May 30, 2016

Posted by in 2016, Cactus fruit picker/plucker, Mind Map & Decision tree, News | 0 Comments

Mind Mapping On Cactus Fruit Plucker

Team: Pragati
(Ganesh,Parul,Sarath,Shiyas, Shubham, Shubhangi)
Around the world prickly pear fruits are found in South America, Australia, USA, India and Mexico is largest producer. In India majority of these species are found in desert prone regions which include Gujarat, Rajasthan and Maharashtra etc. Primary use of cactus bushes is fencing around their crop fields. Usually famers/ labourers and women self-help groups are involved in harvesting of cactus fruits.
Literature review:
We performed prior art search to find information on available literature about prickly pear fruit uses, harvesting and devices available for plucking fruits. Following databases are used for search:
Nonpatent database: Google (books, news, images),techpedia database, IEEE explore, Elsevier, Scopus, Springer, Taylor & Francis, citeseer, pubmed, research gate, Conference proceedings, Youtube videos
Patent database: Google patents, USPTO, Espacenet, Thomson, free patents online
The information obtained is used as preliminary data to create mind map for the cactus fruit harvesting.
Problems identified from literature:
1. Cactus bushes are dense and thorny. Cactus fruits also have nubs which make plucking of fruits difficult.
2. Nubs of the fruit enter into skin which is difficult to remove because of their microscopic size.
3. Big thorns on the pads around the fruit.
4. Due to the thorny foliage at the lower level, it is difficult to pick fruits from the ground level.
5. Existing devices don’t offer reach to fruits ( in terms of height adjustability, dense bushes, position of fruits and thorns on the fruit)


Mind Map 1.0

Mind Map 1.0: Cactus Fruit
Mind Map 2.0: Evolution of mind map after field visit
1) Uses of cactus fruit:
Before starting our research, we were interested in knowing uses of cactus fruits, various products made up of cactus fruit and market available for cactus fruit. Cactus fruit is used in food processing industry to make juice, jellies, candies and ice-cream. Another area of usage of cactus fruit is for medicinal purpose.
During field visit we realized that people make milk-cold drink and juices from cactus fruit pulp. It was also sold in medical shops for iron deficiency syndrome.
2) Cactus fruit harvesting/ plucking:
This is the key area to be explored. The various relations connecting to this area are as below:
• Traditional fruit picking methods
1) Traditional method with stick and bowl is time consuming and tedious
2) PVC pipe with L channel at the end allows continuous collection but there are problems with the orientation and fruits falling while picking.
3) Chinese model of plucker offers pick and drop of 1-2 fruits at a time which is again a tedious process.
4) Locally developed plucker is low cost design but again offers pick and drop of 1 fruit each time. Sometimes it damages fruit during clamping.

3) Cactus fruit processing:
During first mind map we had assumed that fruit peeling process is carried by industries as farmers sell fruits to dealer. But during field visit we observed that fruit processing is a real challenge faced by small scale or household level cactus fruit processing businessses.
• Fruit peeling process:
Conventionally fruit peeling is done using knife or scissors. Women wear plastic bags in hand to prevent injuries from cactus nubs. During field visit we found that fruits processing (peeling+ pulping+ seed removal) is very tedious and tales more time. This was a new problem found during the process.
4) Stakeholders:
The important stakeholders in the process are farmers, labourers and self-help groups.
The stakeholders such as brokers, large scale processing industries, shopkeepers and users are now part of themind map2.
5) Problems:
List of problems observed during field visit are as follows:
Fruit plucking process:
1. Picking fruits in dense areas at heights more than human body
2. Attaching container to the device to improve time efficiency with no interruptions
3. Cost effective as current devices are as cheap as Rs. 200
4. Weight of the device should be less
5. Protecting users from the thorns on plants and fruits
6. Preventing fruits from falling down during plucking
7. Preventing fruit damage while holding fruit during plucking
8. Orientation of device for plucking fruits
9. Safe to use and preventing them people from getting exposed to thorns
10. Designing holder to hold fruits with different sizes
Fruit processing:
1) Removing thorns and peeling of outer layer of fruit is tedious process. Removing thorns results in injuries as well.
2) Peeling process which is currently followed involves use of scissors or knife and there is wastage of fruit pulp in this process.
3) Filtering of pulp to remove seeds is again a manual process.
4) Another problem is storage and preserving cactus fruit juice for longer duration.
6) Opportunities:
Functional requirements characteristics for new design are as follows:
Fruit Plucker:
1) The new design should allow continuous fruit collection to improve collection efficiency.
2) Allow for reaching heights of 10-12 fts
3) Size and weight constraints for ergonomic considerations

Fruit processor:
1) Manually operated machine for fruit processing and process layout
2) Work on cactus fruit juice preservation


Mind Map 2.0

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