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Cutting component development for a lettuce harvester

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

Citation:  Paper number  131632613,  2013 Kansas City, Missouri, July 21 - July 24, 2013. (doi: @2013
Authors:   Nang Van Nguyen, Suguru Yamane
Keywords:   Lettuce harvester cutting component reciprocating cutting resistance cutting power requirement.

Abstract. The harvesting of lettuce in Japan totally involves the manual removal of produce from the field using a sharp cutting implement such as a knife. This harvesting method is labor-intensive and has bad working posture. In the circumstance of continuous decrease of agricultural population in Japan, a need has existed to reduce the labor-intensity of the lettuce harvesting and to make that working process safer as well as to increase cropping acreage of lettuce. Therefore, a harvester has been developed for winter-clipping crisphead lettuce production. In this paper, a reciprocating cutting component of the harvester was designed and its cutting performance was verified in laboratory test conditions. The component was designed with minimized space requirement and low mass in order to reduce acceleration and inertia during operation. In order to optimize the cutting performance of the component, a method for measuring lettuce cutting resistance was developed. Maximum lateral cutting resistance and cutting power requirement for two plants were measured with cutting frequency of 4 Hz, cutting stroke length of 18 mm, and forward cutting speeds of 5.0, 7.5 and 10.0 cm/s. Lettuce cutting tests with lifting component was also conducted to simulate harvest condition. The experimental results indicated that the cutting component could smoothly cut lettuce stems and the mean values of the maximum cutting resistance and the cutting power requirement were 61.9 N and 29.1 W, respectively.

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