M. S. Thesis Abstract

Automated Manipulation of Dynamic Natural Objects

Hrishikesh Pramod Gogate

April 1998


This thesis investigates the problem of locating and manipulating dynamic natural objects, whose motion is unknown and difficult to model. The automated transfer of live broilers from a conveyor to a shackle line at the poultry processing plant is examined as a specific example. The broilers are randomly placed onto a conveyor and must be separated and oriented in a pre-specified pose for subsequent transfer to a shackle line.

The thesis establishes an engineering basis for the design and control of an automated manipulator, which  separates and orients the dynamic natural objects for asubsequent transfer process. The system consists of a conveyor and two counter-rotating cylinders with a number of rubber bristles attached to their outside surface. By independently controlling the speed of the conveyor and the two cylinders, the natural objects can be separated into single file and their orientation affected in a consistent manner. Specifically a design for such a manipulator is presented and the manipulator is tested with live broilers. The dynamics of the manipulator is modeled and the motion of a natural object as it passes through the manipulator is simulated. The combination of experimental testing and simulation provides a basis for incorporating the natural behavior of objects into a computer-controlled system.

This research has immediate application in the poultry industry where the transfer of live birds is an expensive and unpleasant task and automation is highly desirable.