Authors: Travis J. Esau, Craig B. MacEachern, Qamar U. Zaman, Aitazaz A. Farooque
Published in: CSBE-SCGAB Technical Conferences » AGM Charlottetown 2022
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Description: Over 80% of North America’s wild blueberries (Vaccinium angustifolum Ait.) are harvested mechanically. The process for harvesting these berries is a laborious task which requires near constant manipulation of the picking head, rear conveyor and bin loading systems all while steering the harvester along the correct swath. This study evaluated both new and skilled operator’s heart and breathing rates while utilising various levels of harvester automation. These included combinations of manual steering, auto steering, manual picking head adjustment and auto picking head adjustment. Both the new and skilled operators incurred their highest mean heart and breathing rates (p<0.001) under the manual steering and manual picking head adjustment combination. This combination also resulted in a 47.65% and 30.89% increase to mean heart rate for the new and skilled operator respectively when compared with their mean resting heart rates. The skilled operator experienced their lowest mean heart rate under the autosteer, auto picking head combination demonstrating the potential of these automated systems. Given the definitive linkage between heart rate and fatigue and the linkage between repetitive tasks and fatigue the potential for mistake mitigation through automation is high. These findings also support the push for further harvester automation as a means of addressing the labour shortage associated with finding skilled harvester operators. Future work will look at improving the accuracy of these automated systems and addressing the lack of automation with the conveyor and bin loading systems.
Keywords: Mechanization, automation, operator fatigue, wild blueberry, labour
Conference name: CSBE/SCGAB 2022 Annual Conference, Charlottetow, PEI, 24-27 July 2022.
Session name: Poster Sessions
Publication type: Poster
Language 1: en
Rights: Canadian Society for Bioengineering