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Sugar is a broad term applied to a large number of carbohydrates present in many

plants and characterized by a more or less sweet taste. The primary sugar, glucose,
is a product of photosynthesis and occurs in all green plants. In most plants, the
sugars occur as a mixture that cannot readily be separated into the components. In
the sap of some plants, the sugar mixtures are condensed into syrup. Juices of
sugarcane and sugar beet are rich in pure sucrose, although beet sugar is generally
much less sweet than cane sugar. These two sugar crops are the main sources of
commercial sucrose.
Crystalline sucrose represents the highest volume organic compound produced
worldwide in pure form. Sucrose is widely used in food processing as preservative,
bulking agents, flavor enhancer, and texturizer. In baking, sugar functions as yeast
food, and it contributes to crust characteristics and product stability.
Sucrose is extracted commercially from sugarcane and sugar beet and to a lesser
extent from sorghum and sugar maple. The latter two sources normally provide
sucrose containing syrups, rather than the more commonly encountered crystalline
sucrose. The cultivation of sugarcane is restricted to tropical and semitropical
regions of the earth; the sugar beet is more suited to temperate zones.

The sugarcane is a thick, tall, perennial grass that flourishes in tropical or

subtropical regions. Sugar synthesized in the leaves is used as a source of energy
for growth or is sent to the stalks for storage. It is the sweet sap in the stalk that is
the source of sugar as we know it. The reed accumulates sugar to about 15 percent
of its weight. Sugarcane yields about 2,600,000 tons of sugar per year.
The sugar beet is a beetroot variety with the highest sugar content, for which it is
specifically cultivated. While typically white both inside and out, some beet
varieties have black or yellow skins. About 3,700,000 tons of sugar is
manufactured from sugar beet. The refined sugars from the two sources are
practically indistinguishable and command the same price in the market. However
since they came from different plants, the trace constituents are different and can
be used to distinguish the two sugars. One effect of the difference is the odor in the
package head space, from which experienced sugar workers can identify the
The raw sugar produced in the mills at the cane field is an item of international
commerce. It is shipped directly in the holds of ship or railroad cars. As it is not
intended to be eaten directly, it is not treated as food. This raw sugar is shipped to
the refineries where it is refined to a food product, packaged and sent to the
market. The types of sugar used today are white sugar (fully refined sugar),
composed of clear, colorless or crystal fragments; or brown sugar, which is less
fully refined and contains a greater amount of treacle residue, from which it
obtains its color.
There is another category of cane sugar which is not truly refined. It is plantation
white or white sugar. White sugar, which should not be confused with refined
sugar, is made directly from the cane without going through the raw sugar stage. It
is little off-white, have a molasses aroma and it is not pure as truly refined sugar.
But is perfectly safe and edible and sold at reduced price. Today the trend has
begun to improve the quality of white sugar to make it comparable with refined
sugar and by pass the refinery.
Still there is another class of cane sugar, which is known as non centrifugal sugar,
or whole sugar. It is made by boiling down the whole cane juice without
eliminating any impurities. The whole mixture solidifies upon cooling and is
broken into pieces. It is light to dark brown in color. It is known as GUR,

Terminology The following terminology is used in this technical brief:

Bagasse The fibrous residue of sugar cane which remains after the
crushing operation.

Brix The term 'degrees Brix' (or more usually Brix) is the sugar
'technologists' measure of the concentration of dissolved solids in solution.

Clarification Removal of impurities from the juice.

Extraction The removal of juice from the cane by crushing.

Invert sugar High temperatures and acid conditions can cause chemical
decomposition of the sucrose resulting in simpler sugars such as glucose and
fructose forming. These sugars are known as invert sugars and are not desirable in
the final product.

Massecuite The concentrated cane juice obtained after boiling, also

known as rab or final syrup.

Molasses A syrup by-product from the manufacture of sugar,

containing sucrose, invert sugars, moisture, ash and other insoluble matter.
Strike The removal of massecuite from the boiling operation at the
required concentration.

Sucrose An organic chemical of the carbohydrate family, found in the

sap of most green plants. Ordinary white crystal sugar is almost (99.9%) pure
sucrose while some of the non-crystalline sugars may contain less; for example
syrup and jaggery which contain as little as 50 and 80% sucrose respectively.

TCD Tones of Cane per Day refers to the amount of cane a

processing plant crushes each day and not the amount of sugar produced. Most
sugar processing plants are sized according to this figure which is based on a 24
hour day. However, many small-scale factories, and some large ones, only operate
for part of a day and in some cases for only part of the year. Therefore care must be
taken when analyzing TCD figures as they only represent a factory's capacity and
do not necessarily reflect the actual throughput.

Vacuum Pan Vacuum (VP) pan describes a particular type of technology

used to boil or evaporate the sugar cane juice. It was developed by the large-scale
industry to improve efficiency but some small-scale VP factories are in operation.

The Manufacturing Process

Planting and harvesting

Sugarcane requires an average temperature of 75 degrees Fahrenheit (23.9

degrees C)
Harvesting of both cane and sugar beet is done primarily by machine,
although in some states it is also done by hand. The harvested cane stalks
and beets are loaded mechanically into trucks or railroad cars and taken to
mills for processing into raw sugar. Once there, they are cleaned, washed,
milled to extract juice, filtered, and purified. The result is a clear, sugar-
filled juice
Sugarcane takes about seven months to mature in a tropical area and about
12-22 months in a subtropical area. At this time, fields of sugarcane are
tested for sucrose, and the most mature fields are harvested first. Standing
cane is fired to burn off the dry leaves. The six- to ten-feet (1.8- to 3-meter)
tall cane stalks are cut down and laid on the ground before burning.

Preparation and processing

In the production scheme for cane sugar, the cane cannot
be stored for more than a few hours after it is cut because
microbiological action immediately begins to degrade the sucrose.
This means that the sugar mills must be located in the cane field.


Field mud, sand, trash, stones etc are brought to the factory
whether cutting and/or loading as mechanical or manual.
Secondly, when cane is burned for unwanted top leaves etc, the
wax on the surface melts and the surface become sticky and
soots and soil adhere to the rind.

There are various methods for washing

1. Cane may be dumped into a water bath. The stones settle by

sinking and water is screened to separate fines. Bacteria &
pH control is necessary.

2. Cane is discharged on loading tables in bundles. The bundle

is thinned to make a mat of about 12 inch thickness. Top of
the table is perforated with slots and the table is inclined at
angle of about 13-14 o. The cane is sprayed with water,
preferably warm to wash. About 0.75 1 gal/min/ton/day of
water is needed.

3. The cane may also be washed on the carrier while unloading

but it needs a large amount of continuous flow of water
(about 3000 gal/min). The conveyor may corrode easily
which has to be replaced each year. To save replacement
cost, washing conveyors are made of short lengths.

About 0.16 % of total weight of sugar cane washed is lost

during washing which comes about 0.13 % of sugar yield.

When mechanical harvesting and chopping in small pieces is

practiced, no water washing is done due to heavy losses of
sugar during washing. Instead dry cleaning of cane is done
to remove mud, soil etc.


After the cane arrives at the mill yards, it is mechanically unloaded and
excessive soil and rocks are removed. The cane is cleaned by flooding the
carrier with warm water (in the case of sparse rock and trash clutter) or by
spreading the cane on agitating conveyors that pass through strong jets of
water and combing drums (to remove larger amounts of rocks, trash, and
leaves, etc.). About 1-2 % of the sugar in cane is washed out and lost in the
washing, but it is considered advantageous to wash. At this point, the cane is
clean and ready to be milled.

Juice extraction pressing

The juice is extracted from the cane by milling in which the cane
is pressed between heavy rolls, or by diffusion in which the sugar
is leached out with water.

Two or three heavily grooved crusher rollers break the cane and extract a
large part of the juice, or swing-hammer type shredders (1,200 RPM) shred
the cane without extracting the juice. Revolving knives cutting the stalks
into chips are supplementary to the crushers. (In most countries, the shredder
precedes the crusher.) A combination of two, or even all three, methods may
be used. The pressing process involves crushing the stalks between the
heavy and grooved metal rollers to separate the fiber (Bagasse) from the
juice that contains the sugar.
As the cane is crushed, hot water (or a combination of hot water and
recovered impure juice) is sprayed onto the crushed cane counter currently
as it leaves each mill for diluting. The extracted juice, called vesou, contains
95 percent or more of the sucrose present. The mass is then diffused, a
process that involves finely cutting or shredding the stalks. Next, the sugar is
separated from the cut stalks by dissolving it in hot water or hot juice.
Purification of juice clarification and evaporation

The juice from the mills, a dark green color, is acid and turbid. The clarification (or
defecation) process is designed to remove both soluble and insoluble impurities
(such as sand, soil, and ground rock) that have not been removed by preliminary
screening. The process employs lime and heat as the clarifying agents. Milk of
lime (about one pound per ton of cane) neutralizes the natural acidity of the juice,
forming insoluble lime salts. Heating the lime juice to boiling coagulates the
albumin and some of the fats, waxes, and gums, and the precipitate formed entraps
suspended solids as well as the minute particles.

The sugar beet solution, on the other hand, is purified by precipitating calcium
carbonate, calcium sulfite, or both in it repeatedly. Impurities become entangled in
the growing crystals of precipitate and are removed by continuous filtration.
The muds separate from the clear juice through sedimentation. The non-sugar
impurities are removed by continuous filtration. The final clarified juice contains
about 85 percent water and has the same composition as the raw extracted juice
except for the removed impurities.

To concentrate this clarified juice, about two-thirds of the water is removed

through vacuum evaporation. Generally, four vacuum-boiling cells or bodies are
arranged in series so that each succeeding body has a higher vacuum (and therefore
boils at a lower temperature). The vapors from one body can thus boil the juice in
the next onethe steam introduced into the first cell does what is called multiple-
effect evaporation. The vapor from the last cell goes to a condenser. The syrup
leaves the last body continuously with about 65 percent solids and 35 percent

The sugar beet sucrose solution, at this point, is also nearly colorless, and it
likewise undergoes multiple-effect vacuum evaporation. The syrup is seeded,
cooled, and put in a centrifuge machine. The finished beet crystals are washed with
water and dried.

Crystallization is the next step in the manufacture of sugar. Crystallization takes

place in a single-stage vacuum pan. The syrup is evaporated until saturated with
sugar. As soon as the saturation point has been exceeded, small grains of sugar are
added to the pan, or "strike." These small grains, called seed, serve as nuclei for the
formation of sugar crystals. (Seed grain is formed by adding 56 ounces [1,600
grams] of white sugar into the bowl of a slurry machine and mixing with 3.3 parts
of a liquid mixture: 70 percent methylated spirit and 30 percent glycerine. The
machine runs at 200 RPM for 15 hours.) Additional syrup is added to the strike and
evaporated so that the original crystals that were formed are allowed to grow in
The growth of the crystals continues until the pan is full. When sucrose
concentration reaches the desired level, the dense mixture of syrup and sugar
crystals, called massecuite, is discharged into large containers known as
crystallizers. Crystallization continues in the crystallizers as the massecuite is
slowly stirred and cooled. Massecuite from the mixers is allowed to flow into
centrifugals, where the thick syrup, or molasses, is separated from the raw sugar by
centrifugal force.

The high-speed centrifugal action used to separate the massecuite into raw sugar
crystals and molasses is done in revolving machines called centrifugals. A
centrifugal machine has a cylindrical basket suspended on a spindle, with
perforated sides lined with wire cloth, inside which are metal sheets containing 400
to 600 perforations per square inch. The basket revolves at speeds from 1,000 to
1,800 RPM. The raw sugar is retained in the centrifuge basket because the
perforated lining retains the sugar crystals. The mother liquor, or molasses, passes
through the lining (due to the centrifugal force exerted). The final molasses
(blackstrap molasses) containing sucrose, reducing sugars, organic nonsugars, ash,
and water, is sent to large storage tanks.

Once the sugar is centrifuged, it is "cut down" and sent to a granulator for drying.
In some countries, sugarcane is processed in small factories without the use of
centrifuges, and a dark-brown product (noncentrifugal sugar) is produced.
Centrifugal sugar is produced in more than 60 countries while noncentrifugal sugar
in about twenty countries.
Damp sugar crystals are dried by being tumbled through heated air in a granulator.
The dry sugar crystals are then sorted by size through vibrating screens and placed
into storage bins. Sugar is then sent to be packed in the familiar packaging we see
in grocery stores, in bulk packaging, or in liquid form for industrial use.

Diffusion may be defined as the spontaneous intermixing of molecules or very

small particles in a liquid.

By the term diffusion, as applied to the cane sugar industry, we understand the
recovery of sugars from Cane tissue 'by liquid extraction, as opposed to mechanical
expression of the juices in conventional milling practice. The sugar juices in the
cane tissue are enclosed in cells, which in live cane are not permeable to the
sugars. In order to allow the sugars to diffuse through the cell wall, the latter has to
be made partially permeable, which can be most easily achieved by heating to
above 75C. At this temperature the colloids, of which the cell wall is made up, are
precipitated and the true solutes of comparatively low molecular weight are free to
move through the tissue towards the surrounding extraction liquid. In this manner a
juice free from impurities of high molecular weight can be recovered since the cell
wall acts as a molecular sieve. This is a decided advantage over the mechanical
expression method of extraction, where the cells are broken and the whole contents
are squeezed out.
The driving force behind the movement of the solute molecules from within the
cane tissue to the surrounding liquid is the difference in concentration between the
juice inside the tissue and that surrounding the tissue. No useful diffusion can take
place when these concentrations are equal. The movement of molecules through
the solution inside the tissue is slow, and it is dear that the shorter the path along
which the molecules have to move, the quicker the process. High temperatures
increase the rate of movement of molecules and hence speed up the rate of
diffusion. Also the larger the area of contact between the tissue and the surrounding
liquid, the' quicker the concentration difference can be equalized. Since diffusion
stops when the concentration gradient has disappeared, it is necessary for rapid
diffusion that the concentration of the liquid surrounding the cane is always kept at
a minimum value. Also rapid movement of this solution past the exposed tissue
surface minimizes the possibility that a thin film of high concentration is built up
in the immediate vicinity of the diffusion interface. Shortening the path of the
diffusing molecules and increasing the diffusion interfacial area is simultaneously
achieved by a fine preparation of the cane. This unfortunately cannot be
accomplished without mechanical rupture of some juice cells which in tum allows
the high molecular nonsugars to escape into the diffusion juice.

A thinner juice or water can penetrate inside the wall and replace heavier juice in
the cell until equilibrium is established. In the diffusion process, sucrose penetrates
through the semi permeable membrane faster then non-sugar with high molecular
weight. For this reason, in the diffusion process, the purity of the residual juice
even with 97 % sucrose extraction is higher then the purity of juice in the straight
milling process even with lower extraction.

Temperature in Diffusers:

The optimum temperature in the diffusion process is 65-75 o C. This high

temperature is important to
1. break the non-open cells to permit diffusion
2. to suppress bacterial action and
3. to prevent sucrose losses resulting from the presence of enzymes

Disintegration of bagasse:

It is not necessary to disintegrate bagasse into very fine particles. The bagasse most
suitable for diffusion is flattened pieces of homogenous size, with maximum length
of particles 100 mm, free from non=crushed cane and with a maximum of 10%

Losses of sugar are practically same from 500 mm to 1500 bed depth. Beyond that
point, losses begin to increase. The minimum recommended bed depth is 1000 mm
because depth below this, there will be
1. insufficient contact time between the diffusion juice and bagasse tissues,
2. insufficient filtering area to retain suspended matter
Rate of percolation:
The rate of juice percolation through the layer of bagasse is about 85 mm/sec. The
minimum retention time in the diffuser is 20 minuites. Excessive retention time
and high temperature may increase undesirable extraction of non-sugars.

pH in Diffusion Process:

Diffusion can occur at neutral or low pH. If diffusion is conducted at low

temperature, the diffuser must be of stainless steel to avoid corrosion. On the other
hand, a high pH and temperature near 74o C may cause destruction of reducing




(some impurities never be extracted in diffusion as they cannot filter through the semi
permeable dead membrane of the cell, left in the bagasse.



(bagasse acts as rough filter medium)


(juice is heated above pasteurization temp)


(due to temp 85 o C)



( 2945hp) (4925 hp)




Liming is one of the most important stations in a raw-cane sugar factory as without
correct liming, good clarification cannot be expected. Raw sugar cane juice is
composed of a great number of organic and inorganic compounds, acids, salts, gums,
albumin, wax, coloring matter, soil, sand and fine bagasse. The juice is an opaque
liquid of greenish-grey to dark green in color with a pH of about 5.2 5.4. The gums,
waxes and albumins make it viscose liquid which can not be filtered when cold.
Liming and heating caused many impurities to become coagulated and precipitated
out. At the same time acids are neutralized and phosphates are flocculated, adsorbing
large amount of coloring matter and other impurities. Usually lime is added to the
raw cane juice in the form of milk of lime. Milk of lime of about 5 o Baume is used.
Cold liming appears to be the best due to i) danger of sucrose inversion is reduced
since juices are heated to boiling temperature are neutralization, ii) lime is more
soluble in cold juices then in hot iii) the solubility of lime increases with sucrose
conc. However cold liming requires special techniques. E.g. contact time should be
15 to 20 minutes. If it is less, then a certain amount of lime will remain unreacted
which will tend to precipitate on heating causing scaling of heaters and evaporators.
20 minutes give a very satisfactory result. During liming, juice must be stirred
continuously to disperse milk of lime properly and evenly. The speed should not
exceed 60 rpm. The final pH after liming should be maintained at 8.0. An automatic
control valve is linked with a pH meter which controls the dosage of the lime.


The purpose of clarification is precipitation and removal of all possible non-sugars,

organic & inorganic, and the preservation of the maximum sucrose and reducing
sugar in the juice. Poor clarification of cane juices complicates the entire process of
sugar manufacture. A clarifier is used to separate out the solids suspended in the cane
juice. These solids originate from sand adhering to the cane stalks as well as from
material inherent in the cane stalk. The separation takes place by allowing the solid
particles to settle out onto a tray. The solids are swept from the tray into a mud
compartment, from which it is pumped to filters for de-sweetening and dewatering.

1) The presence of an adequate amount of P2O5 in the juice at the time of clarification
is very important. It must be not less then 300 ppm. If the juice is deficient, it
must be made up to this minimum before liming. Phosphoric acid, mono calcium
phosphates or tri calcium phosphate may be added in the form of solutions.
2) Temperature is another important factor. The limed raw juice entering clarifier
should be heated to 104 o C. (slightly above the boiling point of juice of 13-16 o
Baume). Elevated temperature gives i) good coagulation of albumin & nitrogen
substances ii) flocculation of lime & phosphates iii) more destruction of inverted
sugar iv) less viscose v) occluded gases are eliminated.
3) The retention time of juices in clarifiers at high temperature is important. If the
juices contain large amount of suspended matter of low density, then the juice may
be retained in the clarifier as long as possible. The retention time should be as
brief as possible, about 2-3 hrs or less.
4) Clarified juice should be screened and adjusted if necessary to pH 6.8 to 7.2 with a
small amount of soda ash before it is reheated and pumped to evaporators.


1. Tank, 2. Rotating arm, 3.rotating hub 4. Adjustable slot. 5.6.7 pipes, 8.

Bearing assembly 9.fixed bridge
An apparatus for the continuous process of raw mixed sugar juice clarification by
means of the settlement of insoluble particles and juice precipitate in a cylindrical
clarifier tank that permits non-turbulent vertical subsidation and short retention
time of the sugar juice in a relatively large, non-turbulent settling sector of the
contents of the cylindrical clarifier tank which is maintained by the continuous
rotary advancement of the raw mixed sugar juice entry and clear sugar juice and
precipitate extraction station arm that rotates within and around the center of the
annular shaped cylindrical clarifier tank. The rotating arm has three internal radial
compartments which provide for the introduction of raw mixed sugar juice and the
extraction of clear sugar juice and precipitate, in and out of the annular clarifier
tank in the immediate vicinity of the respective leading and trailing faces of the
rotating arm, through adjustable slots on the leading and trailing faces of the arm.


Mud consists of suspended matter and heavy particles which settle during liming
and clarification process. This mud is removed from the clarifiers trays and sent to
mud filter station. The mud is filtered in Rotary Vacuum Filter. A small amount of
milk of lime can be added to the mud, making it more granular and improve
filtration, but the pH of the limed mud should not exceed 8.5. The higher will
destroy reducing sugars and will increase the dissolved calcium salts.
The amount of mud can vary from < 2% on the weight of cane for clean sugar cane
to > 5 % for mechanically harvested and loaded sugar cane. The mud cake has
usually 60-85 % moisture content.


Another scheme that makes better clarification is the sulfitation process. In this
method, lime is added as usual but then sulfur dioxide is bubbled through the juice.
The precipitate is settled as in the ordinary clarification. The bleaching effect of the
sulfite makes a lighter colored sugar. Further heating has a tendency to react with
residual amino acids, causing the juice to assume a dark brown color. To avoid this,
the juice usually undergoes a process called sulfitation which whitens the sugar.
The plant adds sulfur dioxide gas to the juice at a level of about 120 to 200 pounds
per million pounds of juice. The gas rapidly dissolves in the juice.

The sulfitation process has three benefits:

1. It slows the browning process during the subsequent concentration and
crystallization processes allowing white sugar to be produced.
2. It keeps the juice from becoming too alkaline, which would cause the sugar
crystals to stick together and acquire an undesirable taste
3. It acts as a biocide to sanitize the sugar prior to evaporation.

The final clarified juice contains about 85 percent water and has the same
composition as the raw extracted juice except for the removed impurities.


Cane juice has a sucrose concentration of 15 brix. The solubility of sucrose in

water is about 72 brix. The concentration of sucrose must reach the solubility point
before crystal can start growing. This involves the removal 93 % of water by
evaporation in the cane juice.
This is done in several evaporators connected in series called MULTIPLE EFFECT
EVAPORATOR. In each succeeding effect, the vapors from the previous effect are
condensed to supply heat. This works only because each succeeding effect is
operating at a lower pressure and hence boils at low temperature. The result is that
1 Kg of steam is used to evaporate 4 kg of water. The steam used is exhaust steam
from the turbines in the mill or turbine driving generators. This steam has therefore
already been used once and here in the second use it is made to give 4 fold duty.
The juice travel from one vessel to another vessel due to gradual increase in
vacuum in the evaporators. The amount of water to be evaporated may be
calculated by

W = C x ( 1- B1 / B2 )

Where W = weight of water to be evaporated

C = weight of juice
B1= brix of juice
B2= brix of syrup

The evaporation is carried on to a final brix of 65-68. The juice after evaporation is
called syrup and is very dark brown, almost black, and a little turbid.

The crystallization of sucrose from concentrated syrup is a batch process. The
solubility of sucrose changes rather little with temperature. It is 68 brix at room
temperature and 74 brix at 60 o C. For this reason, only small amount of sugar can
crystallized out of a solution by cooling. The sugar is, therefore, crystallized by
evaporating water. The sucrose solutions up to 1.3 supersaturation are quote stable.
Above this super saturation, spontaneous nucleation occurs, and new crystals form.
The syrup is evaporated until supersaturation of 2.5 is reached. As soon as the
saturation point has been exceeded, small grains of sugar are added to the pan, or
"strike." These small grains, called seed, serve as nuclei for the formation of sugar
(Seed grain is formed by adding 56 ounces [1,600 grams] of white sugar into the
bowl of a slurry machine and mixing with 3.3 parts of a liquid mixture: 70 percent
methylated spirit and 30 percent glycerin. The machine runs at 200 RPM for 15
hours.) The seed is added in such an amount that when all the crystals have grown,
the pan is full. Additional syrup is added to the strike and evaporated so that the
original crystals that were formed are allowed to grow in size and to achieve the
fastest possible rate of crystal growth without exceeding 1.3.

After being evaporated in a multiple effect evaporator to a syrupy consistency,

clarified juice must be evaporated further for the sugar to crystallize. This is
accomplished in a vacuum pan. Here the syrup is boiled under vacuum to form a
heavy mixture of crystals and mother liquid called MASSECUITE.

The boiling point of a saturated sugar solution at 1 atm. Is 112 o C. Sugar is heat
sensitive and at this temperature, thermal degradation is too great. The boiling is
therefore done under highest practical vacuum at a boiling point of 65 o C.

Vacuum pan has a small heating element in comparison to the very large liquor and
vapor space above it. The heating element was formerly steam coils but is now
usually a chest of vertical tubes. The sugar is in side the tubes.

The vacuum pan has a very large discharge opening (1 m dia). At the end of strike,
the massecuite contains more crystals than syrup and is therefore very viscose.
This large opening is required to empty the pan in a reasonable time. The pan may
also be equipped with stirrer but relies on natural circulation. The strike is started
just above the vertical tubes. The strike level can not be very near the top because
vapor space must be allowed for separation of entrainment. In operation, boiling is
very vigorous with much splashing of liquid. In practice, half of the sugar in the
pan is in crystal form and half remains in syrup. Some very good boilers are able to
achieve as much as 60 % yield on the first strike.


The massecuites from the vacuum pan enter a paddle mixer that to prevent the
crystals from settling. This mixer is feed for the centrifuges. In batch type
centrifuges, the mother liquor is separated from the crystals in batch of 1 ton at a
time. The basket is lined with a screen having openings that will retain the crystals
of the minimum required size. Very fine crystals will mostly go with the mother
liquor. The entire cycle takes as little as 3 minutes on refined sugars to as long as 3
hours on very viscose final strike. The apparatus has now been automated but used
mostly used in the final strike.

In raw-sugar manufacture, the first strike of sugar is called the A strike, and the
mother liquor obtained from this strike from the centrifuges is called A molasses.
The pan yield in sugar boiling is about 50%. Because crystallization is an efficient
purification process, the product sugar is much purer than the cane juice and the
molasses much less pure. As an approximation, crystallization reduces the
impurities by factor of 10 or more in the product sugar. Therefore, almost all of the
impurities remain in the molasses. Enough molasses accumulates from boiling two
first strikes to boil a second strike.

The B sugar from the second strike is only half as pure as that from the first strike,
but the B molasses is twice as impure. This can go on to a third strike. At this
point, 7/8 of the sugar from the cane juice is in the form of crystals and 1/8 in the C
molasses. In practice, three strikes is about all that can be gotten from cane juice.
The trick is to maneuver to obtain good sugar, but at the same time have the C or
final molasses as impure as possible. The purity of the feed to the final strike is
adjusted to obtain the lowest possible purity of final molasses. Some of the C sugar
is re dissolved and started over, some is used as footing for A and B strikes.

The C sugar is of very small crystal size so it is taken into the A or B pans as seed
and grown to an acceptable size. This practice is actually a step backward because
it hides impure C sugar in the center of better A and B sugars. The product raw
sugar is a mixture of A and B sugars. There are many variations in the boiling
scheme, such as
two and four boilings,
blending molasses, and
returning molasses to the same strike from which it came.

All of these tricks are used, depending on cane purity and capabilities of the
equipment available.


In the final strike, the time an amount to days, so final strikes are not sent directly
to the centrifuges, but instead to crystallizers, holding tank is in which the crystals
grow as much as possible and the super saturation in the molasses is reduced to
1.0. Since the intention in handling the final molasses is to remove as much sugar
as possible, advantage is taken of the small temperature coefficient of solubility
and the massecuite is also cooled. The crystallizers are large tanks, some open-top,
with a slow-moving stirrer that is sometimes also a cooling coil. At the end of the
holding time, the massecuite is warmed slightly as it enters the centrifuge to lower
the viscosity and achieve better separation. The limiting factor in exhaustion of
masses is the viscosity. A little more water can always be boiled out, but the
molasses must remain fluid enough to run out of the pan, into the centrifuge and to
flow between the sugar crystals on the centrifuge screens.

The raw sugar (the A & B sugar from the centrifuges) may be slightly dried or
cooled, but usually not. This goes to the warehouse from where it is shipped to the
sugar refinery. It can be stored for up to several years. The moisture and heat are
the two enemies for it. Moisture allows microorganism to grow and heat effect the
color and sucrose loss. Sugars at 30 o C can be stored for years, at 38 o C for
months and at 45 o C for weeks.

Refineries are open all year, although the busy season is in the summer. Refineries
are always large. Their capacity is expressed in terms of daily melt. Melt is the
sugar term for dissolving, and means the amount of sugar melted or processed each
day. The smallest refineries have a daily melt of 450 t, and large ones have as much
as ten times that amount. The yield of refined sugar is nominally 93% of the raw-
sugar input. Raw sugar is light to dark brown in color and sticky. The size of the
sucrose crystals is ca 1 mm. Refiners would like to have raw sugar that is high in
sucrose and of uniform quality; however, they must be prepared to refine anything.
Raw sugars are about 98 pol (Polarization or pol. The apparent sucrose content
expressed as a mass percent measured by the optical rotation of polarized light
passing through a sugar solution. This is accurate only for pure sucrose solutions.).
In the refinery, it is liquors that are fed to the pans, and syrups that are separated
from the crystals.

The first step in refining is to remove the molasses film from the outside of the
raw-sugar crystals. This is done by a washing process known as Affination. This
mixture is then centrifuged and washed in the centrifuge. A uniform crystal size is
important in raw sugars because a mixture of different sizes or broken crystals does
not wash well in the affination centrifuge. The syrup formed is called affination
syrup and is used for mixing. The sugar is called washed sugar and is ten shades
lighter in color than the raw sugar. It is estimated that 90% of refining is done in
this first step. About 10% of the sugar becomes apart of the affination syrup, which
thus keeps increasing in volume and is sent to the recovery house.
The recovery house is route through a set of equipment in the same building. IT
uses the same processes that are used in the main refinery, but in manner more like
a raw sugar operation. As the name suggests, sugar is recovered in the recovery
house, but the main object is to transfer impurities into molasses that contains the
least possible amount of the sucrose. The recovered sugar is called remelt and is
sent back to process.

The washed sugar is melted in hot water, and usually the pH is adjusted with lime.
Water that contains a little sugar from anywhere in the refinery is called
sweetwater, and if it does not contain much impurity, is used in the melter. The
washed sugar liquor coming from the melter is adjusted to the operating
concentration, usually about 65 brix. The trend is to operate refineries at higher
brix up to 68, because if water is not added, it does not have to be boiled away
later. The washed sugar liquor is dark brown and quite turbid, and appears much
darker than the sugar from which it came. The melter liquor is strained through a
plain screen to catch debris in the raw sugar.

The object of clarification is the complete removal of all particulate matter. The
particles in the sugar come from all sources, e.g, field soil and fiber which escaped
clarification in the raw-sugar factory; all microbiological life, including yeasts,
molds, bacteria, and their spores; colloids and very high molecular weight
polysaccharides; and foreign contaminants such as insect and rodent dropping. The
very diversity of the nature of the particulate matter and wide range of particle
sizes makes clarification a difficult and critical step in the refining of sugar. One of
three processes is used: filtration, carbonization, or phosphatation.

In the phosphate clarification scheme, lime and phosphoric acid are added
simultaneously with good mixing. The phosphoric acid is added in proportion to
the melt at about 0.01-0.02%. The lime is added to bring the pH to 7.8. The
calcium phosphate precipitate forms a floc of no particular crystal structure. It also
has the useful property of attaching or entrapping air bubbles. Thus, at the same
time that the floc is being formed, some air is injected, mixed, or pumped into the
system. Raising the temperature a few degrees also helps tiny air bubbles
materialize throughout the liquor. The precipitate then floats to the surface as a
scum of 80% organic matter and is scraped off without any filtration. The mixing is
very thorough just as the reagents are added, gentle in a floc development section,
and then minimal in the flotation zone. Sugar is recovered from the scum by
clarifying again. The phosphate system uses only about 1/10 as much reagents as
the carbonate system, and so produces only 1/10 the scum volume. No matter what
the method of clarification, the clarified liquor is brilliantly clear without any sign
of turbidity. It is, however, dark, rather like a cup of weak coffee.

Carbonatation, also called carbonation, involves adding lime (CaO) to the melt
liquor and then passing this juice through a carbonation vessel where carbon
dioxide (CO2) is bubbled up through the juice. The reaction of the carbon dioxide
with the lime produces a calcium carbonate precipitate. Color bodies are entrapped
in the precipitate and are removed during filtration of the solids. Another action
occurring in the limed melt liquor is destruction of invert sugars at the high pH
produced by the lime. Polymers are added to the juice to assist in the formation of
a precipitate floc which is more easily settled and filtered.

The key process in sugar refining is decolorization. Color is the principal control
in every sugar refinery. It is the main property that distinguishes refined sugar from
raw sugar. The word color is used loosely. It usually means visual appearance, but
in technical sugar work it means colorant, the material causing the color. It can be
classified in three groups: plant pigments; melanoidins resulting from the reaction
of amino acids with reducing sugars; and caramels resulting from the destruction
of sucrose. Many, but not all, compounds in each of these classes have been
identified. In sugar work, color refers collectively to the optical sum of all the
colorants. Bone char and granular carbon behave similarly in decolorization of
sugar. For the contact with sugar liquor, both are contained in helds called cisterns
ca 3 m-dia and 7 m tall and holding 30-40 t carbon. The liquor flows downward
with a contact time of 2-4 h. The first liquors are water white with a very gradual
yellowing. The cistern stays on stream until the color of the liquor becomes too
great to be handled by the remainder of the refining process. The decolorization is
always greater than 90%. The bone-char cycle is about 4 d; for granular carbon, it
is 4 wk. The first liquors from bone-char treatment are lighter than the first liquors
from carbon. However, from the adsorbent point of view, the two systems are
different. Heating degreased cattle bones to about 7000C in the absence of air
makes bone char. IT is about 6-10% carbonaceous residue and 90% calcium
phosphate from the bone with an open pore structure supplied by the bone. The
surface area available to nitrogen is 100 m2/g. The particle size is about 1 mm.
besides being a carbon absorbent; it has ion exchange properties that permit
removal of considerable ash from the sugar. These same ion-exchange properties
result in a buffering effect that keeps the pH of the sugar liquor from falling.
After the decolorization cycle, the sugar is washed out of the bed and then the bed
is washed with the cool water to remove as much as possible of the adsorbed
inorganic salts. The sweet water is of low purity and cannot be recycled. The
organic coloring matter is adsorbed so tightly that no amount of washing will
remove it. The water is therefore drained from the char and the char moved from
the cistern to a kiln where the organic matter is burned off at 5000C, with a little
oxygen in the kiln atmosphere to burn away freshly deposited carbon and keep the
pores open. On bone char, it has been observed ionic constituents in the liquor
affect ionic color removal process. High calcium liquors decolorize well, but high
sulfate liquors decolorize as much as ten times more poorly for an ion-
concentration change of only 0.01 N.

The color of the washed, clarified, and decolorized liquor going into the
crystallization process ranges from water white to slightly yellow. Many refiners
polish filter the sugar liquor at this stage to make sure that it is sparkling clear with
no turbidity. Others rely on good operation upstream and do not polish-filter. In
many cases, the brix has become too low, either on purpose or by error; these
liquors first go to the evaporators to bring the brix to >= 68.The vacuum pans are
the same as were described under Raw Sugar Manufacture, and their operation is
the same. They are operated even more carefully to produce crystals of the desired
size. Great care is taken to avoid conglomerates and fines. Boiling rate and
throughput are important. A new strike of some 50 metric tons must be dropped
every 90 min to keep up with the production schedule. The boiling schemes used in
the refinery are more extensive and more extensive and variable than those used in
the raw house. This is because the starting material is of much higher purity.
Ordinarily, three, four, or five strikes of refined sugar are obtained. The syrup from
the fourth strike may handle in different ways. It may be used in the recovery
house, but is more likely used in making specialty syrups or brown sugars. It may
also be sent back to decolorization or clarification, and recycled. The refined sugar
centrifuges are always batch type because they leave the crystals intact. The
centrifuging is easy and the cycles are short. The drying of the sugar from the
centrifuges is done by rotary dryer using hot air. This dryer is universally
misnamed the granulator because by drying in motion, it keeps the sugar crystals
from sticking together, or keeps them granular. The hot sugar from the granulator is
cooled in an exactly similar rotary drum using cold air.
The sugar from the coolers would appear to be finished, but after a few days
storage it becomes wet with water trapped inside the grain because of the very high
rate crystallization and drying. After a few days, this moisture migrates outside the
crystal and the sugar is wet again. A process known as conditioning removes the
moisture, in which the sugar is stored for four days with a current of air passing
through it to carry away the moisture. In one system, a single silo is used with
sugar being continuously added to the top and removed from the bottom, and a
current of dry air blowing upward. In another system, the sugar is stored in a
number of small bins. It is continuously transferred from bin to bin with dry air
blowing around the conveyors that move the sugar.


Sugar is sometimes stored in bulk and then packaged as needed. Others package
the sugar and then warehouse the packages. The present trend is away from
consumersized packages and toward bulk shipments.