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Sugarcane Mills Focus on New Technologies to Optimize Production

Florianópolis, Brazil– Hexagon’s Agriculture division recently hosted HxGN LOCAL Cana e Tecnologia with a select group of representatives from the largest sugarcane mills in Brazil.

The search for new technologies capable of solving the main challenges of sugarcane plantations is a central concern within the sugar and alcohol industries. At the HxGN LOCAL event, held on November 8 in Ribeirão Preto, IT managers from Brazil main sugarcane mills discussed digital solutions that may increase productivity and profitability for their farms. Presentations included case studies using these technologies in practice to optimise processes and resources with innovative tools.

Hexagon presented the HXGN AgrOn platform, a tool that enables planning, execution, monitoring and automation of operations throughout the cycles of cultivation, harvesting and transportation of sugarcane. The platform is already used by large companies in the sector, such as São Martinho and Cevasa.

“Digital transformation will increasingly be the dividing line between successful farms and unsuccessful farms,” said Bernardo de Castro, president of Hexagon’s Agriculture division. “There is no more room for companies with outdated technologies. Innovation is the way to ensure greater productivity and profitability.”

Fleet automation is quickly becoming a competitive necessity for sugarcane plantations. São Martinho, one of the largest sugar and ethanol companies in the world, has a fleet of 293 vehicles, which run about 90 thousand kilometers per day — the equivalent of two laps around Earth. Rafael Peluco, agronomic technical support for agricultural quality with São Martinho, said that the company sought a partnership to support the company's robust structure, because 76% of the group's costs are in agricultural processes. São Martinho acquired 1,700 Hexagon Onboard Controllers, which ensure accurate monitoring and automation of agricultural operations.

Cevasa has also leveraged this technology. Josias Rufino, supervisor of agricultural control with the company, said that until 2016 Cevasa still had no mapping of its farms. Since then, however, the company has invested in technology to monitor all harvesting and loading equipment so that information would reach the managers quickly. The result was reduced process costs, including reduction of downtime and fuel consumption. This year, Cevasa received the Mastercana award, one of the biggest recognitions of the sugar and alcohol industry. Hexagon is the technology supplier of the plant.

Carlos Alberto Rodrigues, coordinator of agricultural automation with Nova América, attended the event with two objectives: to seek new subsidies for the company's evaluation of existing technologies in the market and to find use cases for success. Nova América is testing the Hexagon Onboard Controllers.

“I came to understand the economic viability that made São Martinho replace its technological solutions with Hexagon products,.” he said. “I went personally to take the test, which t showed on the monitors was exactly what happened on the ground.”.

Debora Marques Medici, agro-industrial program manager for Raízen, also participated in the event with the purpose of verifying how the sugar and alcohol industry has responded to new technologies. She highlighted the significant participation of agribusiness in the event.

“It is very good to see the interest of the segment for new technologies and worrying about the professionalisation of the field,” she said. “There is no monopoly, and all are growing in a sustainable way.” Raízen has optimised the agricultural processes of its 19 units with the Hexagon Control Room solution.


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