Modelling the flow of cane constituents through the milling process of a raw sugar factory

Thaval, Omkar P. (2012) Modelling the flow of cane constituents through the milling process of a raw sugar factory. Masters by Research thesis, Queensland University of Technology.


This thesis reports on an investigation to develop an advanced and comprehensive milling process model of the raw sugar factory. Although the new model can be applied to both, the four-roller and six-roller milling units, it is primarily developed for the six-roller mills which are widely used in the Australian sugar industry. The approach taken was to gain an understanding of the previous milling process simulation model "MILSIM" developed at the University of Queensland nearly four decades ago. Although the MILSIM model was widely adopted in the Australian sugar industry for simulating the milling process it did have some incorrect assumptions. The study aimed to eliminate all the incorrect assumptions of the previous model and develop an advanced model that represents the milling process correctly and tracks the flow of other cane components in the milling process which have not been considered in the previous models.

The development of the milling process model was done is three stages. Firstly, an enhanced milling unit extraction model (MILEX) was developed to access the mill performance parameters and predict the extraction performance of the milling process. New definitions for the milling performance parameters were developed and a complete milling train along with the juice screen was modelled. The MILEX model was validated with factory data and the variation in the mill performance parameters was observed and studied. Some case studies were undertaken to study the effect of fibre in juice streams, juice in cush return and imbibition% fibre on extraction performance of the milling process. It was concluded from the study that the empirical relations developed for the mill performance parameters in the MILSIM model were not applicable to the new model. New empirical relations have to be developed before the model is applied with confidence.

Secondly, a soluble and insoluble solids model was developed using modelling theory and experimental data to track the flow of sucrose (pol), reducing sugars (glucose and fructose), soluble ash, true fibre and mud solids entering the milling train through the cane supply and their distribution in juice and bagasse streams.. The soluble impurities and mud solids in cane affect the performance of the milling train and further processing of juice and bagasse. New mill performance parameters were developed in the model to track the flow of cane components. The developed model is the first of its kind and provides some additional insight regarding the flow of soluble and insoluble cane components and the factors affecting their distribution in juice and bagasse. The model proved to be a good extension to the MILEX model to study the overall performance of the milling train.

Thirdly, the developed models were incorporated in a proprietary software package "SysCAD’ for advanced operational efficiency and for availability in the ‘whole of factory’ model. The MILEX model was developed in SysCAD software to represent a single milling unit. Eventually the entire milling train and the juice screen were developed in SysCAD using series of different controllers and features of the software. The models developed in SysCAD can be run from macro enabled excel file and reports can be generated in excel sheets. The flexibility of the software, ease of use and other advantages are described broadly in the relevant chapter. The MILEX model is developed in static mode and dynamic mode. The application of the dynamic mode of the model is still under progress.

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ID Code: 60915
Item Type: QUT Thesis (Masters by Research)
Supervisor: Kent, Geoffrey Alan & Broadfoot, Ross
Keywords: bagasse, Brix extraction, dynamic modelling, extraction model, impurities, insoluble solids, juice, mass balance, milling efficiency, mill parameters, process modelling, simulation packages, sugarcane, soluble solids, suspended solids
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Science & Engineering Faculty
Institution: Queensland University of Technology
Deposited On: 24 Jun 2013 02:24
Last Modified: 01 Sep 2015 04:24

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