Sugar cane farmers in Southern India

Study shows stainless is ideal for India’s sugar industry

A recent study in India has shown that stainless steel is the most cost effective, hygienic and viable metal for sugar industry. Lower maintenance and longer life cycle gives stainless steel an edge over other materials.
 
Sugar cane farmers in Southern India

Article by Mr. Abhyuday Jindal, MD, Jindal Stainless, India

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Corrosion and the rapid wear of the equipment that transforms cane sugar into refined white sugar are the two major problems that afflict the growth of sugar industry. A technical study supported by Jindal Stainless Ltd along with JP Mukherjee & Associates, a global sugar industry consultant, has concluded stainless steel as the best material for use in the sugar industry. The joint study was undertaken to identify issues and recommend the best material for sugar industry equipment.


Combatting corrosion

The study was released at the annual convention of Sugar Technologists’ Association of India in Indore, which was held in August. Commenting on the release of study, Managing Director, Jindal Stainless, Mr. Abhyuday Jindal said, “Corrosion, the biggest challenge in the sugar industry can be easily countered with stainless steel. This report reiterates the strengths of stainless steel as a low maintenance, corrosion free, easy to fabricate and hygienic metal along with longer life cycle. The study points out that the sugar industry will stand to benefit economically with stainless steel solutions as corrosion related losses will reduce drastically by almost 50%”. As per industry estimates, losses due to corrosion in sugar industry is as high as USD $ 250 million annually in India. Equipment in the sugar industry incurs high maintenance costs owing to the acidic nature of sugar cane juice and gaseous discharge, which increases the overall operational cost of sugar mill. This paper has revealed that the sugar industry has enormous scope to reduce corrosion and maintenance related losses by selecting the optimal stainless steel grades, which are easily available in India. The outcome of the study was inferred after meticulous examination and testing of over 300 applications where different materials are used in the sugar industry. The research was focused on the components of the sugar industry where high abrasion, high maintenance, hygiene and life cycle were a high concern.


Driving rural development

The cost analysis using stainless steel worked out by this study was significantly economical considering the life cycle analysis of stainless steel in spite of a slightly higher initial cost. The research paper has deduced stainless steel will maintain the quality of sugar due its inert chemical nature. The sugar industry is one of the key drivers of rural development and a partner in India’s economic growth. This industry also provides sustenance to millions of farmers thus is critical and should remain financially sound. Stainless steel by virtue of its superior hygiene and strength is a suitable metal in equipment such as cane carriers, juice ducts, crystallization units, condensers, syrup tanks, cane shredders, Donnely chutes, imbibition piping and rake elevators.
 

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