Sensor helps reduce fires in Sugar Cane harvesters

March 27, 2023

The drought and fire season in Brazil’s Center-South region significantly affects the production of sugar cane crops, besides bringing with it collateral problems such as health risks for operators and damage to the environment. The months from July to September are the most critical in the region, the heat and the strong winds contribute to the spread of fire and bring damage to the field.

To control risks and minimize environmental impacts, BP Bunge Bioenergia, one of the largest sugar cane processors in Brazil, adopts intelligent strategies that contribute to the reduction of burnings in sugar cane harvester operations. The company has invested in the creation of a prevention system, focusing its efforts on the strict control of temperature rise in its equipment and on preventing damage caused by fire.

After good results with its initial strategies, the company went even further and invested in the DynaPredict solution to further improve its monitoring plan. At first, as previously reported, BP Bunge conducted a pilot test with Dynamox technology in one of the harvesters in its current fleet.

The pilot project took place during the burning season. With very satisfactory results, the company opted to expand the monitoring to 5 more harvesters. The results of this expansion are presented below.

Criticality of harvester operations and the incidence of fires

Within the harvesting process in sugar cane fields, a variety of assets are required to carry out the activities. Among them, harvesters, sugar cane trucks, and some other vehicles are crucial.

According to data collected by BP Bunge, about 80% of failures in equipment used in sugar cane harvesting occur in harvesters. The increase in temperature in the machine’s rollers was indicated as the main cause of failures, with 60% of incidence.

sensor Cane harvesters

Based on this data, the company established as an internal goal the extinction of failures caused by overheating in harvester rollers by the end of 2023. Thus, drastically reducing the total number of failures in vehicles.

Results with Harvester Monitoring Expansion

Moving forward with the use of DynaLoggers in remote monitoring, 5 more harvesters started to be monitored by BP Bunge. During this period, 4 A2 level alerts (most critical alert) were issued by the DynaPredict Platform, informing the maintenance team of the assets’ conditions. With this, it was possible to reduce the risk of fire in the machinery.

This measure signals to the operator the need to assess the situation of the equipment at the right time. Before the use of DynaLoggers, the sugarcane harvester operator made, on average, 3 manual temperature measurements per day on the machine rollers and needed about 10 minutes for each collection.

Today the reality in the field is different. The use of the sensor gives greater freedom in monitoring the field. Thus, through technology it is possible to optimize time, resource and productivity.

As previously mentioned, the company’s goal is to reduce 100% of overheating and fire outbreaks in harvesters by December 2023. For this purpose, the maintenance team intends to expand the project to the rest of the fleet, in addition to disseminating the project to all of its 11 agribusiness units.

Positive impacts of the DynaPredict solution in crop monitoring

When talking about technology it is common to relate the benefits of a product directly to its technical specifications. Following this logic, the gains when investing in a product are limited and predictable. For this reason, Dynamox is concerned about offering much more than just a product, Dynamox offers solutions.
Far beyond the obvious gains such as the optimization of maintenance processes, the partnership between BP Bunge and Dynamox also significantly impacted the lives of employees and the surrounding community.

The predictive maintenance, supported by the use of DynaLoggers, has brought more safety to the harvester operator, who is protected from health risks. On the other hand, the local community and the environment are also winners with the reduction of CO2 emissions and the preservation of local fauna.

Innovation is about crossing barriers and reaching unlikely places. How about joining the team of people who innovate and bring technology to your predictive maintenance plan? Contact us!

Want to learn more about the application of wireless sensors in fire prevention on equipment rollers? Also read this article about the main causes of fires in conveyor belts.

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