Design & development of a seedling transplanter ; Part 1 : Design of main frame and in charge of reliability test
Yeo, Kah Wui
Date of Issue2014
School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering
Agrifood-Veterinary Authority (AVA)
Food Security has been one of Singapore's main concern. The city-state has been working to improve in its food produce. However, with its limited land size, agriculture faces limitation in production, hence it is very important for the local farms to increase efficiency by exploring better methods or processes. The use of heavy machineries in vegetable farms in other countries is very common. However in local context, these machineries are generally not suitable for local use due to their size and functionality. The Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority approached the School of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering to design a transplanter for the vegetable Cai Xin. The purpose was to improve productivity of the local produce. Year 4 MAE students taking the course MECHANICAL SYSTEM DESIGN & ANALYSIS (MP4011) were assigned with the design task as part of the course work. Three students from the MAE part time class hence formed a team to design the machine. At the end of the course, the tutor, Dr Heng Kok Hui, John Gerard identified the team's design as one of the best and feasible design among the various teams. The design was then presented to AVA which expressed interest and was willing to fund NTU in the development of it. In order to help bring the development of the machine further, the original design team was allowed to undertake the Design & Development of the transplanter as their Final Year Project. As an AVA-NTU collaborated project, the team faced multiple challenges. Apart from engineering challenges, the team had to work on tight schedules and also fulfil some administrative requirements of the government agency. Take for example, for the fabrication of the transplanter, it was a requirement to put up tenders on the Gebiz website which is a government's portal for business to bid for projects. This process took quite some time and two rounds of bidding was conducted due to unsatisfactory bidding results on the first round. On the engineering aspect, AVA put up a list of design requirements that was needed to be achieved. The most challenging part was to integrate the multi-processes of vegetable production on to a machine which can perform all the tasks. As the team members were not familiar with farming operations, and there are no local experts on agriculture machineries, they had to do extensive research and conduct site visits and experiments so as to understand the processes better. As the team members were working engineers from the industry, job distribution was based on the experience and expertise of each team member. Each member had an area of focus and also take lead in a design area. Team Member Yeo Chong Peng was the most experienced in the team took lead in the design of the ploughing systems and also to consolidate all the designs. Team member undertook the design of the seedling removal mechanism and also all matters related to procurement. The author took lead in the design of the main frame and also all aspect with regards to functional and reliability tests. Together, the three members make use of engineering concepts learn in class and also their own work experiences to help them in the design of the Seedling Transplanter.
Final Year Project (FYP)
Nanyang Technological University