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Improvement and Automation of Red Raspberry Cane Taping Machine Based on Field Evaluation Results

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

Citation:  2018 ASABE Annual International Meeting  1800983.(doi:10.13031/aim.201800983)
Authors:   Kapil Khanal, Santosh Bhusal, Manoj Karkee, ASABE member, Qin Zhang
Keywords:   Agricultural machinery, Automation, Cane bundling, Cane tying, Machine vision,

Abstract. Canopy management activities such as bundling, tying and pruning are labor intensive operations in red raspberry production. These activities cost around 50% of the total production cost; the majority of which is spent on bundling and tying canes. In a previous study, a ‘Cane Bundling and Tying Mechanism‘ was developed to bundle red raspberry primocanes and tie adhesive tape around them in an experimental red raspberry plot, which showed an overall success rate of 82.67%. The prototype was fabricated primarily for functionality evaluation, which was limited by size and precision issues. Based on the finding from this study with the first prototype, an improved mechanism with novel components was designed and fabricated to increase the accuracy and efficiency of the overall field operation. The whole bundling and taping process was automated using a machine vision system for cane detection and localization. The overall time taken for the mechanism to complete the bundling and taping was decreased to 30 secs from 3 minutes. The improved system achieved an overall success rate of 90% when tested in a red raspberry plot. We also evaluated the durability of two types of adhesive tapes (used in the taping mechanism) in holding the bundled canes together. Forty-five raspberry plants were randomly selected and were tied with type I tape (tensile strength 27N/m) and type II tape (tensile strength 316 N/m). For comparison, manual tying was completed with cotton thread (~2 cm diameter) for another 45 randomly selected plants. The bundles were evaluated after six months of tying. The failure of the tape in keeping the cane bundles intact was significantly lower with type I tape (higher adhesive and tensile strength; 2 failures out of 39 taping) compared to type II tape (7 out of 39 taping). The mean fruit yield between machine tied and manually tied raspberry plants showed no significant difference (two sample t-test, df = 88, P = 0.67) at 5% significance level.

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