Date of Award

Spring 2020

Document Type

Thesis - SCU Access Only


Santa Clara : Santa Clara University, 2020.


Mechanical Engineering

First Advisor

Christopher Kitts

Second Advisor

Godfrey Mungal


The agricultural industry is responsible for feeding over 7 billion humans, but even as it serves so many, companies in the agricultural sector are suffering from a labor shortage. Traina Foods is one such company that deals in the manufacturing of dried fruit, producing millions of pounds of fruit each year. They are, however, rapidly becoming unprofitable as the costs of labor rise. Following a visit to one of their farms, the ESPR (Electric Stacking and Placement Robot) was ideated to reduce their reliance on manual labor for the labor-intensive tasks of stacking and placing trays of fruit. In this paper, we detail the design for a robot that can manipulate several trays of fruit more safely and efficiently than a human. We created the CAD assembly for a prototype and performed analyses to ensure that performance specs could be hit reliably throughout the life cycle of the project. Testing was also performed on full-scale motors and controllers to show that control of the various actuators of the ESPR was feasible. Due to the COVID-19 epidemic, the construction of the prototype will have to be completed by a future group, and technical revisions on tray alignment will have to be tested. The robot will also have to be redesigned to incorporate autonomous navigation features and mobility. We believe that the work done this year shows that the concept of the ESPR is feasible, and further work will yield functional results in the field.

SCU Access Only

To access this paper, please log into or create an account in Scholar Commons using your email address.