SKIL in Cane Processing
Optimisation of a cane factory's profitability requires a clear understanding of a wide variety of disciplines. The staff of SKIL have practical experience in all aspects of factory management including line and general management :
- engineering [all disciplines]
- process technology
- efficient by-product utilisation
- commercial aspects
Although some of our work is operational consultancy or staffing most is associated with refurbishment projects and new developments.
Puunene Sugar Factory, Hawaii
Each cane factory is unique, with its own set of process problems to solve and with a particular market to satisfy.
In the past most factories produced only a raw sugar but increasing demand for better quality sugars is changing this. Many factories are now seeking ways to improve product quality and sometimes presentation. Special attention is required when sugar has to meet the international bottling industry standards or is required for cube production. Packaging is a subject in itself.
Pressure for process change is also coming from other economic forces such as the need to improve extraction efficiency, the cost of auxiliary fuel or a desire to export power.
SKIL can assist with process improvements in many ways, often by using its computer models to optimise clarification, energy consumption and boiling schemes. We prefer a holistic approach to improving extraction efficiency because of the potential impact of improvements beyond the immediate section where they are made.
The adding of a white end to an existing factory is a typical project for SKIL. Working with the factory management we will engineer and manage the project at a minimum cost commensurate with the achievement of the required sugar quality and production.
In most factories the Engineering Manager is responsible for everything except the process house, where his role is limited to maintenance. Such an onerous range of routine duties means that he and his staff are frequently unable to engineer and manage a project in addition to the normal workload.
SKIL are able to help him manage both his routine work and his projects and have a range of engineers and technicians available to achieve this. These specialists, after years of hands-on factory work themselves, understand the particular problems of engineering in a usually remote sugar mill.
We can also help implement planned maintenance systems to reduce both unscheduled breakdowns and maintenance costs. Such a system, which involves documented data for each plant item and a pre-determined schedule of tasks, is described in more detail on a separate sheet.
Finally, as for all managers, we can help the engineering manager with training his staff.
The management of a project differs significantly from operational management. SKIL will assist the Engineering Manager run his major projects, involving: process engineering, project engineering, procurement, construction management and commissioning.
Our aim is to support but not supersede; the involvement of the permanent staff is key to the success of most such projects.
Factory profitability can be greatly enhanced by the efficient utilisation of the by-products. Much depends on the market of course but both bagasse and molasses have a wide range of uses which provide added value opportunities. Again the range of SKIL capability in this diverse subject is described separately.