Tailor-made Solutions: HEINKEL shows its knowledge and expertise in customized centrifuges for rock sugar

The manufacturing of special products often will require a very demanding production process. At the Belgian sugar manufacturer Raffinerie Tirlemontoise high quality products are produced. For its production, the manufacturer looked for a new centrifuge solution and chose the specialist HEINKEL. The supplier convinced with process know-how for special centrifuge machines and many years of experience, also showing the necessary flexibility during planning and staying within the demanding time schedule.

Raffinerie Tirlemontoise has more than 500 years experience in sugar production and is one of the companies with the longest tradition in the sugar industry. Sugar is mainly sourced from certified organic Fair-trade cane growers in well-known production areas in South America and Africa. In Belgium, near Antwerp, high quality sugar products, such as raw cane sugar, sugar syrup, and finally rock sugar with large crystals are manufactured.

The production of the amber-colored rock sugar previously was done on two centrifuges. For the following reasons these two centrifuge machines have been replaced: First, the machines were installed in a very limited space area and they were manually operated in terms of feeding, start and monitoring of the washing step, as well as discharge. Second, feeding was effected via a common trough with the capacity of only one load per centrifuge. The operator just had one feed pipe which had to be switched between machines during filling. Furthermore, due to the wide particle size range of the rock sugar crystals (0.5 up to 35 mm), there was always the chance of unbalances if the centrifuge basket was filled improperly. Last but not least, discharge was usually done by opening a bottom valve. The discharged rock sugar was collected in a big bag underneath the centrifuges. The remaining crystals were discharged manually by the operator. All in all, the washing and centrifuging process was no longer state-of-the-art.

Highest demands, successful realization

The new solution for handling the rock crystals in a new centrifuge required overall efficiency, product quality and centrifuge reliability. The situation onsite as well as specific process requirements of Raffinerie Tirlemontoise had to be considered as well. The centrifuge is the final step of the crystallization process that can last from several days to weeks. The main tasks of the centrifuge are washing the rock sugar crystals and spinning off the mother liquor followed by dry spinning.

Planning, manufacturing, installation in record time

In only seven months time for the entire project, HEINKEL was able to replace the old centrifuges which had ancient technology. The newly installed centrifuge is an economical and fully automatic operating bottom discharge centrifuge, type V 1250 BC with full size peeler blade. It fulfills all of the customer’s requirements regarding throughput, washing results, and quality of the rock sugar. Feeding is achieved by a fully enclosed feed system.

HEINKEL also replaced the existing centrifuge product feed system with a new one with consideration for the sanitary requirements of the food industry. The limited height in the building forced the engineers to find a special solution for the housing and the overall height. Even with a total height of 2.60 meters, maintenance work (removal of basket and bearing unit) can be done. The PLC of the new centrifuge machine is fully integrated into the factory’s master control system. The automatic operation of the new centrifuge ensures constant process conditions and quality of the product. Also, the adaptation for changing to multiple different styles of products and product characteristics is no longer a problem. A fully automatic CIP system ensures a complete cleaning of the centrifuge housing and basket. The CIP step can be selected after a fixed number of batches.

Efficient project management

In order to realize all the requirements of Raffinerie Tirlemontoise, the HEINKEL engineers first observed the situation on site. The common project team did a due-diligence, considering the situation on site, the analysis of the structure of the building, the piping as well as requirements regarding peripheral equipment and production process and demands and regulations from the food industry. For the centrifuge the machine size, the design of the split housing, feed and discharge system, drive, controls, maintenance, and fulfilling the valid requirements of the food industry had to be considered.

Based on this data HEINKEL supplied a tailor-made customized centrifuge. Within the project a close coordination between the work of the customer’s onsite team as well as the design work and manufacturing of the centrifuge with the HEINKEL project team delivered a very successful project.