Ken Kobayashi, Masato Suzuki and Sadao Sasaya
Biotechnology Engineering Laboratory, Bio-oriented Technology Research Advancement Institution (BRAIN), -Institute of Agricultural Machinery (IAM), 1-40-2, Nisshin-cho, Omiya, Saitama, 331-8537, Japan
Department of Production and Envirionment Science, Faculty of Agriculture, Niigata University, 8050, Ikarashi-ninocho, Niigata 950-2181, Japan
An aging farm population, increase of plant purchases, and a shortage of skilled workers have made it necessary to automate grafting in Japan. Development of a grafting robot targeted efficient mass production of seedlings, especially cucumbers. After surveying current grafting, we designed a device for studying the mechanical functions of grafting based on grafting techniques and mechanical grafting technology. To improve functions, we developed an experimental model and two demonstration models. The grafting robot produced 815 plants/h (about 3 times manual grafting) at a success rate of 97.1%. To further automate the process, we devloped the grafting robot with an automatic seedling feeder. An improved demonstration grafting robot was marketed in 1993.
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