Vibration Monitoring of the Mechanical Harvesting of Citrus to Improve Fruit Detachment Efficiency
Castro García, Sergio
Sola Guirado, Rafael Rubén
Serrano, Antonio J.
Gil Ribes, Jesús
SubjectCitrus sinensis L. Osbeck
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The introduction of a mechanical harvesting process for oranges can contribute to enhancing farm profitability and reducing labour dependency. The objective of this work is to determine the spread of the vibration in citrus tree canopies to establish recommendations to reach high values of fruit detachment efficiency and eliminate the need for subsequent hand-harvesting processes. Field tests were carried out with a lateral tractor-drawn canopy shaker on four commercial plots of sweet oranges. Canopy vibration during the harvesting process was measured with a set of triaxial accelerometer sensors with a datalogger placed on 90 bearing branches. Monitoring of the vibration process, fruit production, and branch properties were analysed. The improvement of fruit detachment efficiency was possible if both the hedge tree and the machinery were mutually adjusted. The hedge should be trained to facilitate access of the rods and to encourage external fructification since the internal canopy branches showed 43% of the acceleration vibration level of the external branches. The machine should be adjusted to vibrate the branches at a vibration time of at least 5.8 s, after the interaction of the rod with the branch, together with a root mean square acceleration value of 23.9 m/s2 to a complete process of fruit detachment.