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How Sweet It Is

Brazilian sugarcane growers are now able to harvest their crop in larger bulk thanks to a new Alcoa-designed lightweight aluminum truck trailer.

Alcoa worked with Sergomel, a Brazilian truck and trailer bodies manufacturer, to develop a fuel-efficient aluminum transport in cooperation with the Sugarcane Technology Center, the industry’s research and development group based in Brazil. Thanks to aluminum extrusions in the trailer body and forged aluminum wheels, the Alcoa solution is about 35% lighter than its steel counterpart, a seven-ton reduction. This means the sugar haulers can carry more sugar, known as increased “payload” in the trucking industry, consume 7% less fuel, and enjoy a consequent reduction CO2 emissions.

“The aluminum-bodied sugarcane hauler provides both significant cost and environmental advantages to this market. It is lighter yet stronger than steel offerings and allows for greater payload. The unit, because it is made of aluminum, is infinitely recyclable,” said Reginaldo Otsu, marketing analyst for Alcoa Extruded Products in Latin America.

Sergomel Product Engineer Adriano Terra said, “With changes in the market and the competition, we’re in a constant search for solutions for the sugar and alcohol market. It is important that we partner with major companies like Alcoa to create these solutions.”

The new aluminum sugarcane hauler can be configured to different body compositions -- bi-train, multiple trailer, road-train, half-trailer -- in sugar and alcohol production mills with mechanized harvesting. Currently, two of Brazil’s top sugarcane manufacturers are testing the new haulers.


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Alcoa Brazil worked with Brazilian truck-trailer manufacturer Sergomel to develop an aluminum trailer for the sugarcane mechanical harvesting market. The new hauler is significantly lighter than comparable steel haulers.
Photos courtesy of Alcoa