Maximising process performance in a sugar factory: issues of design and maintenance

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There are always strong incentives for Process Management to achieve high levels of technical performance in a sugar factory. This is particularly so in the South African sugar industry where the ‘Division of Proceeds’ system accentuates these incentives. The primary route to achieving good technical performance is usually close control of process operations, guided by detailed measures of factory performance. A critical area that often does not get sufficient attention is that of equipment and process design coupled with the need for proper maintenance. There are many constraints (e.g. financial, mechanical, space and construction) as well as a lack of skill and/or technical knowledge which can contribute to placing limits on the performance that is possible from a particular factory. Identifying and correcting issues of design and maintenance that adversely affect process performance usually requires close attention to detail combined with sufficient technical knowledge. This paper attempts to provide a framework to assist in the process of identifying and correcting issues that affect sucrose loss in final molasses. This is done through a set of simple guidelines that are explained by using anecdotes from the combined experience of the authors to illustrate the type of problems that can be encountered and corrected.

Author-supplied keywords

  • TPD
  • design
  • maintenance
  • principles
  • process performance

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  • Ninela Mb

  • Muzzell Dj

  • Love Dj

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