Engineering solutions company BMG’s Boer Slim and/or Smart-Farming agricultural team works closely with farmers throughout Southern Africa, assisting them with the selection, installation and operation of new electromechanical systems.
These projects are designed to improve efficiencies, reduce energy consumption and limit maintenance requirements.
“Farming operations are not only facing the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic, which has affected every industry globally, but farmers also need to cope with power supply limitations and the rising costs of electricity and water consumption, as well as crippling labour, capital equipment investment and maintenance expenses,” says BMG agricultural manager Carlo Beukes.
He highlights that BMG’s team of agricultural experts is working even harder during lockdown, to offer local farmers sustainability solutions that focus on effective food production.
“With the Smart-Farming initiative, we are assisting farmers with cost-efficient solutions to improve crop production output, enhancing the efficiencies of every operation by conserving power consumption and reducing downtime, and implementing practical maintenance programmes. It is even more critical now to ensure that there are adequate supplies of fresh foods for an anxious and vulnerable population. For this reason, we are also assisting farmers to expand production to include the supply of additional produce.”
In a recent project, the BMG team assisted a local farmer who wanted to accelerate his tobacco drying process and expand crop production, but was restricted by power supply limitations. After the installation of BMG electronic variable-speed drives (VSDs), the farmer can run 22 tobacco drying containers at once, where previously he could only run and alternate between nine drying containers at any one time. As a result, he has more than doubled his crop production output.
There are also no more noticeable voltage dips when the process is started up and wear and tear on mechanical components is reduced. Production is also less labour intensive, which reduces his shift costs.
BMG has also assisted a farmer in the Barkly West area, in the Northern Cape, who was limited by a power supply of only 200 KVA, about 300 A, to significantly reduce the cost of irrigation a hectare.
After the installation of VSDs on all pump sets, the power supply is used more efficiently, resulting in improved crop production and allowing for the expansion of the farmer’s maize crop to include pecan nuts.
Danfoss VLT AQUA Drive FC 202 VSDs, which offer additional energy savings, compared with traditional VSD controls, have been designed for water and wastewater applications, including irrigation. These VSDs have been fitted to all pumps in this installation and are controlled by pressure transducers that are set to match the varying demands of different irrigation requirements. The only peripheral component required was a pressure transducer. Pump controllers and valves were not necessary for flow control in this system.
A notable feature of the Danfoss VSDs includes a soft start/stop facility, which prevents water hammer on starting and stopping the pumps, thus reducing the possibility of burst pipes. Wear and tear on couplings, pumps and pipes is also reduced.
These VSDs are available from BMG in IP55-rated enclosures, which do not require dedicated panels. This eliminates the need for additional cooling and ventilation, normally required to extract heat during operation.
To ensure absolute dependability and the highest performance of these systems, BMG was responsible for the installation and commissioning of these projects. BMG is an authorised DrivePro service partner of Danfoss.
With a projected annual power saving of 155 491 kW/h, BMG expects the farmer to benefit from cost savings of about R108 444, with a payback time of less than 12 months.
BMG says it provides solutions to all key players in the agriculture sector – including local manufacturers of equipment and implements, as well as agricultural re-sellers and the farmer – to assist with the continued supply of fresh foods during the Covid-19 pandemic.