Expocacer announces production line for specialty coffee classification

Brazilian coffee growing, especially in the Cerrado Mineiro region, has become known for its sustainable techniques and innovative coffee production systems. Technology is used throughout the coffee chain, from production to consumption, and helps to improve the quality of the coffee beans, increase exports and diversify the market. The Cerrado Coffee Growers’ Cooperative (Expocacer) is launching an industrial production line exclusively for the classification of specialty coffee, focusing on the meticulous quality of the beans, in small volumes of up to 3,600 kg per hour.

“The machinery is 100% automated, with 108 options for grain classification routes. This automation system makes it possible to control KPIs (production and maintenance control indexes), as well as having an Artificial Intelligence sensor to control predictive maintenance. It was designed to work with high quality coffee, in a more selective way, aiming for higher yields, better selection and classification of the beans,” said Célio Barreto, Expocacer’s innovation and technology manager.

The Expocacer’s machinery park at Storage Units I and II, has 4 coffee classification production lines capable of producing up to 500 bags of 60kg per hour, equivalent to 30,000 kg/h.

The vanguard cooperative has also been working with AI sensors for predictive prevention. The sensors monitor the machinery’s vibrations and temperature in real time, informing the producers where and when predictive maintenance should be carried out without affecting the pace of production. This technology has led to a 20% reduction in maintenance costs and a 10% increase in machinery availability.

Today, Expocacer’s warehouses are moving towards excellence in Industry 4.0, which stands for industrial automation and the integration of different technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), automation and robotics, IoT (internet of things) and cloud computing, with the aim of promoting the decentralisation of human action in production processes, using automation and technology to connect the entire operation, speeding up processes and increasing productivity. These systems incorporate intelligence into machines, thereby optimising and automating production, allowing information to be generated and the various stages of our value chain to be connected.

“Due to the transformational impact of AI and “digital twin” technologies, our industry is becoming increasingly autonomous, with a new workflow that uses virtual simulation of the operation as a reference and allows us to test new layouts and identify new processes using IoT in every machine on the production line. The application of these technologies allows us to reduce the cycle time of the operation, optimising spaces, processes and operational efficiency without costly physical changes,” explained Expocacer’s operations and logistics director, Flávia Madureira.

By integrating innovations into coffee production processes, coffee growers can also meet consumer demands for transparency and sustainability in the supply chain. Technology can be allied to the producer and the coffee industry at different stages such as cultivation and harvest, post-harvest, monitoring, quality control, traceability, automation and to evaluate the buyer’s experience.

Coffee growers also work with these technologies on their properties, such as smart irrigation, which are soil moisture sensors and weather stations used to monitor environmental conditions and control the irrigation system precisely and efficiently. Machine learning algorithms are also applied to optimise water use, ensuring that plants receive the right amount of water at the right time.

In the Cerrado Mineiro, systems are also used for automatic grain selection and classification, data management, mechanized harvesting, fertigation and precise nutrition, among others.

“We are always looking to offer producers and consumers the best and newest production techniques, always combined with sustainability. The future is fertile ground for innovation and creativity,” concluded Célio Barreto.

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