THE GEIGER-LUND SELECTIVE ASPARAGUS HARVESTER
Now you can harvest your asparagus with a machine!
No more labor worries!
Reduce harvesting costs to a fraction of the cost of a hand crew
Harvest whenever you want without needing to find a crew
With a machine you can harvest 24 hours a day, rain or shine.
|One row, tractor-Pull for 60" row centers||3 point hitch mount for 60" row centers|
The SP-2 line of selective asparagus harvesters are simple and super easy to use!
- Typical harvesting speed 2 - 3 mph.
- Estimated crop recovery: 75% (compared to hand harvesting)
- The machine fills the lug box with all the spears oriented in the same direction
- Custom harvesters with one, two, three or four headers, 3 point hitch or tractor-pull
- "Estimated" price for one row machine: $75,000*
* Price subject to change without notice.
- Substantial savings on harvesting costs.
- Eliminates manual field laborers.
- Start your harvest on your schedule without having to find a crew.
- Harvest for the full season even when other crops begin being harvested.
- Harvest 24 hours a day.
- One Man Operation, only the tractor driver is needed.
- Two or more machines can be pulled with one tractor.
- Low maintenance - Spend your time harvesting, not servicing a machine.
- Built extremely rugged - Quick and easy to fix any type of breakdown.
- Fills lug box with lined up parallel spears all pointing in the same direction, not a jumbled mess.
Easy Setup and Operation!
1. Hitch the harvester to the tractor's draw bar and connect the two hydraulic hoses.
2. Raise or lower the machine until the spear sensor is 8 inches above the bed with the machine level.
3. Engage the tractor's hydraulics and drive forward... You are harvesting.
To Machine Harvest Asparagus Imitate Humans!
The Geiger-Lund selective asparagus harvester cuts and picks up asparagus spears the same way as the field workers do. The machine has electronic eyes, arms equipped with asparagus knives, and rubber fingers to pick up the spears the same way that the field workers do.
The machine travels down the bed the same as a field worker does, looking with its photo-electric eyes for spears tall enough to harvest. Just as the human workers do, the machine then gently grips the harvestable spears with its rubber fingers, before cutting the spear with a knife that is nearly identical to the knives used by the field workers.
Once the spear is cut, the rubber fingers transfer the spear via a conveyor to a box. Like the field hands, the machine places the spears in the box all oriented in the same direction for easy handling.
Admittedly, a human is better at cutting a spear if it is leaning over or deformed. Humans are also better at not dropping spears, and can pick up a dropped spear whereas a machine cannot.
However, the Geiger-Lund machines can harvest far faster than a human, and at a far lower cost. The cost reduction is large enough that the grower will make a higher profit on his asparagus even though the machine is not quite as efficient as a hand crew.
How It Works
If a spear is tall enough to reach the spear sensor, the sensor measures the speed of the spear,
determines which channel the spear is passing through, and sends the information to a computer.
Next, the spear is gripped by soft rubber fingers on counter rotating shafts, which pull up on the spear.
When the spear reaches the correct position for cutting, the computer fires the correct blade.
Once the spear is cut, it travels through the rollers up to the backstop.
The spears slide down the backstop and end up traveling on the conveyor butt first out to the box.
The conveyor then drops the spears into a lug box, all lined up and pointing the same direction.
If the box gets full, a horn sounds to alert the driver to swap a empty lug with the full one.
Spears that pass through the rubber fingers, but are not tall enough to harvest and don't get cut,
pass through un-damaged.
1. Spear is detected by spear sensor
2. Spear is grasped by rubber fingered rollers
3. Spear is cut while being pulled on by rubber fingers
4. Cut spear is lifted to conveyor by transfer rollers
5. Conveyor transfers spears to a box, lined up and oriented
- Harvesting Speed Range (For accurate cut:) Approximately 1/2 mph to 5 mph.
- Recommended harvesting speed: 2-3 mph.
can't afford to have down time. The machine is quite simple, easy to understand, easy to
operate, and easy to repair if repairs are needed.
The harvester has a spear sensor that uses photo-electric light beams to sense the spears and
has no moving parts. The photo sensors are easy to get, off-the-shelf parts, and easy to replace.
They should last far longer than the life of the machine though.
The mechanisms that pick up the spears and transport them to the conveyor are super simple and
built super rugged. They require no lubrication and no maintenance and should last the life of
the machine. (Some of the rubber fingers will wear out and need to be replaced periodically)
The conveyor is v-belt guided and should never come off its pulleys.
We've never had a single problem with the conveyor. After all, it's a small, low-speed, conveyor
that never has a heavy load, and uses large double sealed ball bearings. It too should last the
life of the machine. No maintenance needed.
The air cylinders have 1/4" thick cylinder walls. You could drive over them in your tractor without
damaging them. The piston rods are alloy 1045 steel with a yield strength of over 100,000 psi and
they are welded to the pistons. The cylinders are permanently lubricated with grease and are
maintenance free. If you somehow bend a piston rod it can be replaced in less than 15 minutes.
The air valves are off-the-shelf and rated for millions of cycles. Replacing a valve takes about 10
minutes. No maintenance needed.
The air compressor is rated for 100% duty cycle and has a life expectancy of over 35,000 hours. If you
run the machine 24 hours a day for 90 days you would accumulate 2,160 hours. So the compressor
should last about 15 seasons before needing an overhaul. Routine maintenance is required such as
draining the water from the tank, periodic oil changes etc.
The frame is made from heavy 1/4" wall steel tubing. The wheel bearings and spindles are rated for a
maximum load of 5,000 pounds each. The machine weighs about 1,800 pounds total.
The electronics consists of one small easily replaceable circuit board. The electronics should be
problem free for the life of the machine, but can be replaced in minutes.
Field Testing In Nyssa Oregon - Spring 2017
We had our "shakedown" field testing this last spring in Nyssa Oregon. We made some radical design
changes from our previous machines, and as a result we had a few bugs that were difficult to solve, but
solve them we did.
We are very happy with the results we were getting by the end of the season. The machine works great!
This is a picture of one of the fields where we harvested with the machine.
These videos were taken before all the bugs were fixed...
The first video was taken with the camera mounted under the tongue looking back at the spears passing
through the sensor. In the second video the camera is mounted on the machine and shows a side view
of the spears being cut and picked up. The third video shows the spears being transferred from roller
set to roller set on the way up to the conveyor. The final video has the camera mounted looking down
at the spears as they are discharged onto the conveyor belt.
These videos were taken before we had all the bugs worked out, which is why you may see a number
of spears get dropped, or have other problems.
Spears passing through the sensors.
Spears being cut and picked up.
Spears being lifted up to the conveyor.
Spears being discharged onto the conveyor. This video was taken while we were experimenting with the divider plated on
the backstop. We have a couple of sheet metal plates c-clamped to the machine. A spear has gotten hung up on the sharp
edge of one of the sheet metal plates.
Notice that most of the spears end up going down the conveyor butt
first. With the divider plates we tested, 100% of the
spears land on the conveyor butt first.