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Simulation of Automatic Output Operations for Rice Seedlings

Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan

Citation:  Paper number  023102,  2002 ASAE Annual Meeting . (doi: 10.13031/2013.10565) @2002
Authors:   Yi-Chich Chiu, Din-Sue Fon, Gang-Jhy Wu
Keywords:   Rice seedling, Automatic output operations, Simulation

About 72,600 rice seedlings were needed for rice cultivation in Taiwan. Among many rice seedling production operations, the seedling output operation is heavily labor concentrated one. A new automatic rice seedling inputting and output system was developed to automatize the rice seedling inputting and output operations. The newly developed system was modified and integrated from several previously developed operational units, the seedling-tray loading and unloading unit (the loading and unloading unit), the transportation units, the seedling-mat rolling unit (the rolling unit), the seedling-mat collecting and relocating unit (the collecting and relocating unit), and the stacking unit. The operational speed of individual unit and the collaboration among these units proved to be important factors that affected the operational efficiency of the system.

Computer simulation models with animation displaying module were developed to conduct computer simulation analysis on rice seedling output operations while newly developed system was employed. Using the simulation models and the animation displaying module, the working efficiency and the system throughput under various operational conditions were studied and observed. An optimum operational pattern was then identified. Simulation analysis results indicated that with current equipments and operational parameters setting, the averaged system throughput per hour would be773.3 trays. The utilization rate of the loading and unloading unit, the rolling unit, and the relocating unit was 85%, 67%, 62%, respectively. The employment rate of seedling-tray stacking workers was 40%. The length of working row (row length) and the operation speed collaboration among units were found to significantly affected the system throughput. System throughput was found to be in proportion to the row length. Maximum system throughput of 1287.6 trays/h could be achieved by setting the row length to be 30 m (50 seedling-trays in one row), with the seedling-tray up-loading speed set at 0.3 m/s, the transverse conveyor speed, the horizontal conveyor speed and the returning speed of loading and unloading unit (the returning speed) all set at 0.46 m/s, the seedling-mat rolling speed (the rolling speed) set at 5.5 s/tray, the seedling- mat gripping speed (the gripping speed) set at 2.3 s/tray. Under this optimum operational parameters setting, the utilization rate of the loading and unloading unit, the rolling unit, and the relocating unit was 86%, 64.9%, 81.3%, respectively. The employment rate of seedling-tray stacking workers was 65.2%.

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