The proposed paper describes the design of an industrial machine prototype (the ROD Picker) which will be used for rod processing in Short Rotation Coppice (SRC) farms. This device has been developed under the collaboration of six partners from four different countries: Egedal Maskinfabrik A/S - Denmark, Salix Energi Europa AB - Sweden, Lempe Gbr - Germany, TTZ Bremerhaven – Germany, TU Dresden – Germany and U.P. from Timisoara – Romania (information regarding the project is available at http://rod- picker.eu/).
SRC farms are considered as having an increasingly important role in the agricultural development of efficient biomass production. Using fast growing trees species (willow, poplar or eucalyptus) bio-energy can be produced, thus contributing in two major directions of the EU strategy: tripling the use of renewable energy resources by 2020 and decreasing the impact of wood industry requirements on domestic forest resources. Consequently, increased attention has been focused on exploiting fast growing trees species. Processing of energy plants is currently a process in which the majority of the tasks are performed manually. This reflects on the overall performance of production. After harvesting of the wood material during winter months, cutting of plants at specific dimensions is done manually. With obvious limitations, this manual labor will be replaced by an automated process which integrates state of the art technology. The purpose is that of increasing wood biomass production efficiency.
The ROD Picker prototype is innovative machinery designed for harvesting, cutting and packaging the wood material coming from SRC farms. Experimental results and extended functionality test confirm that the concept of this prototype has been properly constructed.