|Title of Invention||
PNEUMATIC TEA LEAF HARVESTER
|Abstract||A pneumatic tea leaf harvester comprising of a fixed blade having a perforated tray with lip riveted to it at the cutting end and a control valve with an operating handle at the other end; a moving blade having guide plate riveted to it at the cutting end and connected to an actuating cylinder which in turn is connected by a compressed air lead to the control valve.When the operating handle is depressed the compressed air from a receiver tank attached to a reciprocating air compressor driven by a diesel engine passes through the inlet air lead to the control valve and is released to the actuating cylinder moving the piston rod in it downwards thereby activating the moving blade to cut the leaves and push the cut leaves into the tray by the guide plate; the handle is released and air is cut off to the control valve.|
|Full Text||PNEUMATIC TEA LEAF HARVESTER
FIELD OF INVENTION
This invention in general relates to the field of agriculture technology. More particularly this invention relates to harvesting machine. Precisely this invention relates to a pneumatic tea leaf harvester (TLH) which is very efficient and productive. Normally tea leaf is harvested by hand plucking/shearing
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION :
The following description explain in detail the state of art, the problem associated with the state of art and the solution offered by inventor.
Plucking is the process of harvesting ready crop (tea leaves). It is the only agricultural operation that fetches revenue for a tea plantation.
In the early years of tea industry, all field work was done by manual labour. A large labour force was needed, particularly for plucking. If labour was not available locally, labourers were imported - for example, Tamils from India to Ceylon. Many estates provided housing for labourers who lived on the estates, often for several generations, particularly, where harvesting continued throughout the year. In recent years, the cost of labour has increased, both directly as wages and indirectly by improvement of workers' facilities. Harvesting was found to account for 60% of the
total labour and often such labour as is available is not very efficient. In these conditions, mechanisation of field operations became an attractive alternative. There are contradictory reports about increase and fall in yield due to the introduction of mechanical harvesting. The need to improve mechanical harvesting arose to do away with such contradictions.
OBJECTIVES OF THE INVENTION :
The main objectives of this invention are (i) to harvest ready shoots and maximise yield, maintaining quality and productivity (ii) to effectively utilise land productivity (iii) to reduce labour. While the invention is deployed for achieving the above objectives, the policies observed are: long term profitability, sustained productivity, maintenance of tea bush health, quality produce and increase in volume of production.
CONVENTIONAL TYPE OF HARVESTING :
I Hand Plucking :
Hand plucking is the most selective method of harvesting. It enables complete removal of dormant shoots and harvest of ready shoots; ensures leaf quality and causes minimal damage to green leaves.
Hand plucking is very labour intensive and has lower productivity.
II Mechanical Harvesting : Advantages :
The results of various experiments carried out by various people from various countries with machines like "Tarpen Cropper" by Fay in Ceylon, show that the tea, under mechanisation, improves in spread and density, to such an extent as to make passage through it difficult, giving the field an almost unbroken sheet of tea undulating to every contour and steep or gentle slope. Moreover, the accurate slope plucking and increased spread obtained by mechanisation have reduced wind damage and weed growth; making of better soil cover, more efficient crop protection and reduced weeding costs.
The total photosynthesis is reduced by 30% on account of the damage to stems from machine plucking. Lower concentrations of carbo-hydrates and proteins in mechanically harvested leaves have been reported. The quality of tea from machine plucking is lower than from good hand plucking due to non-selectivity by machines whereby immature and overgrown leaves are included. The leaves too are often more damaged.
It has been ascertained that the following prior Indian Patent Specifications in connection with the present invention are available. A brief analysis of these specifications are as follows :
1. Specification No.9360 relating to "A tea plucking or cutting machine for
cutting off the essential leaves or flush, from tea bushes".
The above Specification No.9360 claims a tea plucking or cutting machine which has a tray and a rotating series of cutting blades similar to a lawn mower at its front edge. One man carries and pushes the machine over the top surface of the bushes whilst a second man works a cranked handle at the side which being rotated like a handle of a sewing machine, causes the mowing blades to rotate and the leaf to be severed.
Drawback : This type of machine is too big and requires two men to work them. It is difficult to operate it where the bushes are close together in long rows.
2. Specification No. 14338 relating to "Improvements in or relating to machines
for and methods of plucking tea leaf.
The above Specification No. 14338 claims a hand operable plucking machine for tea leaf adapted to be carried by an operator, comprising a tray or receptacle to catch the severed leaf, a series of sharpened prongs or projections on the leading edge of said tray or receptacle, preferably level with the bottom surface thereof to engage the leaf, a rotatable disc with cutting teeth thereon adapted to co-operate with said sharpened prongs or projections and, when rotated whilst advancing or pushing the machine
against the leaf at the same time, to operate to sever the leaf, means to remove the severed leaf onto the tray or into the receptacle and means to enable the cutting disc to be rotated.
Drawback : In this method, the efficacy of severing the ready shoots is low as it requires the shoots to be positioned exactly between the fixed and the movable discs. The weight of the machine is too much for an operator to work continuously for a period of time.
3. Specification No.173918 relating to "Shears for use in Tea Plantations".
The above Specification No. 173918 claims shears for use in tea plantations comprising a pair of cutting knife blades attached to handles characterised by a receptacle fitted to one of the blades; a pusher and leveller fitted to the other blade; a variable step-up plate for adjusting the distance between the bottom of the receptacle and the plane of the blades.
Drawback : The operator has to use manual force which is tiring and thereby less productive.
The primary object of the invention is to invent a novel pneumatic Tea Leaf Harvester which is unique.
It is another object of the invention to invent a novel pneumatic Taa Leaf Harvester which will harvest ready shoots and maximise yield.
It is another object of the invention to invent a novel pneumatic Taa Leaf Harvester which will effectively utilise land productivity.
It is another object of the invention to invent a novel pneumatic Taa Leaf Harvester which will reduce the labour force.
Further objects of the invention will be clear from the following description.
The present invention is pneumatically operated thus making the harvesting easier, more effective and more productive. The operator's fatigue is dramatically reduced as compared to the conventional manual shear harvester.
Now the invention will be described in the following specification. The description will be with reference to drawings accompanying the specification. The nature of the invention and the manner in which it is to be performed is clearly described in the complete specification.
The present invention is described in relation to the accompanying drawings by referring to one of the various possible embodiments thereof, wherein :
Figure A illustrates the plan of the pneumatic Tea Leaf Harvester (TLH)
Figure Al illustrates the elevation of the pneumatic Tea Leaf Harvester (TLH)
Figure B illustrates the control valve (CV) in its assembled form without the handle.
Figure Bl illustrates the exploded view of the control valve (CV) with handle attachment.
Figure C illustrates the actuating cylinder (AC) in its assembled form.
Figure CI illustrates the actuating cylinder (AC) in its exploded form.
Figure Dl illustrates the plan of the fixed blade (FB).
Figure D2 illustrates a sectional view of the fixed blade (FB).
Figure D3 illustrates another sectional view of the fixed blade (FB).
Figure El illustrates the elevation of the moving blade (MB).
Figure E2 illustrates a sectional view of the moving blade (MB).
Figure E3 illustrates the plan of the moving blade (MB).
The blades can be made of steel of all varieties - mild steel, stainless steel, spring steel, special steel.
Figure Fl illustrates plan of the perforated tray (T).
Figure F2 illustrates elevation of the tray (T).
The pneumatic Tea Leaf Harvester (TLH) comprises of a power pack with a diesel driven engine that drives a reciprocating air compressor and an air receiver tank capable of holding pressures upto 10 kg/cm2. From this compressor, a flexible hose lead upto 100 metres is taken into the tea field from where it is connected to a manifold with ten outlets by means of a quick release coupling. The ten outlets from the manifold also have quick release couplings. An 8 mm flexible nylon hose is
connected from each of these outlets to a Tea Leaf Harvester (TLH). The pressures maintained at the manifold is around 6 kg/cm2.
The pneumatic Tea Leaf Harvester (TLH) consists of two blades : one fixed (FB) and the other movable (MB) as in a shearer. To this fixed blade (FB), a perforated tray (T) with a lip is riveted on. The fixed blade (FB) has a control valve (CV) which acts as a handle too. The moving blade (MB) has a guide plate (GP) riveted on to it which guides the harvested leaves into the tray (T). The moving blade (MB) is powered by a pneumatic actuating cylinder (AC). There is a compressed air lead (CL) connecting the control valve (CV) with the actuating cylinder (AC). The inlet compressed air from the manifold is connected to the control valve (CV) by means of a quick release coupling. The air pressure at the control valve (CV) end will be around 4Kg/cm2 after taking into account the line loss.
In Figure A the following letters designate various parts incorporated in the
drawings and referred to in the body of the complete specification. In figure A, the
following parts are designated by letters as mentioned below :
CV illustrates control valve IL illustrates inlet air lead AC illustrates actuating cylinder CL illustrates compressed air lead T illustrates perforated tray FB illustrates fixed blade GP illustrates guide plate MB illustrates moving blade
In Figures B, Bl like reference numerals represent like parts as indicated below :
I - Connector made of brass or stainless steel or mild steel
2,9,12,14 - O-rings made of rubber or nylon
3 - Steel balls made of steel
4 - housing made of aluminium or gunmetal or engineering plastic
or stainless steel
5,10 - springs made of steel
6 - assembly poppet made of gunmetal or brass or stainless steel
7 - washer made of rubber or nylon
8 - stem guide made of gun metal or brass or stainless steel
II - stem made of gun metal or brass or stainless steel
13 - plug made of gun metal or brass or stainless steel
15 - needle screw made of gun metal or brass or stainless steel
16 - bolt made of gun metal or brass or stainless steel
17 - cotter pin made of mild steel
18 - handle made of sheet metal or plastic
19 - internal thread in aluminium housing
In Figures C, CI like reference numerals represent like parts as indicated below :
20 - bush made of gun metal or brass or aluminium or stainless steel
21 - plug made of gun metal or brass or aluminium or stainless steel
22 - compression spring made of steel
23 - piston rod made of aluminium or stainless steel or gunmetal or brass
24 - O-ring made of rubber or nylon
25 - piston made of aluminium or stainless steel or gunmetal or brass
26 - piston O-ring made of rubber or nylon
27 - nylon lock nut made of mild steel or stainless steel
28 - housing made of aluminium or gunmetal or engineering plastic
29,31,32 - bolts made of mild steel or stainless steel or brass or gunmetal
30 - washer made of nylon or engineering plastic
WORKING OF THE INVENTION :
The control valve (CV) is shown in Figure Bl in its exploded form. Connector 1 is bolted with an O-ring 2 of two steel balls 3 to the main body of the control valve (CV). In the control valve (CV), there is an operating handle 18.
When this handle 18 is depressed, parts 5 to 11 are compressed and air through the outlet connector is released to the actuating cylinder (AC).
The actuating cylinder (AC) as shown in figure CI has a connecting piston rod 23. Parts 24 to 27 are bolted to the top end of the connecting piston rod 23. Spring 22 is fitted to the bottom end of the connecting piston rod 23. The compressed air passing through the outlet connector of the control valve (CV) is released to the inlet connector of the actuating cylinder (AC). The compressed air now moves the connecting piston rod 23 with parts 24 to 27 downwards thereby activating the
Moving blade (MB) which cuts the tea leaves. The guide plate (GP) riveted to the moving blade (MB) pushes the cut leaves into the perforated tray (T) attached to the fixed blade (FB) When the handle 18 is released, parts 5 to 11 come back to their original position and air is cut off to the outlet connector of the control valve (CV)
Thus the operation of cutting the leaves is repeated as the operator presses and releases the handle 18.
The terms and expressions in this specification are of description and not of limitation there being no intention in the use of such terms and expressions of excluding any equivalents of the features illustrated and described but it is understood that various other embodiments of the invention proposed herein are possible without depending on the scope and ambit of this invention.
1. A pneumatic Tea Leaf Harvester comprising a fixed blade and a movable blade, a perforated tray with a lip being riveted to fixed blade, the said fixed blade has at one end a control valve, the said control valve being connected by means of compressed air lead to an actuating cylinder attached to one end of the moving blade; the said moving blade having a guide plate riveted on to it at the other end; the compressed air passing through the inlet air lead to the control valve from a manifold connected by a flexible hose lead to an air receiver tank attached to a reciprocating air compressor driven by a diesel engine.
2. A pneumatic Tea Leaf Harvester as claimed in claim 1 wherein the control
valve has two quick release couplings, one at its inlet through which
compressed air from the manifold enters and another at its outlet from where
the air compressed lead connecting the actuating cylinder is fit.
3. A pneumatic Tea Leaf Harvester as claimed in claims 1 and 2 wherein the
control valve has a handle attached to it and housing the components as herein
described and illustrated.
4. A pneumatic Tealeaf Harvester as claimed in claim 1 wherein the actuating
cylinder houses the piston and other components as herein described and
5. A pneumatic Tea Leaf Harvester as claimed in claim 1 wherein the moving
blade is positioned to act consequent to the downward movement of the piston
rod in the actuating cylinder.
6. A pneumatic Tea Leaf Harvester substantially as herein described with
reference to, and as illustrated in the accompanying drawings.
|Indian Patent Application Number||121/MAS/2001|
|PG Journal Number||20/2006|
|Date of Filing||09-Feb-2001|
|Name of Patentee||PARRY AGRO INDUSTRIES LTD|
|Applicant Address||TIAM, HOUSE ANNEXE NO.3 JEHANGIR STREET CHENNAI 600 001.|
|PCT International Classification Number||A01D46/04|
|PCT International Application Number||N/A|
|PCT International Filing date|