From field to industry: raw material screening meets market demands for sustainability and efficiency

Automated traceability ensures accurate and reliable information on the origin and trajectory of the raw material, bringing benefits such as efficient management, increased productivity and proof of information for sustainability and product quality certifications.


21 September 2021

Sustainability, productivity and risk reduction. These are some of the main reasons that are leading companies and consumers to seek the origin of the products they purchase. In this scenario, being able to identify details about the origin and transport of raw material has become an increasing need for managers and agricultural producers. Technology is an ally in the process, ensuring the automated control of the entire path of the inputs, from the field to its destination in the industry.

"In the old days, this raw material tracing was done with manual notes and identification labels. The problem is that, in large production areas, with hundreds of machines working on displacements and transfers of raw material on the same day, it is very easy to get lost in this screening," comments Bernardo de Castro, president of Hexagon's Agriculture division — a company that develops and provides technologies for the field. According to him, today, this traceability is already done with the support of advanced hardware, software and communication resources, reducing human intervention and the risk of failures.

In the case of sugarcane, for example - where Brazil is the world's largest producer — the traceability system offered by Hexagon has three stages. First, during the cutting process, there is a communication between displays installed in the harvesters and those of the haul-outs, with the sending of the data captured in the harvesting operation. Then, the haul-outs pair their information with taggers (devices) from the carts or trucks that will take the sugarcane to the industry. During the journey, these taggers also include data on the exact trajectory that each volume of raw material is making. Finally, when arriving at the final destination, all the information is transmitted from the taggers to the reception systems of the industries, being stored and accounted for in their management and control software.

"We provide reliable information from every step of the process through advanced and robust machine-to-machine communication features. This is fundamental for rural manager, as it dispenses with the requirement of internet connections, avoiding that the connectivity challenges that still exist in the Brazilian field impair the screening of the raw material," explains Bernardo.

6 benefits of raw material traceability

Accurate management — The system not only provides the origin and the exact path travelled by the raw material, but also data such as the ID of the equipment and the operators involved in the activities, areas and duration of the harvest, total meters collected and other telemetry information. Thus, companies are able to work with accurate data, which facilitates efficient business management and reduces the chances of errors.

Productivity — Traceability is also fundamental for a productivity diagnosis: knowing exactly which area of the plantation came from, it is possible to verify whether the investment made, and the techniques applied generated results or not. This helps management to define the strategies of the next harvest for an increasingly productive production.

Agile logistics — Another benefit of screening that also collaborates with productivity is the greater agility given to transport logistics operations, since it is no longer necessary to create manual notes or identification labels, which required greater human participation during operations.

Control of payments — Working with third-party land is quite common in the field, especially in some crops such as sugarcane. In these cases, raw material traceability is important for carrying out reliable audits and confirming that payments are being made correctly, according to the load received exactly from the registered location.

Consumer assurance — Consumers are increasingly concerned about the quality and origin of products purchased, evaluating points such as the application of chemical substances or whether the goods are organic. Thinking about these future trends, screening is an excellent way to guarantee the consumer accurate information on the origin of the product.

Proof for certifications — This tracking is also valid for companies seeking national and international quality certifications, since it makes it possible to prove the complete tracking of the raw material used from the planting history and crop treatments applied, to its harvest and processing batch in the industry.