Local Cane Factory
Once cut, the cane is delivered straight to the factory since after burning off and cutting the sugar content deteriorates very rapidly. At the factory :
- The cane is cut into small pieces and shredded.
- It is crushed between heavy rollers to dewater the fibre.
- Juice is extracted in a perculation process with water in the diffuser.
- Lime is added to clean the resulting juice.
- The brown liquid is clarified to remove fibre particles and other impurities.
- Then the juice is boiled under vacuum to form a thick syrup.
- The syrup is then seeded to grow sugar crystals.
- The crystals (raw sugar) and syrup (molasses) are separated in a centrifuge (like a giant spin dryer).
- Brown raw sugar crystals are produced containing up to 4% of raw sugar impurities.
by-products from the sugar production process, namely bagasse or cane fibre
and molasses do not go to waste, but are utilised for a number of purposes.
The bagasse is used in boilers of the power stations at the mills to generate
electricity. Bagasse is also the basic ingredient of a range of fibre boards.
RCL Foods Sugar and Milling (Pty) Ltd − Sugar Animal Feed division, MOLATEK, uses a combination of bagasse, molasses and other ingredients to produce a full range of animal feeds at MOLATEK's Malelane factory.
The other by-product, cane molasses, is also converted into rum and baker's yeast as well as into animal feed and industrial potable alcohol.