rice and dal and the space required for the movements of the rice and dal is also reduced.

  2. Where possible, light roof is used.
  3. Space requirement for washing utensils is reduced and the main water tank size can also be reduced by using the new Vessel Washing Technique. The advantages of the technique include over 50% saving on water, nearly 40% reduction on manpower, and 30% saving on space while maintaining high hygienic standards and minimizing fatigue, noise and damage.
  4. The simple exhaust fan system would be sufficient in the new kitchen design and it results in at least Rs. 20 Lakhs saving in capital expenditure and less running cost. The cooking floor is designed in such a way that fresh air enters from one side and on another side the exhaust fan is mounted which send out all the exhaust fumes and hot air from the cooking area. So the regular exhaust system (Exhaust hood, ducting and main unit) is eliminated.
  5. The use of the IBR steam boiler reduces the cooking time. Therefore the number of rice and sambar cookers can be reduced for the same cooing time as of the non-IBR steam boiler. This again results in less space requirement on the cooking floor and less maintenance. The overall running cost is reduced by 1/3rd.
  6. Instead of zigzag gravity flow ducting (from 2nd floor to 1st floor cookers), straight telescopic ducting has been used which results in less cost, space saving, convenience of operation and higher hygienic standards.

- Capacity Building, Akshaya Patra Newsletter Vol. 1, Issue 4, Dec 2008

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