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International Journal of Scientific Research Engineering & Technology (IJSRET), ISSN 2278 0882

Volume 3, Issue 6, September 2014

Development of rotary weeder blades by Finite Element Method


Mr. Mahesh Gavali 1, Mr. Satish Kulkarni 2
1

PG Student, Textile and Engineering Institute, Ichalkaranji, Maharashtra


Professor, Mechanical Engg, PVPIT College of Engg. Budhgaon, Maharashtra

ABSTRACT
Weeds are plants which are considered undesirable in
agriculture and gardening. The process of removal of
these weeds from crops is called weeding. Weeders are
mechanical machines which are used for weed removal.
The paper discusses about design develop and optimize
blades used for these an effort is made to reduce power
required to drive these machines and to increase the life
of these blades using the blades with lowest stress
profiles. Various blade parameters are selected for
optimizing the blade design. The stress profiles are
obtained by using finite element software Hyper- works.
By increasing the life and lowering the power required
the effectiveness of the mechanical weeders can be
increased. The costs associated with mechanical weeding
such as operating cost can be lowered; as such
mechanical weeding can represent a viable and cost
effective option to majority of medium and small scale
farmers in developing countries like India.
Keywords - weeding, weeders, blade, CAD, FEM, stress
analysis.

I.

INTRODUCTION

Agriculture is the main occupation in majority of


developing nations such as India, Brazil, etc. One major
reasons for lack of yield per unit agricultural area in
these nations are weeds. Weeds compete for space,
nutrients, water and light with crops. The losses caused
by weeds can be particularly significant in vegetable
crops and cash crops such as sugarcane Majority of the
population in developing nations depends on agriculture
and agro-based industries and businesses. Lack of
mechanization or automation is one of the major
roadblocks to improving the productivity of agriculture.
Major reason for lack agricultural productivity is weeds.
Most farmers cant afford these machines as the costs
associated namely; operating and initial costs are high
compared to other weed removal methods Rotary tilling
is a widely used tillage operation in Indian farming

because of its superior ability to mix, flatten and


pulverize soil. Rotary Tilling is a more effective
mechanism for mixing and digging soil. No matter the
soil type, soil conditions or the amount of residue,
Rotary operation will always produce the best result.
The Rotary weeder can be made to operate various
working depths widths and soil conditions. The rotating
blades chop and mix the residues evenly throughout
the
working
depth, outperforming any other
mechanism[3] [4] .

II.

BLADE
DESIGN
CONFIGURATION

AND

Blades of the rotor are the components which directly


interact with soil and as such have major impact on the
operation of the weeders. The material used for
manufacturing machines could be changed but this
increases the associated costs significantly. The way of
reducing the power requirement and to improve the life
of machine is to improve geometry of blade. The
interaction between soil and machines takes place at the
blades; thus by improving their geometry the power
required and the size of machine will reduce. The blade
is designed & developed using the popular blades
designs used in market available weeders as base. Using
CAD and FEM techniques afterwards for finalizing the
geometry. The finalized geometry not only reduces the
power required but also decreases the cost of
manufacture. The weight of machine is also reduced as
smaller power source (engine) will be required to power
the machine which will reduce the operating cost of the
machine.

In rotary weeders, blades are attached to a flange


mounted on a rotating shaft usually by nuts & bolts
shown in Fig. 1. Commonly three types of blade
geometries are used as blades for weeders and
tillers; namely:
1) L-shaped Blades
2) C-Shaped Blades

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International Journal of Scientific Research Engineering & Technology (IJSRET), ISSN 2278 0882
Volume 3, Issue 6, September 2014

TABLE I: Soil Types & Properties

3) J- Shaped Blades
Sr.
No.

Type of
Soil

Soil
Resistance
(Kg/cm2)

Optimum
Moisture
Content (%)

1
2
3
4

Sandy soil
Sandy loam
Clay soil
Heavy
loam

0.21
0.34
0.4-0.56
0.5-0.7

3.5
5.8
7.18
13.3

III.

Fig. 1 Blades Assembly used in Weeders

Fig.2 Blade Geometries used in Tilling and weeding


machines.
C shaped blades have greater curvature, so they are
recommended for penetration in hard field and better
performance in heavy and wet soils. J Shaped blades are
used for loosening, destroying the soil surface
compaction and giving better ventilation to the soil
generally used for tilling hard and wet soils. L shaped
blades are the most common widely used for the fields
with crop residue, removing weeds [2] [6]. Based above
investigation L shaped blade design is selected as base
for geometry generation.
Most soils found in India such as Black Cotton soil,
Alluvial soil, Literate or red soil, etc. are classified on
the basis of their base content such as sand base, loam
base or clay base. The properties of these soils which are
found most important in the design of weeding machine
are base content, moisture content & bulk density [1]
[6]
.Some of the properties of common soils are described
in Table I [1] [3].

BLADE GEOMETRY & CAD


MODELLING

Blade geometry is based on the L shaped blade as it is


most suitable for weed removal purpose. Solid model of
the blade is prepared in CAD Software CATIA. L
shaped blades commonly used for rotavators and
weeders are taken base and hence are taken as a base
model for this design. Fig. 3 shows the three views of
the selected blade profile. Four different blade profiles
made using CATIA software. Each of these models were
analyzed for Maximum stress and displacement using a
FEM Software Hyperworks. Based on the results found
the final blade profile has been selected. The important
parameters such as blade width, overall vertical length,
overall horizontal length, thickness, etc., related to blade
profile are given in Table II. These parameters are
selected on basis of common requirements for weeder
such as depth of 40-50mm, width of 150-300mm, etc.
These blades are to be fastened on cutter or flange as
shown Fig.1. Total Diameter of the Blade fastened
flange should around 400 to 450mm.
TABLE II
Blade Parameters
Sr.
Symbol
Used
No.
Name
and Unit
Values
1
Blade Width
w mm
20-30 mm
Overall Vertical
2
Length
Lv mm
120 mm
Overall Horizontal
120-140
3
Length
Lh mm
mm
Blade clearance
4
angle

20-25
5
Blade Thickness
t mm
5 mm
Max Curvature
6
R mm
40 mm
Radius

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International Journal of Scientific Research Engineering & Technology (IJSRET), ISSN 2278 0882
Volume 3, Issue 6, September 2014

Fig. 4 3-D view of Blade showing the various forces and


constraints

IV.

Fig. 3 Blade Deign Details


From Table II it can be seen that blade width, overall
horizontal length and clearance angle are varied and four
different blade configurations are prepared based on L4
array of Taguchi methods. With this array three
parameters; width, horizontal length & clearance angle
are varied within two limits. The rest of the parameters
are same as those shown above in Fig. 3 and Table II.
The four different blade configurations are shown in
Table III.
Four CAD models are made based on above parameters
and keeping other parameters constant. Fig. 4 shows
Isometric view of the blade geometry and the forces
acting on the blade.

Sr.
No.

Blade
Design

Blade
Width
w mm

Blade 1

30

Overall
Horizontal
length
Lh mm
140

Blade 2

20

140

20

Blade 3

20

120

25

Blade 4

30

120

20

Clearance
Angle
25

Two major forces are known to act on a rotating blade


used for tilling or digging operations. [3] [6]: Tangential
Force acting at the tip of the blade as shown Fig. 4. Soil
force acts perpendicular to the cutting edge of the blade.
Soil force for analysis is considered as a uniformly
distributed load acting along the cutting edge. Tangential
Force Kt is given by [6];

Kt

75CsNccz
u min

[1]

Soil force Ks acting on the sharpened edge of the blade is


given by [6];

Ks

TABLE III
Different Blade Designs based on L4 array

CALCULATION OF FORCES &


ANALYSIS

KtCp
iZene

[2]

Where;
Cs is the non-reliability factor equal to 1.5 for non-rocky
soils and 2 for rocky soils,
Nc is the power of the machine taken as 1 kW for small
weeding machine,
c is traction efficiency taken as 80%,
z is coefficient of reservation of power taken as 0.8,
umin is minimum peripheral velocity taken as 0.5 m/s,
Cp is coefficient of tangential force taken as 0.8,
I is numbers of flanges taken as 1,
Ze is number of blades on each side of the flange taken
as 3

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International Journal of Scientific Research Engineering & Technology (IJSRET), ISSN 2278 0882
Volume 3, Issue 6, September 2014

Following input data are used for the force analysis:


Speed of cutter = 250rpm
Number of flanges = 1
Total number of blades =6
Blades on each side of flange =3

ne

Numberof Blades interacting with soil


Total numberof Blades

The properties of material used for analysis shown in


Table IV. The material is most common structural
material mild steel (C20 Steel) which is case hardened to
improve hardness.
TABLE IV: Blade Material Properties
Material
Modulus
Poissons
Bulk
of
Ratio
Density
Elasticity
kg/m3
MPa
Mild Steel

V.

2.1 E+05

0.3

7.9 E-09

Fig.6 Displacement Contours of different Blades

FEM ANALYSIS

The CAD Model prepared in CATIA is imported into


Hyperworks. The model is divided into elements using
3D meshing. Using tetra-type volume meshing triangular
2D & 3D elements are created. Materials, properties and
loads are created & applied to models of Blade 1, 2, 3 &
4. A load step was created to perform a linear static
analysis in RADIOSS module of Hyperworks. The
results viewed and analyzed using Hyperview module of
Hyperworks. Displacement and Von Mises Stress
contours shown respectively in Figs 6 & 7 were
analyzed to select best possible blade geometry to reduce
power requirement and increase life of the blades.
Calculated values of Tangential Force (Kt) & Soil Force
(Ks) are 2523.055 N & 4036.9 N respectively.
Fig.7 Stress Contours of different Blades

VI.

Fig. 5 Blade model meshed

RESULTS

Fig.6 & Fig. 7 indicate displacement and stress contours


of different blade profiles. The red regions in the Fig.6 &
Fig. 7 represent high levels of displacement & stress, the
yellow & green represent moderate levels and blue
regions represent low levels. Maximum displacement
and stress for various blade designs enumerated and
compared in Table V.

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International Journal of Scientific Research Engineering & Technology (IJSRET), ISSN 2278 0882
Volume 3, Issue 6, September 2014

TABLE V
Comparison after linear stress analysis
Sr.
Blade
Maximum
Von
No.
Displacement
Mises
mm
Stress
MPa
1
Blade 1
0.1125
130.5
2

Blade 2

0.2125

152

Blade 3

0.1617

161.7

Blade 4

0.1017

111.3

Blade 4 shows least maximum displacement and stress.


Hence Blade 4 geometry should be used as optimized
blade design.

VII.

CONCLUSION

CAD CAE & FEM are useful tools for analyzing


stresses and deformations in design of complex
geometries. Weeders are used for removal of weeds in
between rows of crops. For a single row rotary weeder
the power required can be lowered by optimizing the
blade and minimizing stresses. Above analysis revels
that L shaped geometry Blade 4 configuration shows
lowest displacement (deformation) and stresses. Hence
Blade 4 geometry should perform better in the field than
others. Further field study should be needed to verify
these results.

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