The paper presents an autonomous robot for removing the leaves from cucumber plants grown in a high-wire cultivation system. Leaves at the lower end of the plants are removed because of their reduced vitality, their negligible contribution to canopy photosynthesis and their increased sensitivity to fungal diseases. Consuming 19% of the total labour input, leaf removal is considered by the growers and their staff as a tedious, repetitive and costly task. Automation alleviates their job and results in a significant cost reduction. The paper describes a functional model and preliminary results of a field test of a de-leafing robot. Despite the small number of repetitions during the field test, the favourable results confirmed the feasibility of the concept of the de-leafing robot. The vision system and manipulator control performed relatively well. However, particularly, the mechanics of the end-effector were failure prone and need re-engineering. With a cycle time of 140 s per two leaves on average, the execution time of the de-leafing robot is approximately 35 times slower than manual leaf picking. For economic feasibility this cycle time should be reduced.
|Publication status||Published - 2006|
- picking robot