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Suction Instead of Picking

Efficient fruit harvest using vacuum

Mechanization is also advancing in fruit picking, with suction devices facilitating fruit harvesting. Vacuum pumps by BUSCH can be used to generate the necessary vacuum.

Mechanization mega trend

Harvesting fruit requires manual labor: Pieces of fruit grow sporadically on crooked branches and twigs, and they need to be picked carefully. In order to automate the complex process, new machines replicate the human hand with mechanical grippers. A complex control system ensures a very refined grip. However, this process is slow and requires multi-stage intricate mechatronics.

But it is much easier to suction the fruit. An approximate approach is sufficient when using a suction tube. The lack of a firm grip means the risk of pressure points is eliminated. The hose and collecting baskets are made of soft material so that the sensitive products can enter the transport boxes undamaged.

Quick and easy

There are already harvesters with suction pipes that take the fruit directly from the trees. However, approaching the individual fruits also requires time and a rather complex mechanism. Technically speaking, the semi-automatic solution is much simpler: Human harvesters stand on a mobile and height-adjustable platform from where they can easily reach the fruit on the espalier trees. They place the fruit in a soft basket in front of a flexible suction pipe. The fruit is sucked in from there and transported away through the hose.

There is no need to use ladders, baskets and boxes, and constant bending and walking here and there is also avoided. A helper can harvest many times more in a given period of time than they would in the conventional way. This suction technique has long been standard for harvesting nuts. They are shaken from the trees or bushes and collected with "nut suckers".

Depending on the fruit and the type of machine, different sized vacuum pumps are required to supply the vacuum for the suction processes. BUSCH offers a wide range of suitable solutions for this purpose.
Vacuum in agriculture Machines for (partially) mechanized fruit harvesting are fairly recent achievements. Elsewhere, vacuum pumps have been used for many years in agriculture and for the transportation of its products. As dry bulk good with fine grain size, for example, all types of grain are ideally suited for vacuum conveying. The grain is transported by means of vacuum pumps between silos and transport containers or for further processing in the mills. Milking systems are also operated with vacuum pumps. The vacuum sucks the milk from the udder and transports it to the tank. By means of special "self-priming" vacuum pumps, slurry and sludge are transferred from the collection tanks to the transport tanks for spreading the biological fertilizer or for further processing in biogas plants.