Automatic boom height control and design parameters for hydraulic drives on potato harvesters for use in Manitoba field conditions

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Saqib, Ghulam Sarwar
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The boom elevator on potato harvesters elevates and delivers the potatoes into a bulk transport vehicle. On present harvesters the height of fall of the potatoes is adjusted manually. Due to inexperience, fatigue or poor judgement by the operator, drop heights are usually too great to handle the potatoes without damage. The economic loss to the potato industry from mechanical injury to potatoes amounts to millions of dollars each year. An automatic boom height control would help to maintain proper drop heights in relation to the pile formation during loading of the truck and thus reduce potato damage. A considerable reduction in mechanical damage to potatoes can be achieved by coordinating various conveyor speeds on the harvester with the forward speed and the potato yield. Speed adjustment of the conveyors can be achieved using a variable speed hydraulic drive system. Design data for hydraulic drives would help interested farmers and manufacturers to incorporate this system on potato harvesters. An electrohydraulic automatic boom height control was designed and fabricated. The system was mounted on a Lockwood Mark 76 potato harvester. The modified potato harvester was tested for correct functioning of the automatic boom height control operating both independently from and simultaneously with manual control of the boom height...