Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Tabletop coconut grater by Venkataraman Uapdhya

I had written about Venkataramana Upadhya's tender coconut opener few years ago. Recently learnt that the innovation is now being mass produced by a Coimbatore based manufacturer and is available in open market for Rs 150

Recently I also wrote about various innovative rat traps devised by Mr Upadhya

In this post, I am introducing another of his innovation- table top Coconut grater. Before we go into the device, be advised- if you've never worked on a coconut piece to extract its contents, you won't be able to appreciate this device much. Coconut is a must have item in almost all south Indian kitchens, as most of our food materials need a bit of coconut to optimize taste

Most of the traditional coconut grating devices involved sitting on them and scrapping the coconut against the blade. While it has its merits, it didn't really suit the modern kitchen where everything is done standing. Some brands of grinders do come with a tool to grate coconut- this is handy but one needs to hold the coconut tight against the powerful motor.

Mr Upadhya has devised a simple tool to make coconut grating easier. What you're seeing below is his innovation, table top coconut grater. It has got two legs, rear one with a grooved rubber padding. This leg is to be positioned at the edge of the table and thanks to the edgy rubber pad, the grip is phenomenal. One should put their hand near the front leg and scrape the inside of coconut against the tool.
I happened to meet him at his shop in Saligrama, Udupi district and sharing in this post a few interesting pieces of information related to his work 

Before finalizing on plastic moulds for his tool, Mr. Upadhya experimented with other possible raw materials- steel and wood.

The wooden version, though seems simpler, is a fairly complicated one to make. It has a total of 21 holes in it to hold all the components together. (Only 5 are visible clearly in below image, try to guess the rest)

Initially nails were used to hold the rubber against the wood, in addition to adhesive. Eventually Mr Upadhya realized that adhesive (Fevibond) is extremely strong and additional nails are not required. Holding these wooden pieces in a vice (if not clamped in a vice, wood may crack while drilling holes or punching screws) and shaping them is a laborious task. Wood as a raw material is also expensive. It is difficult to get consistent supply of good quality wood. 
The other material was steel. Couple of pieces well affixed and the blade affixed. To cut the steel raw materials into the desired shape, Mr Upadhya had to take help from nearby factory owners, how had devices to cut steel. But substandard quality of work puts off Mr Upadhya

Eventually Mr Upadhya settled for plastic as primary material for his grater. Plastic shapes are economic to mass produce and are highly durable and lighter too. However, Mr Upadhya is NOT into mass production. When asked why he didn't think of building a small factory, he said his focus is on innovation and not money making. If a factory is built focus gets diverted to money making and profitability, leaving very little time for creativity. Because of this, Mr Upadhya wishes to join hands with anyone willing to mass produce and market his ideas.
I enjoyed few moments spent with him in his workshop. I'd almost forgotten all my mechanical engineering learning, as I never got to put them to use over past eight years working in IT industry. Upadhya's simple thinkings and ideas can enlighten any engineering student.

Below: Mr Upadhya's small workshop where his ideas take shape.

I wish him all the success.

Similar: Tender coconut in Thailand * Branding tender coconut


Anu Menon said...

This is awesome! I would love to give his inventions a try in my kitchen!

Manthan Maiya Paramapalli said...

HI ,
I was very much pleased to see this post. I am a native of Saligrama and used to visit his shop since childhood with my father. I do follow your blog regularly.He is is an upright person with no scope for nonsense.

Shrinidhi Hande said...

Next time when you're in India, we'll see if we can work out anything

Thanks for your words

prasad np said...

Very interesting innovation, I am sure it can be used in millions of kitchens.

Kebhari said...

Nice picture . BEAUTIFUL..........

Shrinidhi Hande said...

Thanks Kebhari

subbanna said...

Small correction to " Tabletop Tender coconut grater by Venkataraman Uapdhya ". This is coconut grater though can be used with tender coconuts too.

subbanna said...

This product is "Table top coconut grater" with which tender coconut too can be handled

Pratima Shenoy said...

I want to buy these.. Can you please tell is it possible to order it through phone call.

Shrinidhi Hande said...

@Pratima- not sure. If you have anyone passing through Saligrama may be they can stop at the store and pickup one.

@Subbanna- how to use this on tender coconut? To extract the meat part?

AND said...

Will you pleaae the address and contact no. of the shop. I will tell my friend to collect the same.Thanks Nitin Deshpande Pune. Maharashtra..

Shrinidhi Hande said...

His shop is well known in Saligrama town,just a few meters from the spot where buses stop, off NH 66 (formerly NH 77).

Your friend can stop at Saligrama bus stand and check with anyone for Mantap stores...