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.