A mechanical date-picker developed by Xinjiang Machinery Research Institute Co Ltd in the Urumqi Economic and Technological Development Zone (Toutunhe district) is expected to be launched in the market at the end of this year, according to a local report on April 18.
Generally speaking, a worker can pick about 400 to 500 kilograms of dates every day. The mechanical date-picker can pick eight tons of dates every day, equivalent to the work done by 20 workers.
In recent days, the mechanical date-picker has entered the final stage of testing of its comprehensive functions, the last before it enters the market. It can quickly pick fruits without bruising them or breaking branches.
The mechanical date-picker is about 1.7 meters high and looks like a tractor. [Photo by Qi Yeqing/uetd.gov.cn]
Employees are busy in the plant. [Photo by Qi Yeqing/uetd.gov.cn]
According to Zhang Xun, the leader of the company's date-picker project, after half a year's market research, the company found that fruit-picking in all the date plantations in Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region is done by manpower. There are nearly 10 million mu (0.67 hectare) of dates in the autonomous region and manual picking is costly and inefficient. Therefore the company began to research and develop a date-picking machine.
Gao Xiangqing, a manager at the company, said that the company's annual spending on R&D on new products accounts for more than 10 percent of its production value. This year it invested nearly 10 million yuan in R&D of a ditching machine, which is also expected to enter the market this year.
"The company will develop more products that help with labor-intensive jobs in agriculture and facilitate the industry's upgrading and transformation," said Gao Xiangqing.
Xinjiang Machinery Research Institute Co Ltd is a high-tech enterprise and demonstration company of technological innovation in the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region. It owns more than 60 varieties of self-developed products in seven categories. Currently 15 of its technologies are leading in the domestic market.