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Sugar factory expansion earns excellence award

EXPANDING CAPACITY The expansion project was necessary for UCL to meet its season requirements

INSIDE VIEW OF CHAINLESS DIFFUSER Bosch redesigned the diffuser for UCL to widen it to meet UCL's needs

3rd December 2021

By: Nadine Ramdass

Creamer Media Writer


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Consulting engineering and project management company Bosch Projects was named a joint winner in the 2021 CESA Aon Engineering Excellence Awards, for the UCL 175 TCH Factory Expansion Project, in the category of projects valued between R50-million and R250-million.

“This annual awards programme, which is the initiative of Consulting Engineers South Africa (CESA) and insurance broker Aon South Africa, celebrates innovation, quality, outstanding workmanship and professionalism in the industry. Our team strives to always maintain these excellent standards,” says Bosch Projects sugar and industrial divisional manager Steven Roux.

Bosch Projects, part of the Bosch Holdings group of multidisciplinary consulting engineering companies, celebrates 60 years of business this year.

Bosch Projects was appointed by agricultural company UCL Company in February last year, to undertake three major projects for the recent expansion at its sugar factory in Dalton, KwaZulu-Natal. These projects comprised engineering, procurement and construction management (EPCM) services for the raw house expansion, chainless diffuser widening and process equipment supply.

“A major challenge of this project was to complete the work necessary at the factory for UCL to meet its 2021/22 season requirements, with sufficient capacity to process the increased sugar cane crop.

Despite tight time constraints during difficult Covid-19 conditions and the short two-month plant maintenance shutdown period, Bosch Projects successfully implemented these three projects simultaneously, between July 2020 and April 2021, he notes.

Following a four-month feasibility study undertaken by the Bosch Projects team to evaluate the potential increase in factory crush capacity from 150TCH to 175TCH, the company was commissioned to provide EPCM services to address the expansion project’s technical, commercial and contractual requirements.

Services undertaken by Bosch Projects during the EPCM project included project management, programming and scheduling, procurement and contract administration, construction management, commissioning, quality assurance and cost control.

Detailed integration engineering and design encompassed full process, mechanical equipment, piping, civil, structural, electrical and control systems engineering, commissioning and close out.

Owing to Covid-19 implications, coupled with the fast-paced nature and congested brownfield factory environment, the Bosch Projects team needed to be innovative and creative in its approach to detailed engineering solutions and the application of expertise.

Effective solutions were achieved for the client by using cloud-based multi-user design collaborative tools, specifically designed for remote working. Advanced technology enabled frequent online three-dimensional (3D) model reviews and provided state-of-the-art technology for site data gathering and meaningful interaction with site staff.

The use of the latest technology – an advanced augmented reality 3D model tool – enabled the construction teams to visualise the new plant integration live on site.

In addition, the team was responsible for a world first widening of the Bosch Projects chainless diffuser, to increase cane throughput by about 25%.

The team undertook the manufacture, supply, installation and commissioning of a 1 m width extension to the factory’s moving screen diffuser, to handle the increased crushed cane required to justify the back-end factory expansion.

This chainless diffuser was initially designed and installed by Bosch Projects for UCL in 2006.

The widening of the chainless diffuser required redesigning and replacement of many structures and components, including stage juice spray pipes and process piping and a new dewatering drum and kicker. A new juice distribution system, which comprises fully adjustable juice launders, allows optimum process control. Pumps and piping were relocated to suit the updated design.

New 3CR12 troughs, sidewalls and roof sections, as well as a new structure on one side of the diffuser, have been installed and the existing rafters were extended. The project also required additional lifting screws, hydraulic cylinders, pumps, piping and new hydraulic structures. New civils and foundation work and reconstructed walkways and access ways were also installed.

This component of the project – comprising full process and mechanical design, project and construction management, fabrication, installation and new civil and foundation works – was executed in nine months.

As part of the expansion project, UCL also appointed Bosch Projects to design, fabricate, supervise, install and commission several critical process equipment items, to fast-track the procurement process and meet project timelines.

The process equipment items supplied were a 45 m3 Continuous Vacuum Pan, a 2 500 m2 Long Tube Evaporator, two Strike Receivers (30 m3 and 50 m3 respectively), a 1.5 m3 condensate vessel and a 17 m2 rotary screen for draft juice screening.

Edited by Zandile Mavuso
Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor: Features



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