Harvesting fruits using a mobile platform: A case study applied to citrus.

Marcos David Ferreira, Augusto Cesar Sanchez, Oscar Antonio Braunbeck, Eduardo Aparecido Santos

Resumo


Harvesting fruits and vegetables for the fresh market and processing industry has been a challenge. Mobile platforms for harvesting vegetables and fruits have been used, but some limitations have been pointed out, such as their applicability for a certain time of the year and for a specific crop. A mobile platform was initially developed for harvesting fresh market tomatoes, mainly staked in Brazil. However, after field trials, many problems were identified, such as crop use limitation and machine structure problems. Therefore, the initial project was reformulated through wheels that move independently, to allow the equipment to spin on its own axis and assume different functions, with a retractable and smaller frame than the previous version and the possibility of adding on other devices, expanding crop harvest and farm use. The concept of a hybrid vehicle with one electric power generator to drive all four wheels with electric motors was kept. The main goal of this article is to describe the development of the mobile platform machine showing previous studies to approach the final concept, structural details and integration of the electrical, hydraulic, and mechanical project and field tests performed in a commercial orange orchard, comparing harvest types, evaluating yield and machine performance. Tests with the mobile laboratory prototype show its potential application to assisted harvest and to other farm operations, especially due to its mobility. Harvest productivity through machine was higher, though not significantly different from manual harvest.

Palavras-chave


fruits and vegetables, harvesting aid, hybrid vehicle, multiuse



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