In the spring plowing season, everything recovers, and several farmers are raising crops in the field. They first covered the soil on the plug tray, sowed the seeds into the pre-perforated substrate, and then performed the watering operation. The busy scene at the sowing site showed a "different" spring.
At present, it is still a labor-intensive operation for farmers to complete the seeding cultivation in domestic greenhouses manually. Due to the time-consuming and labor-intensive operation, the sowing efficiency is low. Foreign large-scale automatic planters are not suitable for the needs of small and medium-sized greenhouse farmers in China.
Students of the Zhejiang Institute of Mechanical & Electrical Engineering inherit the craftsmanship and help Chinese agricultural development. Huang Tao, Qiu Beile, Zhang Jin are students of Additive Manufacturing College of Zhejiang Institute of Mechanical & Electrical Engineering. Through field research, they obtained first-hand information on user needs, and independently developed and designed a plug tray seedling planter that can automatically complete plug tray supply, substrate covering, automatic drilling, intelligent seeding, supplementary seeding, and automatic watering. The seeder has low cost and high seeding efficiency and realizes fully automatic intelligent plug tray seeding.
The accuracy of the seeding operation directly affects the growth and production of the crop. The compact seeding technology is an extensive integrated system. The project team's urgent problems are making the planter "smart": automatically complete the various actions of the seeding and coordinate the planter's different operations.
Before this, Huang Tao and other project members find Professor Lou Jianzhong, from College of Additive Manufacturing of ZIME, to help with technical questions. Professor Lou has extensive experience in intelligent agricultural machinery equipment, agricultural machinery automation, and new technologies and equipment for agricultural product processing. After a period of technical accumulation, the designed smart plug tray seedling planter has broken the bottleneck of the traditional planter's automation, low intelligence level, and low seeding efficiency. It integrates six major functional modules such as plug tray supply, substrate overburden, substrate punching, automatic seeding, supplementary missed sowing and automatic watering. It uses a specially designed seeding wheel to achieve precise planting, with a seeding speed of 400-500 trays /hour.
The quick-release seeding wheel design makes the planter suitable for sowing seeds of different sizes. Up to now, the planter has been authorized with two invention patents and four utility model patents, which realizes the flow production of plug tray seedling planter, which can effectively adapt to market needs.
At the same time, the designed smart plug tray seedling planter won the Zhejiang University Challenge Cup Special Prize, the National University Challenge Cup First Prize, the Mechanical Innovation Design Competition National Second Prize, Hangzhou Innovation and Entrepreneurship Competition Second Prize and other honors.
The team invited Professor Li Jianping of Zhejiang University as an expert to guide. The experts and the team's multiple online and offline guidance helped solve various technical problems encountered in the design process. The students completed all the design, manufacture, and improvement of smart plug tray seedling planter.
During the epidemic, innovation did not stop. Team members communicated through video to speed up the improvement of equipment and continuously improve the "intelligent plug tray seedling planter". Based on the original functions, the missing seeding and replanting function and the automatic supply module of the plug tray are added to realize the automated assembly line seeding operation from the supply of the empty tray to the substrate watering after sowing.
During the epidemic period, this equipment helped the spring professional vegetable planting base of Shanlishanwan Vegetable Cooperative and other greenhouse vegetable planting bases in Zhuji City, Zhejiang Province. The equipment showed excellent performance in the actual trial process. The machine is easy to operate, saves time and effort, and has won unanimous praise from all users.
China is a big agricultural country, and agricultural modernization is related to social stability, national prosperity, and national rejuvenation. In the future, our country will gradually realize the mechanization of agriculture, liberating farmers from heavy manual labor. The students of the Zhejiang Institute of Mechanical & Electrical Engineering use the theoretical knowledge they have learned to participate in the practical activities of agricultural mechanization actively. Only through such practice hardening can the students of ZIME realize that the book knowledge can only be transformed into themselves in practice skills possessed; only after practice baptism, the road will go farther and wider.