WEAR QUANTIFICATION OF BASAL CUTTING KNIVES IN SUGARCANE HARVESTING
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The mechanized harvesting of sugarcane has increased exponentially in recent years because of the gradual prohibition of burning on the cane fields in mechanizable and non-mechanizable areas. This study aimed to evaluate the wear of the basal cutting knives in two different mechanized sugarcane harvesters, through statistical process control. The experiment was conducted in Cravinhos, Sao Paulo, in an agricultural area, on July 25, 26, and 27, 2016. Two harvesters with different basal cutting mechanisms were evaluated: harvester A-Model BE1035e (conventional type knife), and harvester B-Model A8800 (racket type knife). The experimental design was completely randomized with two treatments. The wear was quantified by measuring the thickness increase and width losses of each knife, and it was evaluated for each harvester every 2 hours, during 3 days of operation. Data were evaluated using descriptive statistics and statistical process control. The harvester B model (racket knife) presented lower variability in the cutting width and stability in the cutting width of the knives. The harvester A model (conventional knife) presented greater wear in the width, but less variability in the thickness of the cutting wire.