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Study on an Automatic Packing System for Strawberries

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

Citation:  Applied Engineering in Agriculture. 28(4): 593-601. (doi: 10.13031/2013.42074) @2012
Authors:   S. Yamamoto, Y. Ochiai, S. Saito, S. Hayashi
Keywords:   Strawberry, Packing, Machine vision, Soft handling

To reduce the labor involved in strawberry production in Japan, we have developed an automatic packing system for strawberries that packs the fruits methodically in returnable trays or in single-layer trays. The system comprises a supply unit and a packing unit. Each unit has machine vision system, a manipulator, and a suction hand that are operated in parallel. The supply unit is in charge of detecting a fruit in a random posture in a harvesting container, picking it up, and gently placing it on the conveyer. The packing unit then locates the orientation and the position of the supplied fruit on the conveyer, grades it according to its estimated weight, picks it up, and places it in the shipping tray. Performance tests in a production area showed the task success rate of the automatic packing system to be 97.3%, with a process time per fruit of 7.3 s. Matching the rates of manual grading and by machine vision system, however, showed variation from 59.0% to 85.2% depending on grade, while the estimation error of fruit weight ranged from -1.9 g to

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