Harvest of table olives by mechanical harvesting equipment

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Filippo Gambella *
(*) Corresponding Author:
Filippo Gambella | gambella@uniss.it

Abstract

In this work, we have evaluated the performance, of an electric comb equipped with five undulated fingers used for mechanized the harvesting of table olives. The first aim of the work was to test three different types of coating materials used for covering the fingers: Silicon (S), Vulcanized rubber (VR) and Natural rubber (NR). The diameter of the coating materials tested were 7mm (D1), 14 mm (D2), 19 mm (D3) in order to evaluate the damage of different working conditions on the intact olives. During harvesting, silicon at 7mm and 14mm resulted in the largest percentage of undamaged the fruit (67% and 65%), natural rubber 63% and vulcanized rubber at the 54%. The second aim was to evaluate the combination, in terms of the best performance, of the machines used for mechanized harvesting of table olives. Several factors have been examined: undulating fingers variation thickness, different rotational speeds and different coating materials used to reduce the impact damage on olives. From the tests on olive tree we have determined that while plastic materials (S) and (NR) appear to have a positive role in harvest quality, the vibration transmitted to the operator’s hand is great from 6.48 m/s2 for S to 6.31 m/ s2 for NR and 2.92 m/s2 for VR, respect to the materials used.

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