Development of simulation model for optimise sugarcane handling system: a Case Study of Mumias Sugar Company

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University of Dar es Salaam,
Higher handling cycle time contributes to the overall production cost of sugarcane at Mumias Sugar Company (MSC). This study presents a simulation model for optimising cane handling parameters that affect cycle time. It uses the principles of queuing theory and simulation to imitate cane handling operations at MSC to allow performance of experiments with the help of a computer and to draw inferences concerning the operating characteristics of the system. Data used in the study were obtained from both primary and secondary sources. The developed model can easily be adopted and implemented for sugar companies to reduce cane handling cost. The results show that cane handling operations at MSC are not optimal especially at loading and cleaning services. The delays are ascribed to lack skills of the transporter’s staff; excessive infield movements by the transport units; frequent equipment breakdowns; poor stack arrangement; and negative human attitude. The results also show that increasing vehicle outbound speed is counterproductive as dispatching the units in close succession leads to system overload. The study concludes that opportunities exist for MSC to optimise the system’s performance through streamlining field and yard operations; and investment in faster and efficient loading equipment. Optimisation of loading and cleaning services would result into a cost saving of approximately KES 267.2 million per annum in handling cost. Finally, the study recommends the need to include the effects of wet weather and infield movements on increasing the accuracy of the simulation model.
Available in print form, East Africana Collection, Dr. Wilbert Chagula Library, Class mark (THS EAF TP379.K4O92)
Sugar, Manufacturing and refining, Mumias sugar company, Kenya
Oyath, O L (2012) ,Development of simulation model for optimise sugarcane handling system: a Case Study of Mumias Sugar Company, Master dissertation, University of Dar es Salaam. Dar es Salaam