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ARS Home » Midwest Area » East Lansing, Michigan » Sugarbeet and Bean Research » Research » Research Project #432620

Research Project: Development of a Cost Effective Apple Harvest and Sorting System

Location: Sugarbeet and Bean Research

Project Number: 5050-43640-002-016-T
Project Type: Trust Fund Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Mar 9, 2017
End Date: Apr 30, 2018

Develop a self-propelled apple harvest and sorting platform that is cost effective and commercially viable for use by apple growers in the U.S. The specific objectives are as follows: 1) provide a new design for the self-propelled apple harvest and sorting machine; 2) customize the newly developed apply sorting and handling technology, making it suitable for use with the self-propelled machine.

A new design layout will be made for the apple harvest and sorting prototype, which will be self-propelled and allow continuous handling of fruit bins with no or minimal disruption or down time for the harvest crew. The machine would be semi-autonomous and require only occasional steering control by a worker working on the harvest platform, and it can make easy turns after reaching the end of rows in the orchard. Customization of the new fruit sorter and bin fillers developed by ARS East Lansing researchers will be made for easy adaptation to the self-propelled harvest platform. This includes a simpler modular design for the fruit sorting unit and improvements to the functioning and reliability of the current bin fillers. Simplified sensing and controlling configuration will be incorporated into the new bin filler design.