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Design and Testing of a Kiwifruit Harvester End-Effector

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

Citation:  Transactions of the ASABE. 61(1): 45-51. (doi: 10.13031/trans.12361) @2018
Authors:   Sean S. Graham, Wangyuan Zong, Jun Feng, Shengping Tang
Keywords:   Detachment force, End-effector, Fruit harvester, Kiwifruit, Linear solenoid.

Abstract. Mechanisms to aid fruit harvesting are undergoing constant development with increasing available technologies. However, fruits grown on vines, such as kiwifruit, have complex tree architectures and present difficulties in confirming design parameters. The objective of this research was to develop an end-effector for a kiwifruit harvester based on integrating the physical characteristics of the fruit, such as stem length, the space between mature fruits, and the growing environment provided by a trellised system into the design. These properties contribute to developing a mechanism that is lightweight, battery operated, and requires only one translational joint for positioning. Scissor cutting actuated by a linear solenoid is used to provide the required torque of 1.38 Nm to completely sever Hayward variety kiwifruit at the stem using a curved blade with a 20° relief angle. The cutting of the stem is actuated by a force sensor located on the device that enables cutting at less than 10 N, preventing premature detachment of the fruit and damage to the vine. The cutting time was measured to be 0.1 s ±0.03 s per cut. This end-effector design adds to the body of research aimed at developing a fully mechanized kiwifruit harvester.

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