...there is no substitute for the ease of use and accurateness of the Sugars™ program at such a reasonable cost.
A great added value of Sugars™ is that you can learn with it.
In our opinion, Sugars™ is one of the most useful tools for simulation, calculation, and teaching that we have ever used in the works for improvement of our facilities.
...we use it for our daily operations. It gives us an opportunity to test possibilities prior to implementing them. The model is built so that it mirrors our factory conditions almost exactly.
...we were able to model a unique approach to processing. The factory was modified according to the model and it exactly produced the results predicted by Sugars™.
Sugars™ helps us avoid those unforeseen problems that can occur with a new project.
In the Red River Valley of North Dakota and Minnesota, sugar refining is usually a lengthy processing period that lasts over 240 days that starts in the fall and progresses through the winter and spring seasons. Throughout the processing time frame, the sugar beet raw material can change significantly as fed to the refinery. It starts out as fresh during harvest and ends up being deeply frozen stored for 240 days and can be characterized by every quality condition in between based on the storage conditions throughout the campaign. With this in mind, the refinery mass and energy balances change significantly throughout this time frame based on the raw material and weather conditions. By utilizing the Sugars™ program, the factory operating numbers can be matched with the current model to optimize the processing configuration for a given set of conditions. The exercise enables the operations staff at the facility to use the information within the model to change/modify equipment during the summer months to help eliminate bottlenecks in the operation during the challenging times. The Sugars™ program has been a very useful tool in understanding the relationships ranging from color generation to waste heat recovery within the refining process. That knowledge can then be utilized to make sound economic decisions that ultimately add to the bottom line of the organization.
Recently, the Amalgamated Sugar Company factory at Paul, Idaho utilized the Sugars™ program for the evaluation of waste heat recovery to reduce steam consumption during both the beet processing and juice processing campaigns. The Mini-Cassia factory located in Paul, Idaho, processes up to 3.2 million tons of beets per season while operating for approximately 180 slicing days. Thick juice produced from the crop is processed over a period of approximately 280-300 sugar end operating days. The company elected to install the necessary equipment to reduce energy consumption to the world-class standard of 19% steam on beet from its current consumption of 23-24% steam on beet using a thorough application of waste heat recovery. Detailed process models were constructed with Sugars™ for the beet and juice campaigns to evaluate the installation of equipment to give the best overall waste heat recovery strategy for the factory. The models also allowed a full analysis of the effects on cooling water requirements and total condensate production from the plant. Thus, a full evaluation of the impact of the aggressive waste heat recovery strategy on not only steam consumption but also on plant utilities and waste water production were possible using Sugars™. The Sugars™ modeling software, when correctly utilized for the detailed construction of process systems model, has proven to be quite capable of precise prediction of the effects of process modifications on energy consumption and process material flows.
Rogers Sugar operates one cane refinery in Vancouver, Canada and one beet factory in Taber, Canada - each has a copy of Sugars™. An associated company, Lantic Sugar in Montreal, Canada also has a copy of the program. We have used Sugars™ since 1989. Our principle use has been for material and energy balances around evaporators and heaters. On first receiving the program, we were quite happy to save the full cost of Sugars™ on one evaporator calandria replacement. We used the program to calculate a heating surface area that was smaller than the one that we were replacing and the difference in cost was more than enough to pay for the program. In 1997, we used the program for the heat and material portion of a 50% expansion of our beet factory. The consulting engineering firm for the expansion wanted to do this work and pass on substantial charges for doing it, but we opted to use Sugars™ and our own personnel. The expansion is now complete and the steam and material balances have proven to be very accurate. The work involved the installation of a complete new evaporator station and the addition of a number of new heaters. Prior to getting the program, I personally did many evaporator calculations and wrote programs to assist in this work. However there is no substitute for the ease of use and accurateness of the Sugars™ program at such a reasonable cost.
Together with other models and programs developed by our process engineers, Suiker Unie is using Sugars™ for heat- and sugar- balances. Once you have a model of the factory, changes can be made rapidly. User-friendliness has improved dramatically during the 25 years that we have used Sugars™. The last major project was the reconstruction and optimization of the evaporator station in our Vierverlaten Factory. Many different concepts had to be evaluated. This was fully done using Sugars™. We think it is a powerful engineering tool and the results are accurate and reliable.
American Crystal Sugar Company operates five factories in the Red River Valley. We have used Sugars™ at various levels throughout our company for many years. Each factory maintains its own Sugars™ model and has a designated person who uses the model in two primary fashions. First, we use it for daily operations. It gives us an opportunity to test possibilities prior to implementing them. The model is built so it mirrors our factory conditions almost exactly. If we run into unique operating circumstances, we use the model to determine where we are straying from the norm. It also does a nice job of predicting how changes will impact the current conditions. For example, during the past campaign, we had some very difficult juice to process in one of our factories, and the factory was struggling. We used Sugars™ quite intensely to develop a plan for improving our factory performance. With it, we were able to model a unique approach to processing. The factory was modified according to the model and it exactly produced the results predicted by Sugars™. Second, we use it for capital justification. All capital projects must first be modeled on Sugars™. We are able to predict the feasibility of a capital projects as-well-as potential problems and pay back. Sugars™ helps us avoid those unforeseen problems that can occur with a new project. Also, it helps us develop a level of confidence in the potential payback. Another side benefit that Sugars™ provides to us is that all five factories use the same platform to model their processes. With a common modeling platform, it is much simpler to exchange information and compare performance and to employ outside consultants that use Sugars™. All in all, we find Sugars™ to be a very useful tool. I highly recommend it.
As Holly Sugar Corporation, we have used the Sugars™ program since its inception. Now as Imperial Sugar Company, we include Holly Sugar Corporation, Imperial Sugar Refinery, Spreckels Sugar Company, Dixie Crystals or Savannah Foods & Industries Inc., Michigan Sugar Company, Diamond Crystal Specialty Foods, and Wholesome Foods. We have multiple Licenses of the Sugars™ Program and some plants have modeled the whole process while in the engineering department we use it to model process changes that we will make under our capital improvement projects. With the new Windows Version of Sugars™ using Visio, the program is much easier to set up and use and this will increase the usage of the program at the plant level.
Spreckels Sugar Company has utilized the Sugars™ modeling program very successfully to evaluate process improvements and the integration of new processes into existing factory operations. Specific examples of these uses are the reconfiguration of sugar end operations and integration of the molasses desugarization process at the Mendota, California factory. During the design phase, the Sugars™ model provided the means to evaluate a number of possible configurations as well as potential bottlenecks and deficiencies. After start-up, the model provided for the quick evaluation of actual operations and helped identify solutions to achieve operating targets. Overall, the Sugars™ model has proven to give an accurate prediction of the process operation for both material and energy balances. For the Mendota project, the results actually being achieved by the factory are within a few percentage points of the predicted material and energy balances and well within the normal process variation to be expected.
The Sugars™ program has revolutionized Process Engineering at American Crystal Sugar Company. We use the program exclusively to evaluate the process impact of new technologies, establish project savings estimates, and develop master material balances for further engineering design work. We have so much confidence in the Sugars™ model that process enhancement projects do not go forward without first being tested on the Sugars™ program.
In our opinion, Sugars™ is one of the most useful tools for simulation, calculation and teaching, that we have ever used, in the works for improvement of our facilities.
Sugars™ was the main tool that we used in developing the heat and material balance for the grass roots beet factory we are building in Moses Lake, Washington USA. After the model of the factory was developed, Sugars™ was used extensively during the design phase of the project to quickly weigh one design option against another. No changes in design were done before first analyzing them with Sugars™. The data from the Sugars™ balance was used to size all of the pumps, piping and new process equipment that we are installing at Moses Lake.
We used Sugars™ to model the syrup mixing and flash crystallization stages in our continuous vacuum crystallizers (CVC's). The modeling showed us which parameters had the biggest influence on crystal yield and which were likely to cause problems with false grain. As a result of the modeling work, we changed the operating conditions of the CVC's and achieved an increase in crystal yield without an increase in false grain formation, or any other significant effect on sugar quality.