DEVELOPMENT OF A GRIPPER FOR ROBOTIC PICKING AND TRANSPLANTING OPERATION OF PROTRAY GROWN VEGETABLE SEEDLINGS
Keywords:Protray seedlings, Pneumatic cylinder, Mechanical gripper, Transplanting mechanism
The existing system of vegetable cultivation is to transplant the seedling manually with the help of labours. The labour requirement in manual transplanting of vegetable seedlings is as high as 254 man–h ha-1. However, seedling transplanting, as a labor-intensive task. The main objective of this study was to develop an efficient mechanical linkage pick-up device. To develop an experimental setup of automatic picking and transplanting mechanism for plug type vegetable protray seedlings and evaluate its performance under laboratory condition.Sliding plate cam type mechanical linkage finger was developed and tested with experimental setup. The experimental setup was consisted of a main frame, aluminium extrusion, linear guide rail, limit switch, stepper motor with pulleys, timer belt, pneumatic cylinders, solenoid values with coils, FRL unit, SMPS, PLC board, relay board and conveyor. The four symmetrically arranged prongs were actuated by pneumatic cylinder to achieve opening and closing of gripper device. There was another pneumatic cylinder, which plug out the seedling from protray cell. PLC programming was used to control the entire operations of transplanting mechanism. The transplanting rate was set as 840-850 seedlings h-1. The level of variables Viz., age of seedlings (20, 25 & 30 days for tomato & for chilli and brinjal seedlings 30, 35 and 40 days seedlings), media moisture content (16%, 18% and 21%)and penetration angle(6°, 8° and 10°)were taken for the study.The maximum success ratio of 90.69 % were found with optimum levels of (moisture content and penetration angle) 19 ±1 % and 8° respectively. About 3.07 % of missing, 2.44 % of damage to the media and or seedlings and 1.39 % of drooping failure was recorded with 25 days aged seedlings. Similarly, for chilli and brinjal, the maximum success ratio of 92.47 % and 91.32 % respectively were found at the same levels with 40 days aged seedlings. Also about 2.61 % of missing, 2.08 % of damage to the media and or seedlings and 2.43 % drooping failures were found for chilli seedlings and about 2.82 % of missing, 3.16 % of damage to the media and or brinjal seedlings and 2.11 % of drooping failures were found for brinjal seedlings.
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