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A Technical Review of Lawn Mower Technology

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This paper summarizes and reviews different technological developments for making efficient and cost effective lawn mowers. Such lawn mower may be powered by solar energy, conventional electric and internal combustion engine. For each type of energy source mentioned above, we discuss the mechanisms followed for lawn mower device, design, and analysis and experimental, results obtained in various literatures. Sometimes two such energy sources may be used in combination, like solar powered robotic lawn mower.
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A Technical Review of Lawn Mower Technology
Dutta P.P., Baruah A., Konwar A., Kumar V.
Department of Mechanical Engineering, Tezpur University
Napaam, Sonitpur, Assam-784028, INDIA
ppdutta@tezu.ernet.in
arunjoy_meb12@agnee.tezu.ernet.in
abhigyan_meb12@agnee.tezu.ernet.in
vinod_meb12@agnee.tezu.ernet.in
Abstract: This paper summarizes and reviews different
technological developments for making efficient and cost
effective lawn mowers. Such lawn mower may be powered by
solar energy, conventional electric and internal combustion
engine. For each type of energy source mentioned above, we
discuss the mechanisms followed for lawn mower device, design,
and analysis and experimental, results obtained in various
literatures. Sometimes two such energy sources may be used in
combination, like solar powered robotic lawn mower.
Key words: lawn mower, solar energy, sensor, motor, battery,
exhaust.
I. INTRODUCTION
Lawn mowers are classified based on different criteria. For
example, according to the axis of rotation of blades we may
have reel lawn mowers (in which the axis is horizontal) and
rotary lawn mowers (in which the axis is vertical). Again
based on the energy source we may have gasoline driven,
electricity driven or hand driven lawn mower. Over the years,
there have been numerous developments in lawn mower
technology. But with technological advancement there also
arises the need to check the impact of machines on the
environment as well as on man. Pollution is the major concern
with the conventional gas powered lawn mower. Human effort
is another factor that needs to be reduced. In this paper we
look at different mechanisms that have been innovated to
increase efficiency of lawn mower operation and research
development work going on in respective designs.
II. SOLAR POWERED LAWN MOWER MODELS
Dipin and Chandrasekhar [1] studied solar powered vision
based Robotic Lawn Mower. It showed the design of a
microcontroller and sensor based robotic lawn mower
mechanism. This robotic mowing device was solar powered
and its battery gets charged from sunlight while mowing on
the lawn or even manually. Ultrasonic sensors were used for
avoiding obstacles and humidity sensor for checking humidity
level in the lawn. PIR sensor was used to detect human
interaction near the device in operation. Android smart phone
was used for capturing images of the lawn as per requirement.
This design is targeted as an alternate green option against the
popular but environmentally hazardous gas powered lawn
mower. The design is built on a mobile robot which
communicates with a computer through a zigbee module. A
GUI (Graphical User Interface) has been created in MATLAB
for the selection of cutting design/pattern of the lawn by the
operator.
Tanimola et al. [2] studied on design and development of a
solar powered lawn mower. They tried to achieve a solar
powered lawn mower model that used solar energy with the
help of a solar panel and solar photovoltaic cells to run an
electric motor. The electric motor was coupled to the cutting
blades. The photons from sun hit the photovoltaic cell and as a
result, flow of electrons start leading to direct current. A 1.5
HP motor is used and a 12 V battery supply electric power to
run the motor. They performed detailed analysis to estimate
the torque produced in the blade and whether it is sufficient to
perform the intended job. Also stress analysis was performed
for the frame and the handle of the lawn mower. After design
and development of the lawn mower, it was tested on four
different species of grass.
Satwik et al. [3] performed design and fabrication of lever
operated solar lawn mower and contact stress analysis of spur
gears. They tried to develop a height adjustable mechanism
for the cutting blade. The mechanism involves a pair of spur
gears of different face width and a lever which adjusts the
rotor height such that the smaller spur gear slides on the face
width of the larger spur gear. An arduino board was used to
control the speed of the rotor blade and obstacle detection.
Solar panel receives sunlight and powers the battery which in
turn runs the motor. Battery and motor selection were done
after design analysis of blade. Active stresses on the spur
gears are calculated by using AGMA and Hertz equation and
also Finite Element Analysis (Fig.1 and Fig.2).
Fig 1: CAD model of lawn mower
Fig 2: Gears mounted of different face widths
III. AUTOMATIC LAWN MOWER MODELS
Newstadt et al. [4] studied on a GPS-aided autonomous
lawnmower. They tried to develop an efficient hybrid lawn
mower. It consisted of a modified DGPS (Differential global
positioning receiver system), a modified chassis, new wheel
encoders, a more advanced control system, digital compass
and a safety system. Furthermore acoustic sensors and a laser
ranging systems had been added in order to supply obstacle
detection capabilities. The DGPS system based on carrier
phase measurements provided accuracy at the centimeter level.
This lawnmower was lightweight, yet robust for operation. It
was framed with angle iron. The mounting surfaces were
shielded with high strength steel sheeting with plywood
covering the steel. Furthermore, a shelving system was
incorporated to offer the maximum flexibility to the layout
and construction. A new shaft coupling mechanism was
fabricated to link the gas engine to the alternator shaft and the
engine. It consisted of control software to control the path
planning through the remote base station for testing and
monitoring purposes. The digital compass was used to
compute the azimuth angle of a lawn mower. Furthermore, a
reliable safety system was implemented onboard with a
remote controlled emergency stop.
Patil et al. [5] studied on design and implementation of
automatic lawn cutter. They developed a cordless automatic
lawn mower so that the user could specify the area to be
mowed and also the height of the grass as per their
requirement by using the keypad. The design contains a
microcontroller like Atmega 16, multiple sensors, LCD
display and keyboard. The microcontroller Atmega 16 was
used for analog to digital conversions from the sensors. It also
controls the speed of the wheels. The battery can be charged
by using power supply and solar panel. A sensor ADXL335 is
used which is an accelerometer to detect orientation based on
pre calibrated axis orientation. Further a high performance
sonar module is used to detect an object in its vision from 20
feet away. And for inserting input a keyboard is used. Three
DC motors are used. One DC motor is connected to the linear
blade and others are connected to the wheels.
Ray Jarvis [6] studied on tele-autonomous heavy duty
robotic lawn mower. It concerned with development of a
heavy duty lawn mowing machine that was richly
instrumented with sensors and computational support. This
provided a hybrid capability between pure tele-operation and
full automation. In this model the author used a tri-level
control strategy where the three levels of control were reactive
(low level), anticipatory (middle level) and planning (top
level). The two lower levels (reactive and anticipatory)
basically provide local support for obstacle collision
avoidance at both an imminent and local level, with the top
level planning being provided by the operator. The
instruments used in the model were Erwin Sick scanning laser
range finder (up to 50 meters range), Phase mode/ Differential
Global Positioning System Optical Gyroscope (with vertical
axis), Stereo Video Camera Pair, Web Camera (with its own
IP address), Long Range Laser Rangefinder (up to 400
meters),Denning Bar Code Reading Localizer ( up to 30
meters) etc.
Chandler et al. [7] reported on the next generation
autonomous lawn mower. The developed autonomous
lawnmower robot was capable of learning its environment
through training. Once learned, the robot would be capable of
navigating through its environment that avoided obstacles by
means of its sensors. The mower could operate using machine
learning techniques. This allows the mower to recognize
objects in the mowing area like flower beds, sidewalks, trees,
driveways, etc., using computer vision. The use of vision will
allow the mower to determine whether it is cut or uncut grass
and act accordingly in a pattern. The mower would need
training by a human operator in order to learn what objects to
avoid and where and how to mow. If the mower realizes
where a bare patch of yard is, it can release fertilizer to
promote the growth of grass, or release ant killer if it comes
across an ant hill. This makes the mower a "lawn maintainer"
instead of just a lawnmower. Sensors for obstacle avoidance
and range detection were computer vision system, infrared
sensors and sonar. A local positioning system (LPS) allowed
the mower to know where it was in the yard. All these sensors
combined so that the mower can make informed decisions
about its environment. The mower would also need to charge
its batteries. This is done with the help of a charging station
placed somewhere in the mowing area.
Singh and Singh Mehta [8] performed design and analysis
of wireless remote controlled lawn mower. They tried to make
a smaller, lighter, efficient, environment friendly and direct
current powered lawn mower for better handling and
endurance. An adjustable cutting height motor was introduced
for better mowing of grass at intricate locations (Fig.3). An
innovative design was made and stress and deflection analysis
was performed by using ANSYS (Fig.4, Fig.5). The stresses
developed and deflection of various elements of mower has
been shown in the form of colour coding.
Fig 3: CAD model
Fig 4: Von Mises Stress
Fig 5: Deflection of base
Sujendran and Vanitha P [9] reported on smart lawn
mower for grass trimming operation. They presented a model
of an automated lawn mower that consists of linear blades
operated with the help of a motor. The power supply of the
motor was a battery that could be charged either by electricity
or by solar panel. An infra-red sensor was provided for
obstacle detection that prevents possible hardware damage. A
path planning algorithm was proposed by the authors in whom
they tried to achieve three modes-minimum time mode,
minimum energy mode and mixed mode. However, this was a
compromise between the other two modes. As shown in the
circuit diagram, the battery runs the motor this in turn actuates
the blades. The solar panel recharges the battery. The height
of cutting is adjusted by means of a link mechanism via a lift
rod. A simple flow chart provided by the authors for
movement of the lawn mower (Fig.7).
Fig 6: Circuit diagram of the model
Fig 7: Flow chart of the model
IV. GAS POWERED LAWN MOWER MODELS
Sujendran and Vanitha [10] reported on exhaust emissions
from four stroke lawn mower internal combustion engines.
The studies characterized exhaust emissions from new and in
use four stroke lawn mower engines. The impact of
reformulated fuel on emission rates and composition was
examined by testing two fuels: (1) A 1990 baseline gasoline
and (2) A reformulated gasoline (CaRFG). The various
instruments used for the test experiments were emission
analyzers, engine dynamometer controller and constant
volume sample that were used to collect the data during the
exhaust emissions test. The data were entered into the
computer in real time. Exhaust gas emissions were generated
by operating the engines over the composite six mode test
cycle. The exhaust emissions test were conducted on 10
engines which had different values of displacement, age and
time in use, rated power, maximum test torque and different
types of valves. It was found that as compared to the to the
baseline gasoline, the reformulated was an oxygenated fuel
that has lower olefin and aromatic levels, lower T 90
(temperature at which 90% of the fuel boils-off), and lower
Reid vapor pressure. The CaRFG gasoline also had a lower
sulfur content that enabled catalysts to operate at higher
conversion efficiencies in reducing pollutant emissions. The
author concluded that lower NMOG (non methane organic
gas), CO, RWE (reactivity weighted emissions) and aggregate
toxic emission rates were observed with the newer mowers
and with the reformulated gasoline. Conversely higher NOx
emission rates were observed with these same engines and
fuel.
V. STUDIES UNDERTAKEN BY AUTHORS
With the literature reviews presented above, an effort has
been directed to design a low cost manual / power operated
lawn mower. For development of the lawn mower locally
available standard parts and materials will be utilized
considering the low cost and development simplicity factors.
The computer aided drafting of the proposed low cost lawn
mower is presented in Fig.8 below.
Fig.8 CAD model of propped low cost lawn mower
IV. CONCLUSIONS
It has been observed that literature pertaining to lawn
mower design and development is comparatively lesser. In the
present studies, different aspects of solar powered, plug on
electric, guided lawn mower have been presented. With this
background, the present studies direct design and development
of a low cost manual / electric lawn mower. It has also been
observed that the technological variations of commercially
available lawn mower are not abundant. Mostly domestic
lawn mowers are powered with gasoline engine and operating
cost for such lawn mower is around Rs.300-400/- per day
excluding labour charges. It is expected that low cost
improved manual / electric lawn mower once developed, the
operating cost for such system is expected to come down in
future.
REFERENCES
[1] A.Dipin and T.K .Chandrashekhar , “Solar powered vision based
robotic lawn mower,” International Journal of Engineering Research
and Reviews ,vol. 2, pp: 53-56, April 2014 - June 2014.
[2] O. A Tanimola, P. D Diabana, and Y. O. Bankole ,“Design and
development of a solar powered lawn mower,” International Journal of
Scientific & Engineering Research, vol. 5,June-2014.
[3] D.Satwik, N.Ramalingeswara Rao, SreeramReddy, “Design and
fabrication of lever operated solar lawn mower and contact stress
analysis of spur gears,” International Journal of Science, Engineering
and Technology Research, vol. 4, August-2015.
[4] G. Newstadt , K. Green, D. Anderson, M. Lang, Y. Morton, and J.
McCollum , Miami Redblade III: A GPS-aided Autonomous
Lawnmower.
[5] P. Patil, A. Bhosale, S. Jagtap, “ Design and implementation of
automatic lawn cutter,”
[6] Ray Jarvis , “A tele-autonomous heavy-duty robotic lawn mower,”
proc.2001 Australian conference on Robotics and Automation Sydney,
Nov 14-15,2001.
[7] Rand C. Chandler, A. Antonio Arroyo, Michael Nechyba , Eric
Schwartz , “The next generation autonomous lawn mower,” 2000
Florida Conference on Recent Advances in Robotics, May 4-5, 2000,
Florida Atlantic University.
[8] H. Singh, J. Singh Mehta, “Design and analysis of wireless remote
controlled lawn mower,” SSRG International Journal of Mechanical
Engineering, April 2015.
[9] S. Sujendran, P. Vanitha , “Smart Lawn Mower for Grass Trimming,”
IJSR ,vol 3, Issue 3, March 2014
[10] Peter Gabele , “ Exhaust emissions from four stroke lawn mower
engines,” Journal of Air & Waste Manage. Assoc. 47:945-952, vol. 47,
Sept.1997.
.
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