Beneficial loading configurations to increase sugarcane haulage vehicle performance
International Sugar Journal
School of Bioresources Engineering and Environmental Hydrology, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Private Bag x01, Scottsville, 3209, South Africa
Transport remains one of the main cost components in the sugarcane supply chain. A wide range of sugarcane vehicles have been designed while considering various factors, such as cane density, safety, economics and the law. Payload remains one of the most important design criteria. Although on-board weighing technologies can result in significant benefits, these technologies are not always appropriate. Payload management without these technologies remain challenging because sugarcane densities can vary significantly based on variety, yield, recent growing conditions, lodging and the amount of trash included. The aim of this research was to assess factors that contribute to incorrect payloads and to produce simple guidelines for loader operators. Two common vehicles were analysed with respect to their design densities and axle loadings. It is concluded that some vehicles pose a greater risk of being over- or under-loaded. Also, an uneven loading profile results in a more even axle load distribution, compared to flat bed loading. This emphasises the need to provide sufficient training to drivers and loading operators. It also demands that vehicle operators need to fully understand their vehicles' specifications and limitations and to manage them accordingly.