German China India

Centralised Automation and Control System

How a Centralised Automation and Control System Improves Plant Efficiency

| Author / Editor: Saurabhi Chitnis / Marion Henig

Automating sugar production

After the power generation control system was updated, CSIL and RRB turned their attention to automating the sugar production process with InduSoft Web Studio. In the sugar industry, capacity utilisation is conceptually different than most industries. It depends on three crucial factors:

  • The TCD rate
  • The recovery rate, which primarily depends on the quality of the cane
  • The length of the crushing season

The production tonnage is a function of the plant capability and variables governed by the other two factors (cane quality and crushing season), both of which are dependent on plant location. The quality of the cane is outside factory control, because cane is not usually transported to great distances. Production plants must therefore rely on local cane crops, the quality of which depends on climate and weather patterns as well as soil and geography.

Likewise, the length of the crushing season also depends on local climate. Southern India, which has a tropical climate, has the longest crushing season, and plants in that region tend to produce the greatest tonnage. During the refining process, the natural sugar stored in the cane stalk is separated from the rest of the plant material as it moves through the sequential production phases:

  • The cane is pressed to extract the juice
  • The juice is boiled until it begins to thicken and the sugar begins to crystallize.
  • The crystals are moved to a centrifuge to remove the syrup, producing raw sugar.
  • The raw sugar is then sent to a refinery, where it is washed and filtered to remove remaining non-sugar ingredients and colour.

Now, you can imagine that the equipment that performs each step in the process is very complex, and stringent and careful monitoring is necessary to ensure both an efficient process and a safe (plant) work environment. First a complex system comprising a boiler, a deaerator and a Pressure Reducing and Desuperheating Station (PRDS) was employed. The plant also contained a boiling house that contained a mill, pan and crystallizers.

Finally, a steam distribution system and a wastewater system were employed to distribute steam and bleed off condensation. Thenceforth, using InduSoft Web Studio software applications, parameters at every step in the process are monitored for quality assurance of the raw sugar, to maintain efficient cogeneration of power, and above all to ensure personnel safety.

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