Brazil is the world’s leading producer of sugar cane, with a harvest of more than 700 million tonnes of sugar cane per year on some 9 million hectares. This corresponds to more than 40 percent of the world harvest. The sector’s contribution to the economy of Brazil outshines the entire GDP of many countries, and more than a million Brazilians work in the industry.
Sugar cane cultivation in Brazil dates back to the mid-1500s. Traditionally, sugar cane had always been harvested by hand. Now, however, 95 percent of the stalks are hauled in mechanically, thus improving working conditions and increasing productivity.
Sugar cane harvesters showing problems during testing
Case IH, a leading manufacturer of harvesting machines and a division of CNH Industrial, had a problem with its MR 8800 Multi-Row sugar cane harvesters. During a project validation phase, the initial design proposal for the frontal base-cutter hub gearbox did not achieve the predicted lifetime. The environmental and actual field operating conditions were more difficult than predicted in virtual models, and as a result axial clearance, seal wear, contaminant penetration and grease leakage were damaging the hub bearing.
We turned to SKF and started investigating how to improve the design.
Anderson Moreno, coordinator of engineering services, Case IH
“It didn’t have the acceptable level of durability that Case’s customers require,” says Anderson Moreno, coordinator of engineering services for Case IH at the Piracicaba plant. “There were problems in the field, and the number of operating hours was too low. We turned to SKF and started investigating how to improve the design for a second loop of tests.”