While there was significant investment in several sections of the Tower Hill Sugar Factory in preparation for the 2014 crop, there are five key areas that should be highlighted since these are directly contributing to increased efficiencies and production. Let’s take a tour:
At the Cane Yard, a new 2,500 hp swing-back cane knife was installed upstream of the cane shredder to assist with cane preparation. In the sugar industry, the higher the cane preparation index, the greater the sucrose extraction at the Mills. For every percentage point in increased extraction there will be a significant addition to the bottom line for both Miller and Farmer.
The electric drive systems for both the Feeder Cane Carrier and the Main Cane Carrier have been replaced with modern variable speed drives (VFD’s). This technology is more reliable and more responsive than the old system. This enhances mill throughput and sugar production.
In the Mill tandem, the major improvements are improved instrumentation and the installation of a perforated top roll at the No. 5 Mill. The perforated roll drains the squeezed cane juice more efficiently, reducing bagasse moisture and increasing sucrose extraction. Combined with the improved cane preparation, the upgrades at the Mills are projected to boost sucrose extraction by over a full percentage point during the 2014 crop.
The Evaporator Station was an area of significant expansion. Six new evaporator vessels (with a state of the art control system) were added to the existing four vessels to eliminate the customary twenty-four hour stops, every two weeks, for cleaning of these vessels. There is no longer any need to stop production for evaporator cleaning and the only time that is now needed for planned maintenance should be reduced from 22 hrs. to an average of 6 hours, every 14 days, for the changing of shredder hammers and cane knives and to arc-weld mill rolls to minimalize slipping.
At the Pan Floor, where the cane syrup is crystallized into sugar grains in “vacuum pans”, each vacuum pan has been fitted with a new mechanical stirrer. These stirrers reduce each pan cycle-time by around 15%, thus improving Boiling House efficiency and throughput. A new syrup clarifier has been installed to improve the quality of direct consumption sugars for local sale and for export markets.
At the Power Plant, improvements are being made to the combustion systems to improve boiler efficiency and to the water treatment systems to improve water quality. The overall aim of these improvements is to maintain an efficient and reliable supply of steam and electricity to the Mill.
The mill is now in a better position to receive and process more cane more efficiently.