Thai en­gi­neer de­vel­ops un­manned su­gar­cane har­vester

The Myanmar Times - - Asean Focus -

FOL­LOW­ING his suc­cess in de­vel­op­ing a prototype of a su­gar­cane har­vester that costs less than half the price of an im­ported one, re­tired en­gi­neer Boon­yarit Suwan­nasarn is now work­ing on an un­manned ver­sion.

The prototype of the sec­ond model of his har­vester is about 90 per­cent com­plete and a team of 10 lo­cal me­chan­ics are putting the fin­ish­ing touches on it.

Mr Boon­yarit, 59, pre­vi­ously worked on an off­shore oil plat­form. He now lives in Sawankhalok district of Sukhothai prov­ince in cen­tral Thai­land, around 400 km north of Bangkok, and has turned his home into a work­shop for de­sign­ing and de­vel­op­ing cane har­vesters. His team spent about six months build­ing the prototype.

When com­pleted, the new model har­vester will not need a driver as the en­gine con­trol unit is from a drone and is equipped with a global po­si­tion­ing sys­tem, Mr Boon­yarit said.

The har­vester will work on its own, with only a sin­gle worker to mon­i­tor it from afar, sim­ply to en­sure that it does not tum­ble over if it hits a large hole and that the har­vested cane does not fall off as it is loaded onto a truck by the con­veyor belt, he said.

The en­gine con­trol unit in the sec­ond gen­er­a­tion har­vester cost only 5000 baht (K211,500), com­pared to 200,000 baht to 300,000 baht for the one used in an im­ported har­vester, he said.

“An im­ported cane har­vester usu­ally costs 13 mil­lion baht while this one will cost only about 6 mil­lion baht,” he said. “Im­ported har­vesters are full of sets of wires that cost 30,000 baht to 40,000 baht each. Our ver­sion is more or less wire­less.”

Mr Boon­yarit said be­ing lo­cally made meant it was also more convenient and more eco­nomic for the owner to main­tain and re­pair be­cause parts could be pur­chased lo­cally. The me­chan­i­cal and elec­tri­cal sys­tems are also far sim­pler, he said.

It is a com­bi­na­tion of out­stand­ing fea­tures adopted from both Amer­i­can and Aus­tralian-made cane har­vester tech­nol­ogy, he said.

The prototype has al­ready been used to cut more than 11,000 tonnes of cane. It oper­ated day and night and worked well, he said.

Mr Boon­yarit said his har­vester uses 200 litres of fuel less per day than an im­ported har­vester of the same class. It also cap­tures the juice from the cane dur­ing har­vest­ing more ef­fi­ciently, he said.

Photo: Bangkok Post

Boon­yarit Suwan­nasarn shows his un­manned su­gar­cane har­vester and its wire­less con­trol sys­tem in Sukhothai prov­ince.

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