Small-Scale Hop Harvester and Hop Baler Designs Made Public!

We are very happy to announce that the designs for the small-scale hops harvester are now available through the UVM Extension Northwest Crops and Soils Instructional Wiki! To access the documents you will need to login and agree to the terms and conditions.  We would like to encourage discussions, so please leave your comments on how the design has worked for you and any tweaks or improvements that you’ve made.

Many, many thanks to the project funders: UVM Extension; Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Foods and Markets; Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources; and the USDA.  This project would not have been possible without the aid of Heather Darby, UVM Extension Agronomic Specialist; Rosalie Madden, UVM Extension Crops and Soils Technician; Roger Rainville, Borderview Farm; Eugene L’Etoile, Four Star Farms; Paul Hendler, Shaftsbury, VT; Trevor Lewis, Mad Mountain Hops; Mark Magiera, Bobcat Cafe and Brewery; Dave Bister, Fabrication Manager, Triangle Metal Fab; and Chris Callahan, Callahan Engineering, PLLC.

We also partnered with the UVM College of Engineering and Mathematical Sciences to design a small-scale hops baler.  Seniors in the Electrical Engineering and Mechanical Engineering Programs in the School of Engineering at UVM take a year-long “capstone” course that challenges students to design and fabricate solutions to  multidisciplinary problems. This unusual course is critical to preparation for the students’ post-academic world: it moves them from textbook assignments to project-driven activities typically experienced by an employed engineer; and it requires that they collaborate across typical academic boundaries and interact with working engineers.

SEED (Senior Experience in Engineering Design) is a products and systems design course. Projects originate as statements of need from regional companies, start-ups, individuals, state agencies and consumer groups, as well as faculty research groups. They are conducted by teams of students, typically three to five, with the direct, continuous involvement of the faculty as well as engineers and other professionals from partner organizations. The culmination of each project is a prototype device meant to address the stated need.

We were lucky enough to get two teams working on the baler project.  Ian Pfeiffer and Brian Pinand did an excellent job completing the first prototype, and the designs for modifying a log-splitter into a small-scale hops baler are also available on the Instructional Wiki!  This project was funded in part by the Vermont Agricultural Innovation Center through the United States Department of Agriculture, Rural Development. These funds were secured through the efforts of Senator Patrick Leahy.

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