Keeping the sugar mills sweet

From its humble beginnings, Queensland’s raw sugar industry has grown into one of the world’s most efficient and highly organised sugar industries. Queensland sugar is produced from the juice of a tropical grass called sugar cane. From this comes one of Australia’s largest export crops – raw sugar.

Total Refractory Management understands how important the sugar cane industry is in its support of the Queensland economy, and how the partnership with this industry needs to ensure the refractory processing operates smoothly and with minimal impact.

A quick overview of Queensland sugar cane processing

The majority of Queensland’s sugar cane land stretchs from Mossman in north Queensland as far as Beenleigh, south of Brisbane. Around 38 million tonnes of sugar cane is crushed annually producing 5.3 million tonnes of raw sugar (enough to fill more than 1,000 Olympic swimming pools). Queensland produces 95 percent of all Australian raw sugar.

Raw sugar is Australia’s second largest export crop, earning around $1.2 billion in export sales each year. This major industry is directly and indirectly responsible for the employment of many thousands of Queenslanders.

Queensland’s has over 20 sugar mills which are situated close to the farms to minimize the deterioration of sugar content within the cane. The mills operate during the harvesting and crushing season which extends from June to December.

At the mill, the sugar cane is crushed, the extracted liquid is then clarified to remove soil and impurities. By boiling off excess water, the juice is concentrated into a syrup. The boiled mixture is centrifuged to separate the molasses from the crystals, which are tumble dried and placed in large storage bins for transport to bulk sugar terminals or refineries.

Of course, the sugar refining process continues and many of the by products from the mills are recycled. Bagasse, the expended cane fibre remaining after the juice has been extracted, provides nearly all of the fuel required to power the mills. Bagasse can also be used to manufacture paper and can be applied as a mulch to gardens.

How TRM supports the sugar cane industry

TRM is involved in a number of processes with nearly all of Queenlands sugar mills and with considerable experience in the sugar industry, TRM offers maintenance programs, schedules for construction or capital works.

Refractory work in the sugar industry on the scale that TRM gets involved requires considerable planning. Due to the production schedules for sugar mills, all work must be carried out within tight time frames and this can often lead to increased workload and very well managed project planning and scope of works

Having the capability to manage the successful planning and completion of multiple projects, within tight timeframes and in remote locations means TRM remain a first choice for refractory engineering.

TRM invests an enormous amount in training, safety and project management. For this reason, TRM remain at the forefront of the refractory industry and command a leading position in experience, safety and quality control.

For the sugar industry, TRM has gained a well respected reputation and will continue to serve its clients with the best refractory solutions.