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Sugar Cane Processing and ROC Carbon’s Graphite Sealing Rings

sugar cane stalks

ROC Carbon produces segmented graphite sealing rings that are used in the steam turbines that power many sugar mills in Louisiana and around the nation. The two crops that produce sugar worldwide are sugar cane and sugar beets. We will concentrate on sugar cane processing in this blog.

The Detailed Steps of Sugar Cane Processing

Once the sugar cane is cut, the operation begins on a roll by train or truckload to the sugar mill. Most mills will convert around 500 tons of cane daily during the processing season. Time is money, so things need to be organized and carefully thought out, moving continuously from cut to unload at the mill. Some mills wash the cane to soften it and remove dirt. That dirt will be saved and turned into mud to extract the sugar from the mud. Nothing goes to waste in the process.

The sugar cane is next processed with knives to break it into shreds. The steam turbines are powered by large boilers that burn the “bagasse,” a byproduct of the breakdown of the cane fiber. Once the cane is cut and shredded, it begins to boil to remove the sugar, and as the sugar is extracted, it turns into several forms before it becomes crystals.

The batch of sugar liquid is constantly tested for its PH level. To obtain the proper base to acid ratio, a slurry of lime and water is added to regulate the pH of the liquid. This testing is used continuously throughout the process at this point. The liquid is now more like molasses and mud. Next, the steam turbines fire up again to separate the molasses and mud in large centrifuges. The molasses is collected at the top of the centrifuge, and the mud on the bottom becomes fertilizer for use in the field. 

The next step is forming crystals from the liquid, which is done in a device resembling a basket. Large dryers spin and dry the liquid into sugar crystals. From here, the sugar goes through further processing to produce white table sugar, brown sugar, or molasses.

Sugar crystals are made inside a sugar cane processing plant.

Enhance Your Sugar Cane Processing Efficiency with ROC Carbon’s Graphite Sealing Rings

 

ROC Carbon is very proud to work with sugar mills, providing our segmented seals to outfit mills with enough rings to complete an entire “turn-around” at the end of the processing season.

Transform your sugar mill operations with the precision of ROC Carbon’s graphite sealing rings. Contact us today to optimize your steam turbines and boost productivity!

Next, in our series about steam turbines, we will walk through Alma Plantation Sugar Mill in Lakeland, LA., as Plant Manager Ryan H. explains where all our graphite sealing rings are used in his operation. Stay tuned!

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