Tracsis Completes Cutover of Yard Control and Mainline Dispatch Systems at U.S. Sugar

01 December 15

Tracsis has completed the installation of both a yard automation solution and a computer-aided dispatch system at U.S. Sugar, in Clewiston, FL.

As the largest sugar cane producer in the United States, U.S.Sugar also owns and operates the largest private agricultural railroad in the country that runs 24 hours a day for just-intime processing. Its 120 miles of mainline connects with South Central Florida Express which connects with Florida East Coast and CSX. U.S. Sugar also has the most automated, integrated sugar manufacturing facility in the world with state-of-the-art technology to process 42,000 tons of cane per day.

Following recent improvement initiatives in both sugar agricultural and manufacturing operations utilizing technology and automation, U.S. Sugar turned their attention the railroad portion of the business. U.S. Sugar identified opportunities for performance improvement, particularly around safety, and brought in Tracsis to help identify potential solutions. After a site assessment in 2014, Tracsis identified several solutions in U.S. Sugar’s manufacturing rail yard and with its mainline dispatch method, where automation and technology could add significant safety to its workers, while improving efficiency and productivity.

With a very well defined deadline to implement our solutions in time for harvesting season, Tracsis successfully implemented both a yard solution for the automation of 32 switches, and a computer-aided dispatch system for its entire mainline, in October 2015.

“Part of what initially impressed us with Tracsis was their commitment to thoroughly understand our business objectives and assess our operation before jumping into the proposal process. Once we awarded the project to Tracsis, they aggressively resourced the project and developed a comprehensive project plan,” said Bob Lawson, General Manager of Harvesting and Railroad Operations.

He added: “Tracsis met our expectations on implementation and, as a result, we entered the start of our harvest season with several new solutions to enhance productivity, efficiency, and especially safety performance.”

The yard control system provides entrance/exit routing and remote control of powered switch machines for its Clewiston yard. The system is controlled from a central location within the control tower. Communications from and to the field are powered by Tracsis’ communications platform Tracsis RADiANTTM that uses wireless radios over a 2.4 GHz spread spectrum data network.

With Tracsis’ yard solution, authorized personnel can safely route trains through the yard and onto the mainline from a remote location, without the need to manually throw switches that can cause injuries. The DOC® software also offers the yard controllers a user friendly graphical interface that provides flexibility, speed and efficiency to their operation.

The mainline dispatch system uses a DTC block dispatching operation. U.S. Sugar takes advantage of DOC system’s standard components such as Daily Operating Bulletins, Track Bulletins, Delivery Bulletins, GCOR Protection forms, Railroad Manager, and reporting services.

With Tracsis’ dispatch system U.S. Sugar dispatchers replace their paper train sheet with an electronic form that enhances their ability to move trains with increased safety and productivity. From a single user interface, the dispatcher can add and access train consist information, as well as keep track of the train resources during its route.