Pongola Sugar Mill

Client: RCL
Location: South Africa
Scope: Engineering, Procurement and Contruction Management
Period: 2016

RCL Foods needed to re-establish their refined sugar conditioning facility at Pongola after the 2000ton conditioning silo failed. DRA’s scope on the project included the Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) supply and installation of the new dryer cooler system with all the associated material handling and de dusting equipment. In addition, DRA modified the old refined sugar drying system to dry raw sugar. This modification has removed a bottled neck for the factory and enabled record raw sugar outputs.

DRA managed to re-established the silo in 2016 at approximately half the capacity with a reduced residence time. Rather than replace the damaged section of the silo with new capacity, DRA opted to implement the latest low temperature drying technology through the replacement of the existing refined dryer with a new counter current cascade dryer followed by a fluidised Bed Cooler (FBC).

The idea of low temperature counter current drying was introduced as an alternative. This method avoids forming a hard amorphous layer on the sugar crystal. It was followed by a fluidised bed cooler, which then removed fine sugar dust. Both the gentle cooling and dust removal enabled bound moisture in the sugar crystal to migrate to the surface quickly and ensured that the sugar from the smaller conditioning silo were free flowing and meet all RCL specifications.