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Spotlight: A Brazilian biofuel producer?´s tech investments
Publicado em 14/12/2020 às 16h09
Foto Notícia
UISA, one of Brazil?´s largest biofuel producers, is investing in artificial intelligence, internet of things (IoT), new management software and private networks to improve production efficiency and decrease operating costs.

The company, formerly called Usinas Itamarati, completed a project in February with US storage solutions provider Pure Storage, which deployed the FlashStack converged infrastructure, jointly developed by Pure and Cisco, and contracted Pure?´s Evergreen Storage subscription model for its operations.

By bringing storage equipment in-house, the biofuel producer reduced costs related to hosting contracts. This transformation resulted in annual savings of around 1.5mn reais (US$296,000), according to Pure Storage. The value of the contract with the US company was not disclosed.

The use of converged infrastructure should also serve as basis for UISA?´s projects in the sustainable segment, including irrigation and clean energy for municipal networks.

"Our goal is to change the way agribusiness is done in Brazil through technology, innovation and people," CTORodrigo Gonçalves said in a statement.

Using smart algorithms to process the large amount of field data, UISA could also increase efficiency and optimize harvest productivity, which in the case of sugarcane grew by 30%, to 25,660t/d.

ERP AND COLLABORATION

On another front, UISA migrated its SAP management system to the S/4 Hana platform. Previously, the group used the less powerful ECC version.

UISA also adopted Google?´s G Suite to organize all internal and external communication, from emails to meetings. The implementation includes protection against data leakage.

Both projects were coordinated by French IT consultancy Atos.

"The partnership between Atos and UISA opens a range of opportunities for developing solutions and projects. In the near future, the companies do not rule out expanding their digital transformation actions," said Atos in a statement this month.

PRIVATE NETWORKS

To ensure that the technology, especially sensors and applications in the field, runs smoothly, UISA contracted Telefônica Brasil to deploy a private 4G network on 88,000ha of the Guanabara farm.

The contract includes activation of narrow band IoT (NB-IoT) and long-term evolution for machines (LTE-M) technologies to support IoT applications.

The telecom operator will also be responsible for the physical infrastructure associated with the IoT project, including the construction of towers, electronic equipment for the provision of mobile services and 300 IoT devices.

RESTRUCTURING

These technology investments come in a context of restructuring at the biofuel producer, which came under the control of private equity fund CVCIB Holdings in 2019 and changed its name to UISA.

Recently, UISA reported pro forma net income for the first six months of the 2020/21 harvest season of 203mn reais, three times more than the previous season, while consolidated debt stood at 3.4bn reais.

Net revenue in the second quarter was 246mn reais, an increase of 3.9%. But net revenue for the first half fell 6.7% year-over-year to 420mn reais.

UISA operates an area of 90,000ha, of which 34,200ha are sugarcane plantations. Its digital transformation started about a year and a half ago.
Fonte: BNAmericas
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