Modelling and Simulation for Analysis of Sugarcane Transport Systems

B.C. McDonald, E. Dube, and C. Bezuidenhout (South Africa)


Simulation, transport, sugarcane, statistical methods. 1 The South African sugar supply chain is currently facing many challenges. The sugar price is low, while infrastruc ture and management costs are steadily rising. A compo nent that immediately identifies itself as an area of great im portance is the transportation segment of the supply chain. Sugarcane transportation comprises of a large and complex network of activities. At a single mill, transport can involve hundreds of operators


Transport systems typically evolve as networks over time, which may result in system rigidity and cause changes to become expensive and time consuming. This study de velops a transport model, named TranSwarm, which sim ulates sugarcane harvesting, transport and mill yard activ ities for a mill supply area. The aim was to (i) simulate produce flow, and (ii) allow individual working entities to make decisions, driven by rules and protocols, and based on their micro-environments. Noodsberg mill was selected as a case study because of low levels of synchronization. Growers operate independent harvesting and transport sys tems causing inconsistent convergence at the mill. This di verse and fragmented system provided a suitable environ ment to construct a model that would consider interactions between individual growers and their respective transport systems. Ideally, by assessing the micro-decisions of in dividuals and how they influence the larger holistic supply chain, TranSwarm quantifies the impacts of different types of transport practices, such as staggering shift changes and transport scheduling.

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