Sugar Production Stages and Quality Case Study
Sugar Production, from Raw Sugar to Refined Sugar Crystals
There are eight stages of sugar production. They range from raw to refined white sugar grains.
The Stages of Sugar Production
Once raw sugar is received in the factory, it is weighed and transported to storage facilities.
Sugar is stored in large storage facilities. Afterward, it is moved to the refinery using transport belts (conveyors).
Sugar refinery begins in stage three. Raw sugar mixed with heavy syrup and centrifuged. Revolving machines that are known as centrifuges are used to accomplish the refining process. In this phase, the plan is to filter raw sugar particles from the syrup. The sweet liquid passes through perforated basket cylinders before it is sent to large storage tanks. The raw sugar remains in the centrifuge basket. Any residual foreign elements are removed using water. The crystals are dissolved in water to obtain clean sugar as a partially purified liquor juice. The product is refined further to ensure the production of high-quality sugar particles. This objective is achieved by mixing the partially filtered juice with lime.
The muddle is then refined further using a number of pressure filters. This process ensures the removal of any foreign residual materials. Color is removed completely by filtering the liquor twice. The resulting decolorized solution is called a thin sugar juice.
The thin sugar juice undergoes different processes to separate the sugar from the solution. Water is first removed by evaporation to obtain a thick sugar juice that comprises 74% solid matter.
The subsequent stage after evaporation is crystallization. During this phase, the thick sugar juice obtained after evaporation is put in large vacuum pans. It is then heated using steam to form sugar crystals.
After crystallization, the sugar particles are detached from the syrup using centrifuge equipment. This process leads to the production of molasses and pure sugar particles. The molasses are crystallized again to obtain any remaining traces of sugar.
The white sugar crystals from the centrifuges are dried to remove any remaining moisture. The moisture content of the crystals is estimated to be 1%. The process entails dehydrating the white sugar crystals using a spinning drying device that takes in two phases. Drying is further done when conveying the sugar in silos or packing areas.
The item for consumption is realized in either coarse or fine particles. The fine grain sizes make 95% of the produced sugar.
Types of Maintenance Efforts in United Sugar
Planned maintenance comprises subgroups such as preventive measures, instrument calibration, shutdown management, condition monitoring, and project modification. The primary aim of this program is to prevent work stoppage due to unscheduled breakdown and downtime. By adopting planned maintenance, USCE enjoys benefits such as even distribution of costs and easy planning.
Preventive Maintenance Programs
The major aim of preventive maintenance programs is to prevent or mitigate the consequences of failures. It entails care and servicing of equipment to maintain them in proper operating conditions. It is done by personnel who inspect, detect, and correct failures prior to their occurrence or at their initial stage before they develop. This kind of maintenance also entails activities such as analysis, repair, and fine-tuning of production machines to reduce the probability of botched operations in the firm.
Types of Material Handling Equipment Used in USCE
Material handling equipment in USCE comprises Boilers, centrifuges, chillers, compound and reclaim extrusion, dryers, evaporators, filters, refiners, slitters, tanks, and transporter belts. The following section presents a brief description of the types of material handling equipment used in USCE.
The heaters remove water from the sugar juice solution. The liquid mixture is heated using steam at about 80oC. Large vacuum pans are used to heat the sugar juice. The use of vacuum vessels and low temperatures reduce the coloration of sugar particles. After evaporation, the remaining solution contains 74% solid matter.
Sugar crystallizers are used for cooling crystals of sugar juice after evaporation.. Large vacuum pans are used to heat the sugar juice. The use of vacuum vessels and low temperatures reduce the coloration of sugar particles.
Centrifuges are used to remove solid matter from sugar juice. These are perforated cylindrical baskets machines driven by an electric motor. The centrifugal force applied to the solution helps to separate the solid from the molasses.
Dryers are used to remove the moisture from sugar crystals derived from the crystallization. They are used in the last stages of production and help in maintaining whiteness and crystal size. Drying is done in a hot rotary. Next, cool air is blown through a centrifugal fan in conditioning silos.
Filters are used at different stages of sugar production. They are used to remove impurities from the sugar to obtain a good color of sugar.
Belt and Screw Conveyors
Belt and screw conveyors are used for transporting sugar from storage areas to refinery machines.
How the USCE maintains the Quality of its Products.
Quality maintenance is maintained through certifications from relevant quality bodies such as the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). Product checks are also ensured in various production points. Its product is verified in terms of the required standards for color and crystal size.
Certification from Occupational Health and Safety Management Systems (OHSAS)
OHSAS – 18001:2007
The Occupational Health And Safety Management Systems (OHSAS) is an international British standard requirement for work-related fitness and protection. Its chief objective is to assist organizations to establish proper health and safety performance. To ensure sound health and safety performances, USCE has collaborated with the Occupational Health and Safety Management Systems (OHSMS). As a result, the organization has seen improved overall performance, minimization of potential accidents, compliance with legal institutions, and the establishment of proper control of health and safety risks.
Certification from the International Organization for Standardization (ISO)
To ensure consistently high-quality products and services, USCE uses ISO 9001:2008 certification to management system standards. Production standards are guided by various quality management philosophies such as consumer concentration, sustainable development, apt leadership, and process strategies among others.
This ISO emphasizes the safety of food to alleviate instances such as contamination. By obtaining the ISO 22000:2005 certification, USCE ensures global standards for food management systems. As a result, it increases the effectiveness of its food management system.
Production Quality Maintenance Techniques
Automatic online analyzers
Automated online analyzers are machines designed to perform various tasks in the production process with minimal human assistance. The machines perform such tasks under the supervision of expert personnel. They assist in minimizing errors, staffing concerns, timesaving, and ensuring high safety standards.