The present invention relates to mobile harvesters such as grape
and raisin harvesters. In the past, the length of such harvesters have been minimized
making the harvester easier to handle, and a result harvesters tend to be wider.
Narrower rows in crops such as grapes are desirable, but the prior are harvesters
are too wide to harvest in narrower rows.
The inventive narrow harvester has a pair of longitudinal conveyors
with a horizontal portions extending from the front wheels to the rear wheels and
an inclined portion that rise above the rear wheels. The conveyors are L-shaped
and placed to allow the wheels to be adjacent to the chassis allowing a narrow
harvester, and so that the harvester is open in the front, allowing a wider passage
for plants to pass through the front of the vehicle.
The present invention provides a narrow harvester, which is able
to harvest in narrower rows.
Figure 1 is a side elevation of a narrow harvester of the present
Figure 2 is a rear elevation of the first embodiment of the narrow
harvester having a discharge conveyor positioned to receive the harvested grapes
or raisins and discharge them into a truck or container.
Figure 3 is a top view of the narrow harvester.
Figure 4 is a sectional view of one of the longitudinal conveying
systems with parts cut away.
Figure 5 is a section taken along lines 5-5 of Figure 4 illustrating
several components of one of the conveying systems.
Figure 6 is a horizontal section taken along lines 6-6 of Figure
DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT
Having reference to the narrow harvester 30 (Figs. 1 and 2) of the
present invention illustrating an upper platform 32 on a main frame 33 which supports
a conventional engine 34 with the usual controls for operating the engine. The
engine and controls are supported on the upper platform 32 and are accessible by
a ladder 36 connected to the upper platform 32 and having steps 40 (Fig. 1).
The upper platform 32 is partially supported by the main frame 33
and a pair of small steerable front wheels 42, only one being shown in Figure 1.
Each front wheel 42 is journaled on an axle 44 which is welded to an upright steering
rods 46 (Fig. 1) that are pivotally connected to the upper platform 32. The steering
rods 46 are connected to the steering wheel 50 of the harvester 30 through a conventional
As illustrated in Figures 1 and 2, a pair of drive wheels 54 are
connected to the engine 34 by conventional drive systems.
As best shown in Figures 1 and 2, a pair of shaker heads 60 and 62
are mounted on the main frame 33 of the harvester 30 which has a plurality of radially
extending tines 64 that engage grapes or raisins and shake them free from the vines
(not shown). Each shaking head 60 and 62 is driven by hydraulic motor 63, only
one being shown in Figure 1.
As shown in Figures 1 and 2, the narrow harvester 30 includes two
longitudinal conveyor systems 66 with one system on each side of the harvester,
which systems include an endless horizontal portion 68 and an upwardly inclined
portion 70 which convey grapes and/or raisins to a discharge conveyor 72. after
passing through discharge chutes 73. Power driven blowers 74 are mounted on upwardly
inclined elevator housings for blowing leaves or the like free from the grapes.
The horizontal portion 68 is inline with the front wheels 42 and
the drive (or rear wheels) 54. In the specification and claims, that the horizontal
portion 68 is inline with the front wheels 42 and the drive (or rear wheels) 54
is defined as meaning the horizontal portion 68 extends between the front wheels
42 and the drive wheels (or rear wheels) 54, so that the horizontal portion 68
conveys the crop along a line A-A extending from the front wheels 42 and the rear
wheels 54. The upwardly inclined portion 70 extends from between the front wheels
42 and the rear wheels 54 to a position above the rear wheels 54. By extending
the horizontal portion between the front wheels 42 and the drive wheels 54, the
drive wheels 54 may be placed closer together than provided for in the prior art,
thus providing a narrow harvester.
Each conveying system 66 includes a plurality of plastic links 75
and 76 (Figs. 4, 5 and 6) that are pivotally connected together by elongated bolts
78 defining an endless plastic chain 80. End portions and intermediate portions
of the plastic chain 80 are each trained around plastic wheels 82. An upper chain
supporting shaft 85 is driven by a hydraulic motor 87. The plurality of plastic
links 76 have L-shaped hook portions 77.
As illustrated in Figures 4, 5 and 6, equally spaced flat steel bars
88 are bolted to the plastic links 76 and are slidably received on the upper surface
of a pair of steel guide tracks 89. An endless stretchable conveyor belt 90 is
bolted to the steel bars 88 and includes flexible inwardly angled side walls 92,
and upwardly and forwardly angled upstanding cross-bars 94 for retaining grapes
and raisins on the belt 90 while conveying them upwardly into the discharge conveyor
72 (Fig. 1). When the conveyor passes from the horizontal portion 68 to the upwardly
inclined portion 70 the L-shaped hook portions 77, grab the steel guide tracks
89 causing the conveyor 66 to make the bend. The endless plastic chain 80 extends
over the inclined portion 70, and folds under the inclined portion 70 and then
travels under the horizontal portion 68, to make an L-shape.
As illustrated in Figure 2, the harvested grapes or raisins fall
onto spring loaded plates 10 (Fig. 2) which are resiliently opened in response
to contacting the trunks of the grape vines and/or the trellis posts 11 (Fig. 2)
and are closed after passing the post due to the forward motion of the grape harvester.
Having further reference to the harvester 30 (Figs. 1, 2 and 3),
the elongated discharge conveyor 72 is pivotally supported by a vertical pivot
pin which permits the discharge conveyor 72 to be swung 90 degrees from a transport
position along one side of the harvester 30 and parallel to the longitudinal axis
of the harvester when driven between fields and roads or the like.
The shaker heads 60 and 62 are enclosed within removable arcuate
plastic curtains 95 which cause the grapes or raisins to fall onto inclined surfaces
99 (Figs. 1) which guide the grapes or raisins onto the horizontal portions 68
of the conveying system 66. The spring loaded plates 10 (Fig. 2) also aid in guiding
the grapes or raisins into the horizontal portion of the conveyor system 66.
In other embodiments of the invention, the rear wheels may be used
for steering. In other embodiment the harvester could have a two wheel drive or
a four wheel drive.
Although the best mode contemplated for carrying out the present
invention has been herein shown and described, it will be understood that modification
and variation may be made without departing from what is regarded to be the subject
matter of the invention.