Brush mechanism for distributing apples in a low-cost apple harvest-assist unit

Z. Zhang, P. H. Heinemann, J. Liu, J. R. Schupp, T. A. Baugher

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Apple harvest depends on a large seasonal workforce, and decreasing availability of agricultural employees, increasing labor costs, and occupational injuries are creating challenges for apple harvest activities. Researchers at The Pennsylvania State University developed a low-cost apple harvest-assist unit to improve apple harvest efficiency. The unit performed reliably during field tests. Apple bruising incidence, however, was extremely high with the initial design. This was a major problem for this unit, which targeted fresh market apples. This study focused on identifying reasons for apple bruising, and designing and testing a new speed-reduction brush mechanism for distributing the apples into the bin. Field tests demonstrated that 98.50% and 1.50% of 'Fuji' apples harvested by this unit with the speed-reduction brush mechanism mounted were graded as "Extra Fancy" and "Fancy", respectively. The satisfactory experimental results demonstrated the commercialization potential for this low-cost apple harvest-assist unit utilizing the brush speed-reduction mechanism.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)195-201
Number of pages7
JournalApplied Engineering in Agriculture
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Engineering


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