Development of a support mechanism for the use of motorized oil palm fruit bunch cutter

Basiru Philip Aramide, Oseni Kehinde Owolarafe, Nabeel A Adeyemi

Abstract


In this study a support mechanism (SP) for a palm fruit bunch harvester was designed, fabricated and tested on a plantation. This was with a view to adapting the cutter for harvesting tall oil palm trees in Nigeria. The design concept for the support mechanism was conceived as a mast pyramid which simulates an adjustable ladder pivoted on wheels comprising three segments, namely: the wheels which facilitate easy movement within the plantation; the lower segment, which comprises the stands and the upper segment which comprises the chamber (equipped with a platform) in which the operator (the climber) stands. The support mechanism was tested in comparison with the existing rope-and-knife (RK) method. The harvesting parameters used are time to climb up the palm (TU); time to cut (TC); time to come down from the palm (TD); number of bunches harvested (NB) and total time of harvest (T). A regression analysis was carried out on the data collected using Statistical Analysis Software (SAS) package. The result shows that using the support mechanism for the motorized bunch cutter was easier than rope and knife (RK). The average time of harvest T, TU, TD, and TC per tree, for the SP and RK are 190 s and 391 s; 21 s and 152 s; 21 s and 103 s; and 147 s and 134 s, respectively. The total time of harvest for RK is over 100% more than the time of harvest for SP. The time of harvest per hectare for SP and RK are approximately 9 h/ha and 20 h/ha, respectively. The comparison of SP and RK shows that there is a significant difference in TU, TD, NB, T, but there was no difference in TC, (p < 0.05). The study concluded that the support mechanism shows promise in enhancing the use of the motorized bunch cutter for tall palms and hence should be adopted.

Keywords


oil palm, harvesting, motorized-harvester, support-mechanism

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