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Free University of Bozen-Bolzano

Laboratory for Agroforestry Engineering

Description

The Agricultural Mechanics research group uses this laboratory as a multipurpose space. The group performs various activities, including numerical simulation and development and testing of mechatronic components for the agricultural and forestry sector, such as some specifically developed measuring tools. Areas of research and teaching include:

  • crop, operative, environmental and performance monitoring;
  • agricultural machinery power generation;
  • power delivery;
  • safety;
  • ergonomics.

Among the activities carried out:

  • development and setup of a LiDAR-based 3D stereoscopic vision system for crop-monitoring applications;
  • development and testing of an unmanned terrestrial vehicle (UTV) lab starting from a bin-carrier field unit;
  • development of a numeric stability simulator for agricultural machines operating on sloping lands and building of a scaled model of an articulated tractor with Lego Mindstorms;
  • concept and development of a remotely-connected tilting sensor for chainsaws and its plastic storage box;
  • concept and first tests of a consumption-meter system.

Research activities related to agricultural motors and biofuels are performed in cooperation with the laboratory for Fluid Machines and Electrical Drives.

Research Focus

  • Agroforestry Innovations: identification of new products/processes to raise the environmental/economic yield of agroforestry productions in mountains (fixed/mobile utilities; machines for haying and harvesting; storage structures for products; new materials; logistics of transport; livestock facilities); energy and operative performances, safety and ergonomic conditions.
  • Safety and Materials: study of equipment, materials and working methods that increase safety conditions in agroforestry works and recreational activities (related to tourism and winter sports); prevention and protection from residual risks; personal protective equipment.
  • Intersectional Tecnotransfer: outline of foundational interdisciplinary methodological approaches; creation of an organisational, material and procedural framework to design and develop new technologies; identification of solutions for technology transfer.

Main Instrumentation

The laboratory includes a series of plant infrastructures that enhance the flexibility of use of this facility in the event of indoor activities. It is equipped with:

  • a compressed-air distribution point, industrial sockets powered by single and three-phase current distributed throughout the room;
  • a mechanical ventilation system;
  • a mobile hydraulic crane;
  • a transport cart suitable for moving barrels and motors.
  • The lab includes three complete IT workstations equipped with a large range of applications:
  • a 3D-CAD;
  • a FEM-programme suite;
  • a GIS;
  • a scientific calculation environment and a visual-programming environment for measuring systems.

There are different instruments for the modelling of agricultural processes and study of machines:

  • a GNSS (global navigation satellite system) antenna with the equipment required to geo-localise our instruments when they are operating on-site;
  • a series of NDVI (Normalized Difference Vegetation Index) and LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) sensors mounted on a remotely-controlled tracked rover used to scan vegetation (hence constituting a sort of ‘mobile unmanned terrestrial vehicle-UTV lab’ or simply a ‘mobile lab’), a phonometer (by Brüel & Kjær) and some vibration probes that can be connected to a rugged laptop, soundbook by Spectra;
  • a penetrometer for trees;
  • a penetrometer for soil;
  • an ultrasonic distance-meter;
  • several programmable Arduino-boards;
  • some Lego Mindstorms EV3 kits;
  • an industrial multi-gas analyser (VARIO plus industrial by MRU Air Fair);
  • an opacimeter for diesel exhaust gases (OpTrans 1600 by MRU Air Fair;
  • a prototypal chrono-gravimetric fuel-consumption meter and internal combustion engines (in common with C0.02a).

 

Location

Room C0.02

Head

Marco Bietresato

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