ACOR is an agricultural cooperative comprised by members from Castilla y León located in different sectors of activity, which started out with sugar beets. The Sociedad Cooperativa General Agropecuaria ACOR was formally established on January 25th, 1962, although it was not until five years later when they become the first sugar factory in operating constituted by a farmers' cooperative in Spain. In addition to sugar beets, ACOR works with sunflowers and rapeseed, which are collected by its partners and delivered to the town of Olmedo, Valladolid , where the sugar factory and the oil and oilseed treatment factory are located. Currently, ACOR is made up of more than 4,400 partners.
The cooperative's turnover exceeds 100 million euros. Likewise, the attributable turnover of the sum of all investee companies exceeds 200 million.
The number of employees on staff is over 350 and this number rises to more than 500 during the beet campaign.
Join the challenges
Acor is launching two open challenges to the startup community for the innovation of new products, services and strategic corporate areas. The corporation is looking for solutions across two verticals, with the aim of integrating the latest technological innovations into their current business model.
MONITORING AND OPTIMIZATION OF THE BEETROOT CUTTING BLADE SYSTEM IN SUGAR PRODUCTION PROCESSES
During the industrial process of sugar production, the beetroot is initially cut in a slicer which includes a system of knives. In this process, the beetroot is transformed into filaments (cossettes), thin strips into which sugar beets are cut as part of the sugar-making process. The optimal cut depends the efficiency of production, and as the knives are subject to a great deal of wear and tear during the process, a solution is needed that is capable of detecting the state of the knives, anticipating their replacement and being able to adapt when the change of cut reduces productivity. For all these reasons, the aim is to know, in real time and without technical stops, the state of the blades, to be able to foresee in advance when they will have to be replaced, and to obtain information to increase the useful life of these parts and increase the productivity of the whole process.
NEEDS AND OPPORTUNITIES OF THE CHALLENGE
- Reduction of technical stops
- Optimization of production times
- Data collection and analysis
- Predictive maintenance
- Minimizing human error
- Scale up the process to other mills and other plants
ANALYSIS OF PRESSED-IN-CONTINUOUS PULP MOISTURE
It is proposed to measure the moisture of the pressed pulp in continuous in order to be able to anticipate the conditions of reception of this pulp in the dryers. It is proposed to take discontinuous samples of the pulp on the turn-in conveyor to dryers, therefore, once it has been analysed, it can be returned to the same conveyor and the next measurement can be taken automatically. An accuracy of 0.1% moisture is expected. If the repeatability of the measurement were correct, the project could continue to measure the humidity of the pulp coming out of each dryer to regulate the temperature independently and individually, sending a signal to our control system and thus, optimizing the work of the next pelletizing process. Currently, the operator takes measurements in his shift manually and analyzes them in an independent equipment that uses drying technology. This measurement is slow. The continuous measurement project has been approached several times in the past without sufficient precision.
- Pulp moisture measurement with repeatability and 0.1% accuracy
- Anticipate variations in in-let moisture in the pulp dryer
- Avoiding safety problems in pelletizing by sending wet pulp out of the dryer
- Optimization of the dryer temperature
- Optimize the natural gas consumption of the dryer