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Cassio Fagundes Gomes

Forestry Operational Development Coordinator at Eldorado


Cabinization and innovation in forestry

Due to its favorable climatic conditions and the establishment of advanced production techniques, Brazil has become the largest exporter of cellulose in the world today and an attractive destination for new ventures in the segment. This rush has catalyzed the demand for rapid expansion of the forestry base to support the future operations of ambitious projects, and this has been an increasingly greater challenge for companies in this segment.

The rapid advancement of Forestry in Brazil brings with it the demand for the development of new operational alternatives for operations in locations that are still unexplored and which, for the most part, are associated with the scarcity of labor available to carry out field activities. This movement promoted an inevitable revolution aimed at technological advancement and operational mechanization, in all stages of cultural management execution, starting from the opening of the front, soil preparation, planting, irrigation and all other treatments necessary to carry out the plantations until their ideal cutting point.

At Eldorado we deal with this issue as a daily routine and here we call it “Cabinization”, an internal reference term that encourages us to seek innovative alternatives for all activities, but especially those carried out outside machines or controlled environments. In recent years, cabinization has ceased to be an alternative aimed at reducing costs and has become a priority in discussions within our Operational Management.

Cabinizing people, for us, is synonymous with promoting greater work quality and generating satisfaction for our employees in their jobs, in addition to also adding greater per capita production capacity with the maximum quality and consistency of its execution. As a reflection of our initiatives, we observed the establishment of a more attractive business environment, which positively impacts the internal climate and generates a greater feeling of belonging and purpose for the people involved.

One of our highlights in 2024 was the effective operationalization of a pioneering mechanized irrigation module, using image recognition by artificial intelligence. This technological leap made it possible to eliminate the need for employees to work in full sun, either to directly perform the task or to guarantee the absence of inherent flaws in the mechanized systems previously adopted in the company. As the next step in this project, we began the work of analyzing and segregating the data extracted from the system to interpret seedlings that suffered the elements in the field and that, for some reason, did not survive.

This information will help us to have more efficient operational management, both in terms of better understanding the causes of mortality and in directing quick actions to replant specific locations in each plot. This is a clear example of the benefit of cabinization for our employees and which, mutually, provides excellent execution to a critical activity for the company.

Our company holds the highest historical rate ever obtained for mechanization of forestry planting in Brazil and yet, we remain extremely active in development programs for new, even more modern machine solutions, which will enable us to increasingly leverage our productive competitiveness in adverse planting conditions. We are experiencing a unique moment in this sense, with the presence of eight manufacturers developing new specific machines. Some are already in the process of final technical concept definitions or even in an effective operational validation environment.

This new era of development of planting machines has the challenge, not only of guaranteeing the quality and performance of operations in different field conditions, but also the mission of adding other values to the process that allow us to extract operational databases and, from there, transform them into accurate information about the environment and the quality of service execution. Mechanized planting is already a reality, but I understand that we have not yet reached the state of the art; However, at this rate of movement in the market, I am convinced that we will achieve this within the next 3 years.

Another movement that we see is very hot at the moment is the creation of a base machine actually purpose-built for forestry. We have been customers in the agricultural machinery sector for years, but our environment is more severe than that of agriculture and the intensity of our activities substantially damages the structure of agricultural tractors. We need to direct a lot of effort into special customization actions, or even to develop increasingly robust protection projects, in order to guarantee the structural integrity of machines and, consequently, the safety of our employees who use them. We have already tested some forestry machine alternatives such as forwarders, skidders and even off-road mining trucks, but none of them have yet been able to fully meet our desires to have a true “forestry tractor”.

This year we took a step forward and developed, together with a partner company, the first autopilot, fully customized and integrated, for skidders could carry out soil preparation with integrated fertilization. The objective was, in addition to ensuring a correct dose of fertilizer, to also operate with precision of up to two centimeters in the parallelism of the lines and completely autonomously. We understand that initiatives like these are necessary to guarantee the minimum operational excellence expected from our operational management, but we are still not satisfied with the results and, therefore, we remain active in search of national and international manufacturers of machines for the development and approval of new concepts.

This has been a challenge, not very easy to overcome, as there is a lack of continuous and sustainable demand for manufacturers, we need to believe in this purpose and I see that one way will be to join efforts between the directors of forestry companies, together with related institutions and organizations, to actually promote and finalize a specific and reliable project.

We already use fixed-wing aviation as a routine operation in the distribution of fertilizers across the entire area and we have helicopters available to directly combat forest fires during critical periods of the year. On the other hand, we have carried out several operational tests and continue to monitor the drone market, but currently they are not yet competitive in large-scale operations that require high efficiency within flat areas. They were only included in forestry as a resource for use spot or for very specific and seasonal operations.

Brazilian legislation, to date, has been the main limitation for the development of rotary wing equipment with high production capacity in agricultural and forestry operations, but the rapid technological advancement of this equipment and the greater feasibility of inserting radars and sensors Precision cruise systems are opening the door for the entry and establishment of these devices in the sector. We know the additional benefits they can provide us and we see with optimism all the efforts made by manufacturers in the legislative and engineering environment.

In addition to radical innovations, we also maintain an incremental improvement program for all activities already implemented. We have several actions underway that are aimed at increasing the productive capacity of machines, improving operational rhythm, maintaining high mechanical availability of components, efficient operational use of resources and ensuring the application of inputs. Along this path, we have a project, also a pioneer, that began in 2023 and that in 2024 we began to scale to all service fronts that use controlled chemical inputs. We created the SmartCalda project, which, as the name suggests, consists of intelligently managing the entire distribution and supply chain of chemical mixtures in our sprayers.

We install extremely high-precision features on our water tankers for automatic fluid control, which make it possible to instantly mix chemicals with pure water at the exact moment of filling the equipment on your service fronts. It is common to see trucks with ready-made chemical mixture in some companies, but here we took a leap forward and keep our stock of pure water, separate from the chemicals in our trucks, mixing them only when necessary.

This guarantees us more intelligent and flexible management, as pure water can be used for any other possible day-to-day purpose and we will no longer need professionals carrying out logistics, stock and mixing of chemical inputs in the field. It is also known that some products lose their efficiency of action when they are dissolved and stored for long periods and, therefore, we also hope to benefit from SmartCalda operations.

Eldorado has the mission to be the best at what it sets out to do and, to close the cycle of cabinization associated with technology and innovation, in 2024, we began an advanced program to implement telemetry and total monitoring in Forestry activities. In this project, we work with specialized companies that already have similar systems in forest harvesting, mining and agricultural operations, to create a customized and technological environment never seen before in the monitoring and integral control of Forestry operations.

Our company's vision is that, by investing in data, we will be able to act in a predictive manner and, with the support of artificial intelligence resources, increase our levels of excellence and operational performance, guaranteeing the well-being of our teams, the integrity of our assets and, consequently, return greater profitability to our shareholders.