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2009 International Conference on Measuring Technology and Mechatronics Automation

Computer aided analysis of planting mechanism of the seedling transplanter

LIU Ting-ting, Hou Shu-lin, Zhao Xi, Yin Li-juan, Yin Cheng-gang, WANG Qi-feng
Collage of Engineering China Agriculture University, CAU Beijing, China
AbstractIn this paper, we discuss the seedling planting mechanism which is applied in transplantation of baccy, corn beet, eggplant, tomato, cotton Conclusions Etc. A mathematic model of the seedling transplanting mechanism is established and the model is calculated&simulated with MATLAB. By means of this model, the analysis for the movement of the mechanism became Intuitive and visible. And this model could also provide bases for choosing the rational parameters of transplanting mechanism and enhancing its transplanting performance. According to the agronomy requirement of seedlings transplantation, we optimally design the key component that is suitable for the seedling transplanting mechanism, analyze and study the universal law of the mechanical planting and find the main factors that affect the transplanting performance. Keywords- kinematics simulation; crank and rocker mechanisms; transplanter;MATLAB



Because of the incomparable superiority to direct seeding, seedling transplanting technology has developed rapidly these years. Seedling planting mechanism is the core component of transplanter, its performance has great influence to the transplanters working quality. Compared with the existing transplanters, a new seedling planting mechanism is introduced in this paper. With the computer aided analysis, we can obtain the transplanters working path, get the main factors that influence the mechanisms transplanting characteristics, provide theoretical basis for the design of transplanters of the same type; compared with direct verification of practical test, with the computer aided analysis method, the cost of expensive physical prototype and development cycle have been reduced significantly. Therefore, in this paper, we mainly analyze the working principle of the seedling planting mechanism and simulate the virtual prototype with MATLAB and INVENTOR. II. WORKING PRINCIPLE OF THE TRANSPLANTER The working requirements for the seedling planting mechanism are as follows: (1)The automatic feeding device put the seedling into seedling delivery mechanism, when moving downward, the gripper holds the seedling and plants it into the soil. (2)The seedling is planted in a nearly vertical position. Vertical deviation below 30 degrees is permitted. (3)After planting, the gripper returns to the initial position. The buried seedling mustnt be destroyed, during the returning process. (4)When the machinery advances at a steady speed, the transplanting procedure should be stable and circular.

According to the requests above and the seedling structural features, we design a seedling planting mechanism (shown in Fig.1), curve A-B-C-D is the moving path of seedling delivery mechanism in a work process. The working principle is as follows: in the process of the machines and tools advance, a seedling falls into delivery mechanism (point A) from the automatic feeding device (does not drawn in Fig.1), then gripped by claw clip, the seedling moves from point A to point B with seedling delivery mechanism, curve B-C is the procedure that the gripper holds the seedling and plants it into the soil, point B is the transplanting spot. Curve C-D is zero speed seedling delivering process, the seedling delivery mechanism moves rightwards, and the transplanting mechanism moves leftwards at the same speed, at this time, the gripper has not left the seedling. When the opening seedling gripper reaches the scheduled location (point D), the seedling delivery mechanisms lifts, and in the same time the contractor of the gripper control mechanism is pressed, the opening seedling gripper opens, the seedling falls into the hole, the seedling delivery continues to run, and take a seedling when reaching the automatic feeding mechanism, the delivery mechanism enters into a cyclical transplanting state.
Chain Sprocke Connecting rod Framework

Gripper moving path

Seedling delivery mechanism

Control contractor

Figure 1. Schematic diagram of seedling transplanter



The crank and rocker mechanism is a widely used plane linkage. When the crank rotates at a constant angular velocity, in order to get the relational curve of the link and get the rockers angular velocity and angular acceleration based on time variation, we must carry on the motion analysis to this mechanism, list the vector and matrix

978-0-7695-3583-8/09 $25.00 2009 IEEE DOI 10.1109/ICMTMA.2009.118


equations and obtain the numerical solution. In this paper, the crank and rocker mechanism is dynamically simulated by the simulation toolbox in MATLAB; the curve of motion is got. This method is superior to manual calculation and hand-mapping in efficiency and accuracy. The main device of planting mechanism is the crack and rocker linkage. Seedling falls into the planting mechanism; the gripper holds it and plants it into the soil. The grippers motion curve will affect the stability of the planting process. Transplanting mechanisms kinematical analysis is very import to its operation and further improvement. A. The mathematical model of the crank and rocker mechanism Fig.2 shows a crank and rocker mechanism, in the schematic diagram, AB is crank, BCF is connecting rod (transplanting arm), DC is rocker, AD is rack, the length of AB, BCF, DC, AD is L1, L2, L3, L4, the angle between these bars and forward axis is 1 4 3 . the crack rotates anti-clockwise at a conformal speed 1, each bars projection in axis X and Y must satisfy the following equations:

cos =

L 0 2 + L32 L 2 2 2 L 0 L3


According to formula (2), (5), we can calculate the angle between rocker and the rack in any random 1. If the crank angular velocity 1 is known, as to connecting rod and the rocker, their angular velocities and angular accelerations can be got through the complex vector method. The crank and rocker mechanism ABCD can be regarded as a closed polygon. L1 L2 L3 L4 mean components vector, then the closed vector equation of this mechanisms is as follows:

L1 + L 2 = L 3 + L 4
Its complex form:

(7) (8)

L1ei1 + L 2 ei4 = L 3ei3 + L 4 ei

Differentiates (8) with respect to time:

(9) Makes certain arrangement to (9) and get the angular velocity:

L1 1iei1 + L 2 2iei4 = L 3 3iei3

2 = 1
L1 sin(1 3 ) L3 sin( 4 3 ) L1 sin(1 4 ) 3 = 1 L3 sin( 3 4 )

xf = l 1 cos( 1) + l 5 cos( 2) yf = l 1 sin( 1) + l 5 sin( 2 )


(10) (11)



Differentiates (9) with respect to time and makes some arrangement, the angular acceleration is:

L3 L5 L4


B ( x b, y b) L2


2 =
3 =

L 3 3 2 L1 12 cos( 1 3) L 2 2 2 cos( 4 3) (12) L 2 sin( 4 3)

L 2 2 2 + L1 12 cos( 1 4 ) L 3 3 2 cos( 3 4 ) (13) L 3 sin( 3 4 )

2 4

C ( x c , y c)

F x f , yf )

B. Determination of the connecting rod Assume that the length of the longest connecting rod is 0 to 50 times the length of the shortest. When the length of L1 is assumed to be 1.00 units, the length of L3 and L4could be in the range of 1.00 50.00 units. The maximum length of L2 is determined according to the following two situations:

Figure 2. The crank and rocker mechanism

L2 max = L1 + L3 + L4 ,


2 = +
cos =
2 2 2

L2 max = 50.00.
The length of the connecting rod L5 is within 1.00100.00, its angle ranges from 0 to 360 degrees. In the first stage, there are 20 qualified connecting rods in Table 1. Analyze these data according to the procedure above, each moving path that corresponding to its size is determined. Nearly 7 combinations maybe correct, in the same way, the second, third and the forth stage is finished. The parameters of connecting rod are list in Table 2. The seedling grippers moving path (which is the curve of four-bar linkage) is shown in Fig.3. An important feature of this curve is that after planting, the seedling gripper will return to the initial location in an angle about 180 degrees, in this way, due to the gravity of its own, the seedling will fall into the soil automatically during the return movement.

L 0 + L 2 L3 (3) 2 L0 L 2 L 4 2 + L0 2 L12 (4) cos = 2L0 L 4 L0 = L12 + L4 2 2 L1L 4 cos( + 1) is the length of diagonal line BD. According to formula (1), we could calculate point Fs coordinates in the condition that the length of rod, connecting rod angle and crank angle are all random. When value of the crank angle is a continual one, point Fs coordinate track is connecting rods moving path. From Fig.2, the angle between the rocker and the rack is as follows: (5) 3 = + +



DIMENSION RANGES OF THE CONNECTING RODS Dimension ranges (Unit length) Number of LF 1.00-100.00 3.16-31.62 1.00-31.62 3.16-100.00 10.00-100.00 1.00-31.62 3.16-100.00 1.00-10.00 4.08-6.81 4.57-5.42


Groups 1 1 2 3

L1 1.00 1.00 1.00 1.00 1.00 1.00 1.00 1.00 1.00 1.00

L2 0.00-1.00 1.00-3.99 5.41-7.62 17.14-21.00 48.34-50.00 3.89-15.14 12.73-18.50 1.00-6.21 1.17-1.59 1.34-1.44

L3 1.00-5.00 1.00-7.07 1.00-7.07 1.00-7.07 1.00-7.07 2.66-18.80 2.66-18.80 7.07-50.00 1.92-2.96 2.22-2.44

L4 1.00-5.00 1.00-7.07 2.66-18.80 7.07-50.00 18.80-50.00 2.66-18.80 7.07-50 7.07-50.00 1.92-2.96 2.22-2.44

0-360 180-360 270-360,0-120 300-360,0-120 330-360,0-120 240-360,0-30 30-150 300-360,0-120 300-340 310-330

analysis 20 45 55 44 20 21 32 36 55 30 358

4 5 6 7

3 4 Sum

1 1

C. Computer aided analysis of planting mechanism based on MATLAB MATLAB is a set of computation software promoted by the Math Work Corporation in 1984, with this software the numerical analysis, the optimization, the statistics, the automatic control, the image processing and so on computation and graphical display functions can be easily realized. MATLAB has been widely used in the field of scientific research. To simulate the moving process of the mechanism, the most important thing to do is to deduce the mechanisms analytic solution of equation of displacement, speed and acceleration, using plural vector method, the motion equation of mechanism can be easily deduced, then we can carry on the computer aided analysis conveniently with the aid of computer and MATLAB. Here, we simulate and analyze the traditional crank and rocker mechanism with the platform of MATLAB, the connecting rods curve equation that deduced above could be easily reproduced in computer. In practical application, to meet the actual needs of mechanism and realize the requirement, we could revise the parameters in the above formula repeatedly, such as length of rods and installing angle and other parameters. The results show that the method is effective and the actual running performance is enhanced significantly. Establish the MATLAB program (program omitted) according to above formula, the simulating curve of connecting bar is shown in Fig.3.

Axis Y

Axis X

= 42.5

= 50

Figure 3. Linkage curve of four bar linkage mechanism

The analysis shows that when =42.5, the moving curve conforms to the seedling grippers ideal path closely. The best parameters of the mechanism are list in Table 2.
TABLE II. THE BEST DIMENSIONS OF FOUR BAR LINKAGE MECHANISM Title 1 2 3 4 5 Length of crank Length of connecting rod Length of rocker Length of rack Dimension of rockers extension pole 6 Angle between rocker and extension pole Symbol L1 L2 L3 L4 LF Dimension 1.00 1.65 2.30 2.50 5.00


= 30

= 40

Using the mapping function of MATLAB, we could draw the simulation result easily, in this paper, the simulation curve of angular velocity and angular acceleration with respect to time are shown in Fig.4 and Fig.5. From the two figures, we could know that when the crank rotates at constant angular velocity, the connecting


rod makes the variable angular velocity or variable angular acceleration motion.

t (s)

Figure 4. Curve of the angular velocity

Figure 6. Three dimensional picture of the mechanism



Figure 5. Curve of angular acceleration

Through the computer aided analysis of the crank and rocker mechanism, the designer could easily understand the changing rules of angular acceleration and angular velocity of the connecting rod in different combination of the bars. Through the computer aided analysis of the crank and rocker mechanism, the designer could easily understand the changing rules of angular acceleration and angular velocity of the connecting rod in different combination of the bars. IV. MOTION SIMULATION BASED ON INVENTOR Autodesk Inventor is mid-range 3D modeling software promoted by American Autodesk Corporation in 1999; it is parametric solid drawing software that could finish the transformation from two-dimensional design to threedimensional design. Inventor is established on the ACIS three-dimensional solid simulation. Abandon many nonessential operations and retain the most commonly used simulation functions based on features, because of its usability and the formidable function, it has been widely used in machinery, automobile, construction, and so on. When the dimensions of each parts of the transplanting mechanism are determined, draw up the graphic model with the three-dimensional software Inventor. Exert restraint on the mechanism, so that the initial angle between the crank and the framework is 0, drive the restraint to increase the angle from 0 to any angle, at this point, the rotating crank drives the entire mechanism, all the bars connect with each other by hinges and could be in relative motion.

According to the mathematical model of the crank and rocker mechanism, the simulation model based on MATLAB is established, through calculating and simulating the model, we could reach the following conclusions: when =42.5 and all the bars satisfy the dimensional relationship shown in Table 2, the moving curve of the connecting rod conforms to the seedling grippers ideal path closely, at this time, the seedling is planted into the soil in a direction relatively vertical, the transplanting process is stable and reliable, the seedling transplanter could satisfy the requirements of crop planting performance. Design in this paper could also be used in the motion and dynamic analysis of other four-bar linkage and multibar linkage, its superiority is to liberate the designers from the tedious mathematical calculation, speed up solving process and guarantee the accuracy, through carrying on the three-dimensional motion simulation to the mechanism with INVENTOR, designer can easily understand the changing rules of the linkage curve of crank and rocker mechanism under different length combinations. REFERENCES
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