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Robotic Transplanting of Bedding Plants

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

Citation:  Transactions of the ASAE. 30 (3): 0586-0590. (doi: 10.13031/2013.30443) @1987
Authors:   L. J. Kutz, G. E. Miles, P. A. Hammer, G. W. Krutz

ABSTRACT THE feasibility of using a robot to transplant bedding plants was studied using computer graphics and simulation, followed by validation and testing with a Puma 560 robot. A computer-aided design (CAD) system was first used to create graphical models of a 392-cell plug flat and 36-cell growing flat, which are plastic trays used to germinate and grow bedding plants in commercial greenhouses. The robot simulation software package modeled the Puma 560, and determined possible locations of the plug and growing flats relative to the robot. This information was used to model four different work cell configurations. Two simulation studies were conducted to obtain estimates of the cycle time required to transplant seedlings from the plug flat to the growing flat with the robot. The robot control program generated off-line on the CAD system was downloaded to a Puma 560 controller, and the robot was used to validate the simulations. Simulated cycle times correlated within 10 percent of times measured using the actual robot. A specialized robot seedling gripper designed on the CAD system was built and tested. After refinements to the control program, the robot transplanted 96% of the seedlings with no damage to the plants. The average cycle time to transplant one 36-cell growing flat was 3.3 min.

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