Mangalore; August 30: With scarcity of labour, areca growers are finding it difficult to harvest their crop. But plucking areca nuts need no longer be an arduous task. Four seventh semester mechanical engineering students of Sahyadri College of Engineering and Management have developed a low-cost areca nut tree climbing machine that can be regulated by a remote control. It has a robo cutter fixed to it and can be used to spray pesticides.
Areca nut tree climbing is a risky job that requires skilled labour. To help areca nut farmers reduce dependency on tree climbers Asheesh V Rao, S Siddharth, K Shrihari and Praveen K P Rao have developed the machine that can reach a height of about 120 meters within a minute. Under the guidance of Prof Abdul Kareem.
At present, the machine weighs about six kg. “As areca trees are very tall, we need to bring down its weight. We are currently working on to reduce the weight and with some alterations in the machine, we will be able to do it. The design of the machine is simple enough for farmers to operate. It can work efficiently,” he said.
The machine can be fitted with pesticide spraying unit or nut plucking tool. “The students have used bearings, wooden rollers, springs and shafts to make the machine. Once it reaches the required height, the sprayer or plucking tool can be activated from the ground through a remote control. For spraying copper sulphate solution, we have used a 12-volts direct current water pump that can pump water from a tank. The nozzle is connected to the pump’s outlet to spray the solution,” he added.
The students have spent about Rs 42,000 to develop the machine. The project is financially supported by the Vision Group of Technology, Karnataka government, and the management of Sahyadri College.
Prof Abdul Kareem, department of electronics and communication engineering, Prof BN Karkera, research center and Ashwath Rao, department of mechanical engineering, Sahyadri College of Engineering & Management were guides of the project.