Development and testing of a self-propelled machine for combined potato harvesting and residual plastic film retrieval




Ju, Yuanjin
Sun, Wei
Zhao, Zhiwei
Wang, Hucun
Liu, Xiaolong
Zhang, Hua
Li, Hui
Simionescu, Petru A.

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A self-propelled machine for combined potato harvesting and residual plastic film retrieval is presented in this paper. The machine was designed collaboratively and built at the College of Mechano-Electronic Engineering of Gansu Agricultural University. It is intended for slow slope and horizontal terraces in hilly and mountainous areas of Northwest China, where regular-size harvesters cannot operate. The machine can realize the combined operations of potato digging, potato separation from soil and plastic film, potato collection and bagging, and residual plastic film retrieval. Through engineering analyses, the main systems of the machine were calculated, and their operating parameters were estimated. These include the digging and lifting device, the potato–plastic-film separation device, and the residual plastic film retrieval device. Field tests were performed at a 0.5 m/s driving speed of the machine, while the linear speed of the lifting chain of the digging and lifting device was 1.5 m/s, the tilting angle of the conveying chain of the potato and plastic film separation device was 50◦ , its linear speed was 0.6 m/s, and the linear speed of the lifting screen of the circulating lifting device was 0.7 m/s. With these settings, the average productivity of the machine was 0.12 ha/h. The loss rate, damage rate, and potato bruising rate were 1.8%, 1.4%, and 2.8%, respectively; the potato impurity rate was 3.6%; and the residual plastic film retrieval rate was 83%—all above industry standards. This research provides a solution to the problem of mechanized potato harvesting and plastic mulch retrieval on small, slopped plots of land in Northwest China and in other parts of the world where similar conditions exist.



self-propelled potato harvester, residual plastic film retrieval, small farm mechanization


This research was funded by the Key Scientific and Technological Program of Gansu Province (22ZD6NA046), the Gansu Provincial University Industry Support Plan (2022CYZC-42), and the 2022 Gansu Province Excellent Graduate Student “Innovation Star” Project (2022CXZX-640).


Attribution 4.0 International


Ju, Y.; Sun, W.; Zhao, Z.; Wang, H.; Liu, X.; Zhang, H.; Li, H.; Simionescu, P.A. Development and Testing of a Self-Propelled Machine for Combined Potato Harvesting and Residual Plastic Film Retrieval. Machines 2023, 11, 432. https://