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Performance Evaluation of Mechanical Cherry Harvesters for Fresh Market Grade Fruits

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

Citation:  Applied Engineering in Agriculture. 28(4): 483-489. (doi: 10.13031/2013.42077) @2012
Authors:   D. Chen, X. Du, Q. Zhang, M. Whiting, P. Scharf, S. Wang
Keywords:   Mechanical harvest, Vibration, Efficiency, Prunus avium, Fruit quality

Rising harvest costs and looming labor shortages are threatening profitability in the sweet cherry (Prunus avium L.) industry. The current study obtained baseline data on performance and efficiency for potential mechanical or mechanically-assisted systems for improving harvest efficiency of fresh market grade sweet cherries. We compared a prototype system that detaches fruit using impact force, with a system that detaches fruit using vibration, through a series of excited vibration tests. A group of single axial accelerometers were installed at different locations in sweet cherry trees to record the acceleration in response to applied force. From field experiments with accelerometers and assessment of fruit removal, we found that energy transmission along the woody structure differed with different excitation modes. The vibratory shaker resulted in higher efficiency of fruit removal and less fruit damage compared with impact harvester. Obtained results provide some critical information required for designing a more effective mechanical harvester with better produce quality.

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