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Automated Hop Twining Machinery and Technology Development

This project is to assist S.S. Steiner, Inc. in attempting to develop a twining machine for mechanical hop twining operations. The first phase is to prove a conceptual device for knot tying on an overhead cable via a laboratory scale feasibility study. This 6-month project was actually kicked off in August 5, 2010. The process includes the design of a conceptual knot tying device, ordering components, testing device fabrication, and system tuning and operational tests.

The completed conceptual device showed it could perform all designated functions, but test results indicated that there are some improvements needed and modifications would be necessary to have the device operate reliably and accurately under continuous operation. Since the primary goal of this project phase was proof of concept and the developed testing system has demonstrated its capability to perform the desired functions, it is reasonable to conclude that the developed conceptual device is capable of performing mechanical knot tying. The remaining challenges include improvement of accuracy and reliability, and how to integrate the device on a field platform.

If you would like more information about this topic or other developments in agriculture, contact Dr. Qin Zhang