Loose fruits are currently collected by hand picking or raking. This technique is not only labour demanding, and time-consuming but is also tedious and laborious. The worker needs to squat and stand up throughout the day during the collection process. On the average, the time taken for the worker to collect loose fruits is about 28% of total time of harvesting. In the previous work, the suction mechanism was mounted onto a three-wheeler chassis which enables the machine to manoeuvre in tight corners. The fruits are collected through a vacuum concept and stored in a cylindrical container or barrel, before being finally deposited into a bag. From previous field trials, it was noticed that if the fruits occupy more that 50% of the barrel volume, there is a higher tendency of trash not blown out, hence affecting its performance. In this new design, the barrel now acts as a temporary storage facility where its contents will occasionally be emptied into another container within the machine chassis and later discharged directly into an awaiting bin or steriliser cage on a trailer. The elimination of collection bags along the harvesting path can reduce manpower requirement.
Main Researcher: Abd Rahim Shuib