Exciting news as Mrs Vima Dhunny-Modlamootoo joins Jeffress Engineering as the face of our new Africa and America’s office. Formerly a sales executive with an International equipment supplier in Mauritius Vima brings with her a significant commercial and technical background looking after our clients in the global sugar industry. With a graduate degree in Chemical Engineering and a Masters degree in Project Management Vima has a solid technical pedigree supported by extensive time spent in sugar factories in multiple countries. Vima’s experience includes time as a quality control officer at Medine Sugar Factory in Mauritius, leading a project implementing integrated core sampling and Near Infra-Red technologies for sugarcane quality in Kenya, and supporting the establishment and upgrade of sugar laboratories for quality determination of incoming cane supply and process measurements in Sudan.
Factory Manager at Jeffress Engineering Mr Nico Petiet said that” Vima brings with her a strong focus on customer support and a desire to develop the best outcomes for her clients in the sugar industry. We are excited to see her active in her new work supporting Jeffress Engineering sugar industry customers across Central America and Africa.”
Vima is based in Mauritius, and visited Australia in February to meet our other employees in our factory and head office in Adelaide.
Please contact Mrs Dhunny-Modlamootoo at if you have any questions
Geoff Kent, Principle Research SRI, Australia presents at ISSCT, Hyderabad, India 2023
A comprehensive examination of the performance of current sugarcane fibre analysis methods was reported recently at the International Society of Sugar Cane Technologists meeting in Hyderabad, India. Authored by Changrong Shi (SRI), Geoff Kent(SRI) and Christopher Henderson(Jeffress Eng) the paper reviews the application, operation and performance of diffusion technology methods, the press method, the Hamna method and the ICUMSA method.
Repeatability measurements were calculated for all methods showing the diffusion method of fibre analysis to be the most repeatable and precise. The Jeffco Cane Fibre Analyser was reviewed and demonstrated to be the best performing of the available technologies, with a leading and low repeatability of +/- 0.29 units fibre. Press methods provide a lower precision and higher repeatability of +/- 0.66 units fibre whilst the ICUMSA method for fibre demonstrated the worst performance at +/- 1.39 units fibre. The paper stated that” the best performing methods are those that require a single sample of cane for analysis and require minimal or no assumptions in the fibre calculation” (Shi et al, 2023, A new approach to measuring the fibre content of sugarcane, ISSCT proceedings.)
Jeffress Engineering General Manager Chris Henderson attended the ISSCT and the paper presentation and was impressed to see over 100 delegates present in the room to hear Geoff Kent’s presentation. “With the increase in fibre due to dirt, soil, trash, sand, tops and rocks entering the cane supply as a result of increased harvesting mechanization, and the significant interest in value adding discussed at the conference, it is a fact that sugar factories, biomass and cogeneration plants are interested in fibre so as to minimize costs and improve opportunities for revenue expansion” he said. “Only with accurate reliable data can the best decisions be made for improvements in profits and smoother operations”.
Further information about the Jeffco Cane Fibre Analyser can be found on the Jeffress Engineering website www.jeffress.com.au
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.