Why has Fibre analysis in Sugarcane gained interest?
Fibre analysis in the sugarcane industry is becoming more and more important to determine the value of the raw cane entering the factories: Traditional analysis to determine the quality of sugarcane delivered to a sugar factory involves the weight of cane, a measure of Brix and Pol, and in most cases a measure of the fibre content. Sugarcane is essentially three main components – sugar, water and fibre. Historically it is sugar that has been identified as the main value component, so attention has focused on how much sugar exists in the sugarcane supply. In more recent times though fibre has become much more important. Fibre is becoming a much more valuable commodity. It’s uses inside and outside the sugar factory have expanded to include biomass user for electricity generation, as a source for 2nd generation fibre to biofuels production, for paper and green packaging manufacture, animal feed and, for small but growing segments, include clothing, concrete reinforcement, and other processes. Fibre analysis in the sugar cane industry is becoming more and more important to determine the value of the raw cane entering the processing plant.
Components of the raw sugarcane deliveries brought into the factory.
Fibre is defined slightly differently across the global group of sugar producing countries, but most often includes cellulose and hemi cellulose in cane stalk, leaf, and other organic components of the crop, in addition to any soil, sand, dirt or stones captured by the harvesting and transport activities in the field. In short, anything that is not sugar or water is defined as fibre. Growers, who often pay for transport also pay for the added weight of soil, sand, and stone to be carried to the factory, whilst at the same time removing the valuable nutrient containing topsoil from their fields. Millers, who process the sugarcane, have higher maintenance costs in wear and tear and stoppages, and often pay for the removed waste as mill mud to be transported back to the field.
Whilst the organic components can be utilised profitably it is the non-organic components that add significant cost to both growers and millers, and that is the unwanted component of the crop. Unfortunately, as the incidence of mechanically harvested sugarcane increases as a proportion of the crop, more and more soil, sand and stone finds it’s way to the factory. Sugarcane supply is becoming more and more contaminated by loss making unwanted waste material that adds cost when transporting it into the plant, adds costs to remove it from the process, and further costs to transport it away again.
Determining the value of raw sugarcane deliveries
Sugar factory laboratories usually have analytical methods that enable producers to identify how much fibre exists in the cane supply. Additionally, a method of analysis for Ash assists the laboratory in identifying how much soil, sand and stone is entering the sugar factory. Methods of analysis for fibre do vary in different countries and regions. These include empirically “calculated by difference” methods that provide approximate indications of the fibre percentage to more professionally recognised official methods that can take up to eight hours to complete by more direct measurement. Whilst fast and reasonably accurate analysis by Near Infra-Red is possible it is a secondary method that relies upon an accurate primary method of fibre analysis as a calibration model. NIR calibration models are usually built from a database of several thousand fibre analysis. In summary, you still need accurate primary analytical methods of fibre analysis for NIR to work well.
Fibre analysis in the sugarcane industry to reduce production cost
The sugar industry would benefit from access to a fast accurate and reliable method for determination of fibre in sugarcane for quality. Accurate and fast feedback of sugarcane fibre content to the harvesting and transport sectors would assist in reducing costs across the entire sugar industry, both reducing costs for growers and improving the ability of the millers to produce high quality sugar, and clean, value adding fibre for additional income stream generation.
In the next section we will expand upon the more common methods of fibre analysis, their strengths, and weaknesses.
Sugar Factory Laboratories are benefiting from important advice provided by Jeffress Engineering at a recent national conference. Philsutech, the annual national conference of the Philippines sugar industry looked a little different this year. Due to waves of CoVid washing over the country the industry decided to hold a virtual national conference for their 67th meeting during three days between 25th and 27th August. Several hundred registrants participated in a very successful event. Jeffress Engineering was there, and presented on ways to improve profitability of sugar factories by improving processes in sugar laboratories. A high quality functioning sugar laboratory can save money in process losses and make money for the factory by providing high quality accurate data to the process engineers. Acquiring high quality, highly accurate and reliable laboratory equipment is very important to ensure the small equipment investment translates into significant profit gain.
Jeffress Engineering contributed by sponsoring the conference and was selected by Philsutech to provide a technical presentation “JEFFCO Technology for highly accurate payment systems – Common errors in laboratories and how to save your owners money
The presentation slides and presentation can be found on our YouTube channel in its complete form at https://youtu.be/0CfuhHZb-ZA or search for Jeffco in YouTube. or watch the video below:
Busco Sugar Milling Co in the southern Philippines is the largest sugar mill in the country, processing around 20,000 TCD and over 2.6 million tons cane each harvest. BUSCO implemented InfraCana technology in 2005 to analyse accurately every individual delivery of sugarcane. InfraCana sugar cane quality analysis technology gave them the ability to analyse up to 1,500 trucks every 24 hours, requiring only 15 staff over three shifts. Analysis of a sample from a truck, taken using core samplers, takes around 90s and provides a range of results suitable for both payment and for forwarding to process control. To date, the two installed systems have analysed over 2.4 million truckloads of sugarcane with little interruption and high reliability.
Infracana sugar cane analysis technology
So how does Infracana sugar cane quality analysis technology assists in a better process control?
Given the incredibly large number of analysis completed on the InfraCana technology, and reflecting the critical role played by the Near Infra-Red technology BUSCO started looking at replacement solutions in 2018, and after considerable evaluation of alternatives, have invested in Jeffco InfraCana 2nd generation technology once again.
Mr Ronnie Ascunsion, Resident Manager and Vice President of Operations at BUSCO said “The Jeffco InfraCana has played a significant part in helping us increase our share of cane supply leading to a more than successful harvest this year”. InfraCana has played a significant role in assisting BUSCO in their goals to continue to be a profitable and reliable manufacturer of sugar and associated products in the Philippines for the last 16 years. We thank BUSCO for their continued trust and investment in our Jeffco products and look forward to a continued valuable and successful relationship in the decades to come.
Do you want to know more about the Infracana sugar cane quality analysis technology? Contact us to have an obligation free discussion.
Jeffress Engineering commissioned new Jeffco technology in Sudan recently at The Kenana Sugar Company. Jeffco InfraCana Near Infra-Red cane quality testing equipment was installed in a brand new Cane Quality Facility on the factory site. Jeffress Engineering provided facility concept drawings and worked with local factory civil engineering staff to design and develop the building. Whilst most sugarcane at Kenana is company owned the Quality Control department plans to use it to evaluate incoming cane quality at individual truck level. Every truck entering the factory will be tested eventually for a wide range of chemical parameters. Paired with a brand new Motocanna Oblique core sampler also provided through Jeffress Engineering each truck can be processed through the facility in around 2 minutes or less. Cane quality information will feed back to various departments in the factory including the Agricultural division for improvements in soil/variety decisions, maturity evaluations, yield analysis, nutrient management; the Transport division for transport management improvements and the factory for process improvements.
Also commissioned was a Jeffco WD02 Wet Disintegrator for validation of the NIR cane quality results to a high degree of accuracy.
Selected factory staff were trained in NIR theory and practice enabling Kenana to be in full independent control of calibration model development and application.
Remote access to the Jeffco technology provides the ability for Jeffco engineers to rapidly respond to requests for assistance from Kenana in real time. Working with trained Kenana staff this will reduce equipment downtime to a minimum should a problem occur.
Jeffress Engineering wishes everyone at Kenana Sugar Company every success in future operations and looks forward to a long and profitable outcome for them in their use of their new Cane Quality Testing facility!
Jeffress Engineering has been successful in winning the job of implementing a new Sugarcane Quality Testing facility at Kenana sugar in Sudan. Jeffress will install Jeffco InfraCana automated sugarcane sample analysis technology for analysis of every truck of incoming sugarcane into the factory. Jeffress will also provide Jeffco WD02 Wet Disintegrator for validation analysis processes and a core sampler from Brazil. Jeffress concept drawings will be used for the design of the CTU facility.
KSC has used Jeffco equipment for almost 20 years in its routine laboratories and R & D divisions. It will be the 1st formal facility of its kind in the region, underlining the innovation and engineering quality of the Kenana sugar processor and its staff.
Earlier this year the Belize Sugar Industry installed and commissioned a JEFFCO InfraCana II into a newly renovated Cane Testing Unit (CTU) facility at the Tower Hill sugar factory. Funded by the European Union the new system allows the Belize sugar industry to test every truck of sugarcane for quality. Information is planned for distribution to growers to help them make better decisions about growing and harvesting sugarcane. Information is also fed forward to the sugar factory to assist them to improve sugarcane processing within the factory. Over 400 trucks per day will be tested when fully operational.
Additionally, the new CTU wet chemistry laboratory has a JEFFCO WD02 Wet Disintegrator for accurate primary analysis of sugarcane for Pol and Brix.
The new CTU wet laboratory will use ICUMSA standard testing for high quality validation and monitoring of the InfraCana Near-InfraRed technology.
The JEFFCO InfraCana also incorporates the world best JEFFCO CG03 Cutter Grinder with preparation index above 95 and strong operator safety protection systems.
All three Jeffco technologies can be seen operating in a single location in Central America.
Excited local science graduates were amongst the first to visit the new facility to see JEFFCO technology in action.
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