Design of Agricultural Robots (Fruit Picking Robot)
Introduction to Agricultural Robots:
Agriculture is the largest employer in the world. Most of the industries depend on agricultural raw products. As a result, every country’s GDP, economy, development depends on the country’s agricultural growth. This sector involves huge manual labor and hence robots are developed to aid agriculture. India, being the 2nd largest agricultural producer and 7th largest exporter of agricultural goods, the scope for agro-robots is estimated to be high.
Farmers need to produce 70% more food than today to feed the world’s growing population by 2050
Deploying robots in the field of agriculture is called an Agricultural Robot. The robots are used for various purposes such as
a) Weed Control
b) Cloud Seeding
c) Planting Seeds
e) Environment Monitoring
f) Soil Analysis
There are even a few robots that are used to replace human laborers such as Fruit picking robots, driverless tractors/sprayers.
Design of Agricultural Robots (Fruit Picking Robot):
Let us consider the case of the robot used for picking the fruits.
The mechanical design of robots consists of the end-effector, manipulator, and gripper.
The design of the end-effector on the variety of fruit. If the design of the end-effector goes wrong while picking the fruit it might cause damage to the fruit and the value of the fruit reduces
The design of the manipulator depends on the required motion.
The design of the gripper depends upon what crop is harvested.
An end-effector in the agricultural robot is found at the end of the robotic arm. End-effectors are used for harvesting, berry thinning, spraying, and bagging.
End-effectors designed for harvesting were used to grasp, cut, and push the fruits. The End-effector of berry-thinning consists of an upper, middle, and lower part. The upper part has two plates and a rubber that can open and close. The two plates compress the fruit to cut off the rachis branches and extract the bunch of fruit.
The middle part contains a plate of needles, a compression spring, and another plate that has holes spread across its surface. When the two plates compress, the needles punch holes through the fruit.
Next, the lower part has a cutting device that can cut the bunch to standardize its length. The bagging end effector is designed with a bag feeder and two mechanical fingers.
The gripper is a grasping device that is used for harvesting the target crop. The design usually consists of two mechanical fingers that can move in synchrony when performing their task.
The manipulator allows the gripper and end effector to navigate through the environment. The manipulator consists of four-bar parallel links that maintain the gripper’s position and height.
This is a general explanation about the Design of Agricultural Robots (Fruit Picking Robots). In real-time, the design of the robots could vary based on the requirement.