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Drive solutions for the sugar industry
3rd Quarter 2018, Electrical switching & drive systems & components

SEW-Eurodrive exhibited at the 91st congress of the South African Sugar Technologists’ Association (SASTA) from 14 to 16 August at the International Convention Centre in Durban.

The sugar industry represents a major growth area for SEW-Eurodrive, where it aims to supply energy-efficient drives to maximise the load and capacity of mills and refiners. “We provide unique drive engineering solutions, as factories require varying options for sugar production. Our geared motors are ideal for horizontal crystallisers, filters, clarifiers, conveyors, batch pans and mixers and packaging. We also offer back-up support and service,” says national sales manager Norman Maleka.

He explains that industrial gear solutions from SEW are in great demand in the sugar industry. Whether sugar cane or sugar beets, an extremely challenging production process is required to turn the harvested product into finely granulated sugar. The main component of any sugar factory, no matter where it is located globally, is the sugar mill. During the harvest period, these run 24/7 for several months.

This is a harsh environment that therefore requires highly robust and reliable drive solutions that can easily generate a nominal torque of up to 1,9 million Nm. Typical applications for these large gear units are rotary kilns and segmented girth gears, large agitators, extruders, and crane technology, among others.

As with industry in general, the sugar sector is also moving towards tailored drive packages and total system solutions. SEW has the necessary application knowledge for this specific sector, in addition to offering process and logistics expertise.

“Our clients in the sugar industry require custom solutions that can be implemented quickly and reliably for maximum productivity from the get-go. Our plus-80 years of experience in drive technology means we are the ideal partner for the sugar industry,” Maleka highlights.

Coupled to this is SEW’s international expertise and experience in the sugar industry. For example, it supplied three-stage bevel-helical gear units and 200 kW IE3 DRN motors to the Offstein plant of Südzucker AG, a global market leader in sugar production that processes 16 000 t of sugar beets a day into about 2000 t of glucose syrup and sugar.

Here, a new conveyor belt was equipped with two almost identical drives. The two gear motors were connected to the drive drum using a pin coupling. For changing from one gear unit to another, the two couplings had to be interchanged mechanically, an efficient process that could be undertaken within two hours thanks to the solution provided by SEW.

The IE3 motors supplied are operated at a fixed rotational speed, and are also suitable for soft-start. Torque is transmitted from the motors to the conveyor belt by the two large industrial gear units, designed for a nominal gear unit torque of 90 kNm.

In terms of SEW’s latest innovations for the sugar industry, Maleka points to the P-X Industrial Gear unit series, which combines a compact planetary stage with a robust versatile industrial gear unit. This provides for a perfect solution for medium- to high-torque drives, especially in demanding applications such as the sugar industry. In addition, the combination of planetary and helical-bevel gear units translates into an optimum power/weight ratio, in addition to an improved thermal limit rating by means of a shared oil chamber.

SEW has the distinct advantage of being able to provide a fully comprehensive drive technology portfolio from a single source. “We rely not only on our own universal expertise in mechanical, electrical, and electronic drive technology for your specific solution, but are also able to offer the necessary expertise in control technology, engineering tools and system software, enhanced further by the highest safety and energy efficiency standards,” Maleka concludes.

For more information contact Jana Klut, SEW-Eurodrive, +27 11 248 7000,,

Supplied By: SEW-Eurodrive
Tel: +27 11 248 7000
Fax: +27 11 248 7289
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