The Covid-19 outbreak and consequent measures taken by government to combat its spread have highlighted the importance of food supply, says motors and drives company SEW Eurodrive MD Raymond Obermeyer.
“We will ensure that we reconsider the areas that we believe will benefit the agriculture sector,” he tells Engineering News, adding that the company will continue to improve the efficiency and supply of its Industry 4.0 technologies, while using digitalisation more to assist customers in the agriculture sector.
Obermeyer says SEW Eurodrive continued to assist all businesses in the essential services sector throughout the national lockdown period, especially the agriculture sector, as it is a crucial link in the food supply chain.
He says the company continued to see its condition-monitoring technology being used throughout the lockdown in all the industries that it services. SEW-Eurodrive’s IE3- and IE4-compliant motor and drive series continued to be used in fruit packaging, where keeping operating costs low is important because the “majority of the agriculture sector finds itself in a marginal survival mode”.
SEW Eurodrive is promoting its range of transmission solutions to assist sugar millers in cutting costs to remain viable.
Obermeyer says the main opportunity in this market segment is not only upgrading old and outdated systems, but also adding value to independent power producers (IPPs) in the sugar industry.
In March, sugar producer Illovo Sugar MD Mamongae Mahlare was quoted by a news publication as stating that IPPs provide “a critical lifeline” for the sugar industry, which faced constraints such as the sugar tax and falling prices for exports.
Obermeyer believes that SEW Eurodrive’s energy-efficient solutions are key to assist sugar millers in producing their own power by burning cane fibre, using real-time power-saving solutions to produce the same results from older existing equipment and applications. Such transmission solutions potentially produce more output power or torque by drawing even less power from the grid.
Applications for these mechanical and electrical transmission solutions in the sugar industry include milling tandems, bagasse conveyors, juice agitators, clarifiers, crystallisers and sugar dryers.
SEW Eurodrive can supply high ingress protection, high IE3 efficiency classes and the high thermal-class ratings of standard International Electrotechnical Commission motors to the sugar industry.
Other solutions include SEW Eurodrive’s MIG high-torque energy efficient mechanical drive system. These units read the output load continuously and adjust the required power needed to drive the application, in addition to saving energy.