Bale quality and baler operational and economic performance as a function of working speeds and windrowed sugarcane trash volumes
Energy cogeneration from sugarcane trash generally occurs through mechanical baling. This work evaluates the influence of baler speed and windrowed sugarcane trash volume on the operational, economic performance, and quality of prismatic bales produced by a baler. The experiment was carried out in a sugarcane production area, using a baler that produces rectangular prismatic bales, driven by a tractor with 161.81 kW nominal power. The experimental design was completely randomized in a 2 x 2 factorial scheme, consisting of two windrowed trash volumes (50 and 90%) and two working speeds (3 and 5 km h-1), with six replicates. The following were evaluated: mineral impurity, dry weight, and volume of bales, as well as fuel consumption, operational capacity, costs, and economic efficiency of baling. Bale volume was not influenced by windrowed trash volume and baler speed. Higher windrowed trash volume provided lower cost per bale and higher mineral impurity index and dry weight of bales. Hourly fuel consumption, operational field capacity, and bale production increased with increasing speed. The highest economic efficiency is obtained with higher speed and windrowed trash volume.
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