with the collaboration of Iranian Society of Mechanical Engineers (ISME)

Document Type : Research Article


1 Department of Biosystems Engineering, Tarbiat Modares University (TMU), Tehran, Iran

2 Research Department Manager of Agriculture and Animal husbandry Holding of Etka Organization, Tehran, Iran

3 Department Manager of Medicinal Plants, Agro-industry of Mazrae Novin Iranian Company, Tehran, Iran

4 Research Department Manager, Agro-industry of Mazrae Novin Iranian Company, Tehran, Iran

5 Department of Biosystems Engineering, Isfahan University of Technology (IUT), Isfahan, Iran


The world today is facing the issue of population growth, which will result in food shortages. One way to supply food to this growing population is to facilitate the production of agricultural products to meet the growing demand. Medicinal plants are an important product of the agricultural sector. In Iran, manual harvesting reduces the productivity of these crops, and the use of manual harvesting poses challenges related to available manpower. The costs and time required for manual harvesting are additional obstacles. Given the importance of developing medicinal plants, designing and constructing a mechanized machine for harvesting them could improve the harvesting process.
Material and Methods
In designing the machine for harvesting medicinal plants in cultivation rows, different scenarios were examined regarding the position of the machine relative to the tractor. The advantages and disadvantages of each scenario were listed separately, and finally, the continuous placement of tractors, harvesters, and trailers was defined. One of the goals of designing this machine is to perform harvesting operations for two row spacing’s - 80 and 160 cm. To achieve this goal, mechanisms were added to the machine that allow for changing the position of the harvesting head, as well as the cutting height. Moreover, due to the sensitivity of the harvested product to soil contact, the plants should be transferred immediately after cutting. Therefore, a transfer mechanism was designed and built to move the cut products to the trailer. Independent variables, including forward speed at two levels, type of reel in two types, and cutting blade in two types, were considered. Dependent variables also included harvesting efficiency, percentage of damaged plants, and harvesting capacity.
Results and Discussion
The results of variance analysis for different treatments show that the forward speed, type of reel, and cutting blade type have an effect on harvest efficiency. The difference in harvest efficiency is significant at a 1% probability level. A star cutting blade provides higher efficiency than a 40-teeth cutting blade. The rubber reel prevents plants from falling to the ground by creating a closed space in front of the blade. However, the inner parts of the rods reel are empty, and the plant can fall to the ground. Additionally, the plant may get wrapped around the rods, causing a decrease in harvesting efficiency. Another essential parameter when identifying and evaluating a harvesting machine is crop damage. Some plants get crushed and torn due to the impact on metal components. This situation reduces the quality of the harvested product, leading to a decline in the final product's price. The star-cutting blade causes more leaf rupture. In contrast, the teeth in the 40-teeth blade are continuous, making it unlikely for the leaf to get caught between the two teeth. However, with the star blade, the distance between the two blades is large, allowing the plant to get stuck in between and re-cut.
Based on tests conducted for eight different positions of the harvester, it was observed that the G test outperformed the other tests with 85.88% harvesting efficiency, a capacity of 344.8 kg h-1, and only 1.34% peppermint leaf damage. Therefore, for harvesting similar peppermint products, we recommend using a combination of a star blade, rubber carousel, and a forward speed of 1.2 meters per second. However, new tests should be conducted on other products like lavender and those with strong stems.


Main Subjects

©2023 The author(s). This article is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0), which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source.

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