Automatic Ejection of Plug-type Seedlings using Embedded System for use in Automatic Vegetable Transplanter
This paper presents an automatic ejection mechanism using micro-controller based system for various plug-type vegetables seedlings grown in pro-trays. The developed system consisted of an electro-mechanical unit for actuating metering shaft through stepper motor and feed roller through DC (Direct Current) motor by computer programme. Both the stepper and DC motor were linked to the micro-controller via universal asynchronous receiver-transmitter protocol using an Arduino Uno. Here, computer programme was used to integrate with electro-mechanical unit using drivers which controls the stepper motor as well as DC motor. The main objective of this paper is to provide an automatic ejection mechanism to automate the transplanting operation for plug-type seedlings directly from pro-trays. The mechanism was tested under actual field conditions for various performance parameters like plant spacing, miss planting, transplanting efficiency, effective field capacity, and field transplanting efficiency. Also, the effective field capacity was compared with conventional method of transplanting (manual transplanting). The spacing between consecutive plants was found in the range of 564 mm to 599 mm, and the miss planting was about 4.5 to 5%. Also, the transplanting efficiency and field transplanting efficiency was observed to be 90.0–92.6% and 74.1–75.6%, respectively. The effective field capacity with developed automatic vegetable transplanter was 0.093 ha/h whereas it was 0.027 ha/h with manual transplanting for both type of seedlings. The results indicated that automatic ejection mechanism can be used for automatic planting of plug-type seedlings viz. tomato, eggplant, chilli, etc. as an alternative to hand transplanting by providing a better transplanting efficiency, optimum plant spacing and ensuring timeliness in operation. Additionally, due to automation it will considerably reduce the man power requirement and enhance the productivity as compared to manual transplanting.
Automatic, Mechanism, Micro-controller, Seedlings, Transplanting
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