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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 there various indoor activities, including the concept, numerical simulation, development and testing of mechatronic components for the agricultural and forestry sector, such as some specifically-developed measuring tools.


Areas of research and study include:

  • crop, operative, environmental and performance monitoring;
  • agricultural machinery power generation, power delivery, safety and 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 based on 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;
  • concept and first tests of a consumption-meter system for agricultural engines.

 

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;
  • three complete IT workstations equipped with a large range of programs (a 3D-CAD, a FEM-program suite, a GIS, a scientific calculation environment and a visual-programming environment for measuring systems).

 

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 to 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 analyzer (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 some internal combustion engines (in common with C0.02a).

 

Location

Room C0.02

Head

Marco Bietresato

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