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Compared to the traditionally used fuel-based pump, the cost of ownership of a SunCulture pump is 40-60% lower depending on payment plans. (Image source: Adobe Stock)

Being part of the Private Infrastructure Development Group (PIDG), InfraCo Africa in a recent announcement, mentioned its signing of an agreement with Savant Group Ltd, committing US$12mn to scale SunCulture’s solar irrigation offering across sub-Saharan Africa

The investment is part of the million dollar Series B fundraise set to deliver access to Internet-of-Things (IoT)-enabled solar powered irrigation systems to hundreds of thousands of smallholder farmers by 2030.

Solar-powered irrigation systems distribution company, SunCulture offers the design, manufacture, financing, installation, and maintenance of comprehensive solar irrigation systems with safe, low-voltage DC pumps that are capable of pumping up to 1,200 litres of water per hour. The solar PV systems include sprinklers, drip irrigation and battery storage which maximise efficiency of water use. 

Since a majority of water loss occurs due to evaporation, the solar PV systems works towards minimising evaporation, by enabling farmers to irrigate their land during the early hours of the morning, when evaporation is at its lowest. Moreover, it also targets individual plants, further avoiding wastage. These IoT-enabled systems include remote monitoring and predictive maintenance, with the battery systems also including domestic lighting, thus enabling farmers to charge small devices such as cellphones. 

“We are pleased to be joining Savant Group Ltd.’s other Series B investors to achieve financial close for SunCulture’s latest fundraise,” said InfraCo Africa’s chief investment and risk officer, Claire Jarratt. “Alongside our investment, InfraCo Africa’s involvement will support the company to further develop its HSES and governance frameworks as the company grows and seeks to enter new markets. SunCulture’s unique approach to leveraging consumer financing and carbon credits to reduce the upfront cost of its systems for farmers also aligns well with the PIDG strategy.”

SunCulture CEO, Samir Ibrahim also emphasised the significance of their collaboration with InfraCo Africa, referring to it as an important milestone beyond the financial perspective. “It signifies a powerful vote of confidence in our vision, team, and the potential of our company. There’s a lot of work to do, and we couldn’t be more excited to build with our investors,” Ibrahim said.

Purchase and payments

Compared to the traditionally used fuel-based pump, the cost of ownership of a SunCulture pump is 40-60% lower depending on payment plans and these pumps are offered to smallholder farmers through a Pay-As-You-Grow model. SunCulture is also the first African solar water pump provider to have registered for a carbon credit programme, having its emissions reductions independently verified by VERRA, thereby reducing the upfront cost of its pumps for smallholder farmers.

“With access to irrigation, farmers can increase their yields, ensuring greater food security for themselves and their families in the face of the impacts of climate change, and increased agricultural incomes can support wider sustainable economic growth and prosperity in rural areas,” added Jarratt.

VUELA sets new standards for efficiency, durability and ease of use in ventilation technology. (Image source: TPI-Polytechniek)

Global innovator and field ventilation solutions and components provider, TPI-Polytechniek recently introduced VUELA, an innovative ventilation inlet, designed to optimise airflow within facilities like never before

With its unique V-shaped valve, VUELA sets new standards for efficiency, durability and ease of use in ventilation technology. The device is equipped with an innovative V-shaped inner valve that guides air optimally under all conditions. This unique shape ensures that air jets penetrate deep into the facility, guaranteeing even and effective distribution of cool air.

Comparing this technology with traditional systems VUELA's performance really stands out. VUELA ensures unmatched control over the facility's ventilation. From a minimum capacity of 55 cfm at 0.05 SP at the minimum opening to an impressive maximum capacity of 1887 cfm at 0.15 SP at full opening, VUELA perfectly aligns with customers’ requirements.

These capacity ranges highlight not just VUELA’s versatility but also its commitment to delivering optimal performance under any circumstance. Moreover, the device comes equipped with the latest accessories and seals, including a new pulley unit made from durable ABS. This makes the system resistant to chemical and high-pressure cleaning while also being easy to maintain and assemble - a true revolution in the ease of ventilation maintenance.

Future potential

VUELA is specifically designed to easily replace the 145-VFG, making the transition to more efficient ventilation effortless. Without the need for extensive adjustments, VUELA offers a perfect fit. This puts efficient ventilation within reach. With this device, TPI-Polytechniek embraces the future of indoor air management, where efficiency, durability, and ease of use are essential. 

“After 25 years of producing our 145-VFG inlet series it’s time to set a new standard," said managing director TPI-Polytechniek, Loic van der Heijden. "We recognised the need for a ventilation solution that goes beyond conventional systems. We took all features found useful over the years and combined these in a whole new design. With identical dimensions to the original 145 series, VUELA can also easily replace 145 inlets.”

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The ZHKA 350 tipper semi-trailer is based on a lightweight, high-performance design for maximum transport efficiency. (Image source: Fliegl)

The innovative ZHKA 350 2-axle rear tipping semi-trailer has an aluminium body, offering a range of features designed for optimum performance and versatility

With a gross vehicle weight of approximately 31 tonnes and an unladen weight of approximately 6 tonnes, depending on the equipment, the ZHKA 350 offers an impressive payload. Thanks to the nova-grey curved frame front, which saves weight in favour of the payload and stabilises the frame, as vertically acting forces are optimally bundled and transferred to the fifth wheel coupling plate. 

Moreover, the presence of a steel guide on the underside of the curved chassis has a rounded shape, which makes manoeuvring easier, as there is more freedom of movement for the tractor unit without corner surfaces. In addition, 9,300 mm long aluminium body, being conical in shape, allows even moist materials like manure and silage to slide off easily, thus favouring the unloading of any agricultural transport goods. 

The rear wall with rubber seal and turnbuckles as well as the 400x400 mm grain hatch make the ZHKA 350 versatile for a wide range of transport goods, including grain and even rapeseed as well as moist loads such as manure. No liquid escapes, as the body is completely sealed. Particularly noteworthy is the pendulum rear wall with double-jointed hinges and double hook locking, which enables lateral levelling of up to 300 mm and fast unloading.

The air suspension with tilt lowering results in a very smooth ride on the road. This feature is optional and can also be deactivated if required. To secure the load, the ZHKA 350 is supplied with a roller tarpaulin with platform as standard. The standing platform at the front of the Fliegl tipper semi-trailer is bolted directly to the sleeve of the tipping cylinder, allowing the platform to swivel backwards over the fifth-wheel plate when tipped up, reducing the overhang forwards over the kingpin.

The compressed air supply and electrical connections are installed on the platform, allowing the driver to couple the connections while standing.  Another optional feature is the hydraulic TopLift Light folding roof which provides a simple and quick cover for silage and wood chips and, depending on the equipment variant, can be conveniently controlled from the driver's seat through a radio remote control.

With this semi-trailer, Fliegl Agrartechnik GmbH is further expanding its product range in the agro-truck sector and offering a more cost-effective alternative to the push-off semitrailer.

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Since installing a TOMRA 5B sorting machine in February 2023, there have been clear improvements in product sorting and volumes. (Image source: TOMRA)

Industrial director at De Marchi, Carlos Alberto De Marchi highlights the importance of his business partnership with TOMRA, explaining that the TOMRA 5B's installation has brought great progress, both in terms of resource management and economics

The main benefits of using the TOMRA 5B optical sorter are maximum food safety, higher quality product sorting, optimized production line throughput, and ease of operation. Product quality becomes more consistent, and employees who previously worked on sorting can be redirected to other important parts of the production line. Thanks to optical technology, the food selection process is now automated, thereby increasing the quality and productivity of the production line. By maintaining constant inspection quality, the machine increases the safety of the food reaching the customer's table. 

Six months after installation, the TOMRA machine yielded positive feedback. "With the automation of the line, we have a 30% increase in productivity and much greater safety in the products we produce, which would have been impossible with the manual process," commented Carlos. "Moreover, we are bringing together profitability, reliability, and agility in our processes to reach higher levels. We have exceptional personalised support from TOMRA through various channels, which makes all the difference."

João Medeiros, area sales manager of TOMRA Food Brazil highlights the importance of this partnership for TOMRA in the minimally processed fruit and vegetable segment and looks forward to TOMRA's cooperation with De Marchi. "We are sure that this is just the beginning of a great and long-lasting partnership, because De Marchi is constantly looking for innovations, whether in the industrial area or in the field. Our mission is to serve them with the utmost excellence, contributing our experience to future projects to automate new lines, always supporting De Marchi's success." 

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Field-ready connectivity option for hard-to-reach locations brings the power of precision agriculture to more CNH customers. (Image source: CNH))

CNH along with Intelsat, one of the world's largest integrated satellite and terrestrial communication networks, has announced a collaboration that will be the first to provide farmers ubiquitous access to the internet through a ruggedised satellite communications (SATCOM) service

According to a new memorandum of understandng (MoU), Intelsat will provide multi-orbit internet access to connect CNH equipment working in remote locations and easy-to-use satellite terminals ready to handle the challenging environment on a farm. Intelsat's long term experience in SATCOM, highlights its capabilities spanning geosynchronous and low-Earth orbits. This offers Case IH, Steyr and New Holland customers SATCOM coverage that is unparalleled in the market. Case IH, Steyr and New Holland customers will use a rigorously tested terminal that connects easily and is proven to withstand extreme weather conditions and the vibration and shock produced by farming equipment and activity. 

Internet connectivity is key to realising gains in productivity and yield through precision agriculture. While many customers fulfill this need for internet connectivity with CNH’s market-leading global mobile virtual network, existing cellular towers do not enable pervasive connection. According to the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO), less than 33% of the world’s surface has mobile network coverage. Case IH, STEYR and New Holland farmers’ intelligent machines connect and coordinate with one another while they work. They also communicate with the farmer through the cloud, exchanging data securely and receiving the farmer’s highly specified directions for the jobs they execute.

“As the first satellite communications company to provide multi-orbit connectivity to farmers around the world, Intelsat’s collaboration with CNH will unlock new capabilities in the most remote locations through our global communications platform,” said CEO of Intelsat, Dave Wajsgras. “We’ve proven that ruggedised, built-for-purpose terminals that can access multiple satellite orbits from anywhere on Earth offer the highest network reliability, greater throughput and the best user experience.”

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