Electric Pruning Shears Efficiency and Impact

Introduction
Electric pruning shears are very much in fashion at the moment despite their high cost (about USD 2000) as they spare the flexor muscles from a lot of effort in the fingers when pruning. The cutting head is mounted on a cylinder containing an electric motor and a command trigger. The blades are worked by a cam device or by a more flexible pulsing system. Cutting power is lower than in hydraulic or pneumatic secateurs but a progressive action of the blade on the main models provides good control when pruning. This type of assisted secateurs is easier to handle than the pneumatic secateurs and it gives the worker greater freedom as it is fed by electric batteries carried on a belt. The weight of the cutting head and, more particularly, that of the batteries (approx. 2 kg) is the main limiting factor at present. These secateurs are fragile and have high maintenance costs (around USD 1 200/year) .

Impact on health and livelihood
Farmers face several hand-wrist risk factors when performing tasks such as pruning, plant propagation, and weeding (Meyers, Miles, et al., 1997). These risk factors include poor wrist postures; very repetitive gripping, high-hand forces—specifically pinch forces, and contact stresses. Crop harvesting has several risk factors for hand and wrist disorders—high hand forces when pulling vegetables or fruit off plants or using cutting tools to remove crops (as the case of citrus), high hand repetitions—greater than 15 times per minute, static loads when cutting off crops, and awkward wrist postures (NIOSH, 2001; Meyers, Miles, et al., 2000). Vineyard workers face high stress on the hands during pruning of the grapevines under highly repetitive conditions (8 to 10 week period of intense and fast-paced work) (Janowitz, Tejeda, et al., 2000; Wakula and Landau, 2000; Wakula et al., 2000). Cutting grapes from the vine during harvesting also creates high stress on the hands and wrist through high repetition (25 to 50 cuts per minute), which includes contact stress between the knife and hand (Janowitz, Tejeda, et al., 2000;

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VINE PRUNING AND PRUNING TOOLS, University of Angers, France PHD Thesis

Prepared by George Abi Rizk.

Given electronic tools require less physical effort than manual tools with a probable consequent decrease in the likelihood of repetitive strain injuries. Astrid Newenhouse and Marcia Miquelon. Kermit G. The intervals during which the cut branches are removed allow the hand operating the prunes to rest and these obviously do not occur in the cutting only procedure. Because electric power makes the cuts. Ohio. Cincinnati. in individual workers using various types of prunes. Miles. In addition.e. Primary design differences between the prunes had already been established in the work system analysis. you will also reduce strain and fatigue in your arms. The study was made in Australia on vineyards 2 Understanding the Ergonomic Risk for Musculoskeletal Disorders in the United States Agricultural Sector. USA 3 Electronic pruners: faster and safer. Electronic pruners are considerably more efficient than manual pruners when cutting heavy stock. i. University of Cincinnati.Meyers. et al. et al. The high frequency of repetitive movements during vine pruning imposes a high strain on the hand-arm system. wrists.. 2000). even on thicker wood.. Larry Chapman.. Miles. Low Back Biomechanics and Workplace Stress Laboratory Department of Environmental Health. Hand fatigue after several hours can cause workers who use manual pruners to make slower. and fingers so you can more easily work for a longer period of time. hands. productivity may be increased over time. No differences were observed in the total strain caused by the various types of non-power pruning shears. Comparisons of different types of prunes were only performed intra-individually. a comparative study between electronic and manual tools used by the same operators on several days resulted the increase of 27 up to 50% in efficiency.D. The results of different trials reveal that cutting with powered tool is up to 30% more effective (according to productivity) than cutting with nonpowered hand tools. . Pruning of wine grape vines have also been found to have awkward postures of the shoulders (shoulder flexion and abduction exceeding 130°) (Meyers. neck extension occurs when the farm workers do tasks above their heads in tasks such as fruit harvesting and grape pruning (Meyers. The University of Wisconsin Prepared by George Abi Rizk. 2000). et al. 2000)2. Clean cuts reduce the risk of infection in the pruning wound3. but with electronic pruners you get a smooth clean cut hour after hour. Ph. Miles. more ragged cuts. Work efficiency In addition to above proven reduction of strain injury. Davis.

Table 2 . a novice pruner using the Electrocoup could achieve work productivity comparable with the best professional pruner within a very short time. productivity. In trials. An Ancient River research program carried out in June 2005 5 Electric pruning could deliver improved efficiency. resulting in faster training. . The major advantage of the Electrocoup is that it shortens the learning curve for novice pruners and reduces physical effort. Since the Electrocoup shear is operated with only one hand this would enable the operator to have one hand free to hold the ladder or tree branch increasing safety at greater heights. safety and skills. fewer work-related injuries and fewer limitations on the age and level of experience of the workforce. fewer work-related injuries and fewer limitations on the age and level of experience of the workforce.Productivity increase of Electronic over manual4 * Lowest of Day 8 or 9 ** Day 4 *** Electronic separate measurement day 12 Social impact Productivity gains from the Electrocoup are related to difference in price small. Dr Ryde James & Robert McWilliam. but there are significant advantages in a shorter learning curve for novice pruners and a reduction in physical effort. Benefits of using the Electrocoup include faster training. Australian National University Prepared by George Abi Rizk. The Electrocoup secateurs are also more easily used by workers who are ambidextrous. 4 Electrifying the vineyard. Results are detailed in the table here below. School of Resources. Environment and Society.where a gang of 9 workers used three types of electronic pruning shears in addition to their manual pruning shears over 15 days. Novice pruners could not make this improvement using conventional equipment5. Benchmarking the effect on productivity of using Electronic Secateurs in vineyard pruning.

Economical efficiency With a 40% lift in productivity. This means a yearly payment of USD 600 is added to the pruner bills when shifting to electronic pruning shears through buying an Electrocoup. the Electrocoup worth its cost. A pruning shear which can cut a 60mm branch is clearly able to remove a finger. It is thought that this will be a safer method of working than the current method with manual shears. The holding of a saw in the non-operating hand keeps pruners’ fingers well clear of the cutting blade and provides a tool for cutting exceptionally large branches. This may be a potential income for pruners to compensate the high initial capital cost (around $2000) of the equipment. and an average 25 pruning days is the minimum employment per year in this activity. Prepared by George Abi Rizk. It is perceived that less physically capable workers will be able to prune with this equipment. An increase of 40 % in efficiency means an increase of USD 600 of pruner’s income per year which makes the equivalent to the yearly payment for the tool. other trees can be pruned in winter. Price $2. spring and summer providing for a continual employment all year round. Chain male gloves or a glove of similar nature may also be required to protect the operator.Currently manual pruning is carried out by a workforce that is fit and predominantly male. Assuming that the rate paid for experienced pruners in Lebanese orchards is of USD 60 per day. the operators used ladders for support and their free hand to grasp the tree for stability. which is one of the negative attribute of the pruner6. the cost of this technology is economically sensible depending on the amount of use it will get. . The life stand of this equipment is of 5 years which makes that the depreciation is of USD 400 per year. Unlike orchard pruning. 6 References are available upon request. When pruning the second or third lifts. Use of the Electrocoup shears may widen the current age range and gender of the work force. A safety concern exists regarding the non-operating hand. The worker will stand on the ladder with both legs in a normal posture.000 Depreciation $400 Maintenance per year $200 Yearly payments $600 Efficiency 40% Life stand (years) 5 Yearly pruning days 25 Pruner daily cost $60 Potential increase of yearly income $600 Assuming the price of Electrocoupe (electronic pruning shear) is equivalent to USD 2000 and maintenance of USD 200 is required every year. Working at USD 60 rates per day over 25 days is equivalent to USD 1500.

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