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Volume Measurement in Sugar Production

Volume Measurement in Sugar Production

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General process information

The beet is thoroughly washed before processing to remove all traces of clay and sand.

In order to extract the sugar, the beet is first cut up into elongated slices. Sugar is then extracted from the beet by diffusing it out with hot water. Beet slices are fed in continuously at one end and hot water at the other end. A solution of sugar emerges from one end and the exhausted beet slices emerge from the other. The exhausted beet slices, or pulp, are mixed with molasses then dried and sold as an animal feed. The remains are referred to as the raw juice.This contains about 14% sugar and is black in color.

At the diffusion stage other substances are extracted from the beet as well as the sugar. But before sugar can be produced in a white crystalline form it is necessary to remove as many of these non-sugars as possible. This part of the process is referred to as juice purification.

The main raw materials used in the purification are lime and carbon dioxide gas which are got by burning limestone in a kiln. These substances are added to the juice causing non-sugars to be precipitated out of the solution. The solid material is then filtered off. After juice purification the juice has a light yellow color.

The purified juice is a sugar solution containing approximately 14% sugar and 1% non-sugars. Concentrating the Juice is done by boiling off water from the Juice in large vessels known as evaporators. On leaving the evaporators it contains approximately 60% sugar.

In order to turn the sugar into a crystalline form it is now necessary to evaporate still more water. This is done at a reduced temperature and pressure in large vessels known as vacuum pans. Syrup is fed to the pans and as the water is evaporated off, the crystals of sugar begin to grow. The contents are then discharged into large holding vessels known as crystallizers.

Centrifuges are used in order the separate the sugar from the syrup. The syrup is spun off and the sugar crystals remain. The wet sugar is then dried, screened, cooled and sent to large bulk storage silos.

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Sugar Beet Storage

Application: Sugar beets are stored in warehouses prior to being transferred to processing.

Challenges: The material stored in the warehouse feeds the entire process. Accurate measurement to assure continuous production and accurate inventory readings are the end-users' main challenges. Rosemount can offer solutions for all types and sizes of storage silos, bins and warehouses and can generate 3D mapping of the material surface for accurate volume output and 3D images of stored content to better understand material allocation inside the warehouse.

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Lime Silos

Application: Lime is stored in silos before being sent to the kiln and into the process.

Challenges: Continuous monitoring of lime inside the silo is challenging since lime generates heavy dust during the process, with a tendency to adhere to the silo walls, creating build-ups and rat holes. Achieving accurate real-time volume measurements of the lime stored in the silos is critical for ensuring continuous production. The Rosemount product line operates well in dusty and moist conditions, and also includes a 3D visualization tool to allow the end-user to detect build ups as they occur.

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Sugar Storage and Sugar Silos

Application: After the wet sugar is dried, screened and cooled it is sent to large bulk storage silos/domes, each of which can contain up to 50,000 tons. From the storage silos, the sugar is either delivered via trucks or transferred to a packaging silo to be packed in bags.

Challenges: Raw sugar is stored in very large silos or domed warehouses where it is widely distributed in order to use maximum capacity. The stickiness of the sugar leads to random formations of material build-ups and rat holes inside the silo or dome. Both silo or dome size and the material's properties make it extremely challenging for end-users to continuously assess sugar inventory levels. Rosemount's 3D Solids Scanner has the ability to work in this harsh environment and profiles the surface of the material in order to accurately measure the amount of sugar inside the silo. The 3D Solids Scanner's 3D visualization tool allows the end-users to see the allocation of material inside the silos in real time, including such build-ups, facilitating timely maintenance and reducing risks of interruption to the production process and the associated losses of time and money.

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Packaging Silos

Application: Sugar is delivered to the packaging silos where it is packed in bags and packages.

Challenges: Sugar and sugar dust tend to accumulate, creating build ups and rat holes, so understanding actual material content continuously becomes very difficult. The materials' sticky nature challenges level measuring systems which need to operate even if sugar sticks to the antenna. Rosemount's 3D Solids Scanner is capable of working in this harsh environment. The 3D Solids Scanner's 3D visualization tool provides a real time 3D display of the sugar's distribution inside the silos, including these build-ups, facilitating timely maintenance and reducing interruptions risks to the delivery schedule and the associated losses of time and money.

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