Igor Djoukwe? is Plant Manager at Compagnie Sucrie?re Se?ne?galaise based in Dakar, Senegal. Between 2006 and 2014, Djoukwe? worked for BMA AG, most recently as Senior Sales Manager for the West Africa region.
Mr Djoukwe?, in the past, BMA focused its business mostly on beet sugar plants and refineries. But in the past three to four years, it has increasingly stepped up again its activities in the cane sugar industry. As a former employee and current customer of BMA, you have unique insight into both the opportunities and the risks BMA faces in the cane sugar sector. What would you say is BMA‘s status in the industry?
Many thought initially that BMA was not really prepared for the demands of this market. But that changed quickly. By now, it is clear that the experience BMA has gained in the beet sugar industry is in many areas perfectly transferable to the cane sugar sector. This is particularly true when it comes to energy efficiency. Today, many factories invest more in improving their efficiency – and BMA has an outstanding engineering division that can provide excellent support with mass and heat balances.
Could you name some examples?
Of course. One would be cooling crystallisation. BMA developed its OVC vertical cooling crystalliser for beet sugar production – but I think that it is even more suitable for the sector I work in. With its configuration, it is certainly an excellent approach to dealing with the problems we typically face in cane sugar production with the output of C-product.
Another good example are BMA‘s falling-film evaporators. Other companies have in the past tried to introduce such equipment in cane sugar production. But this never really worked, for a number of reasons. A recent project in India, involving installation of a 5-effect evaporator station from BMA, demonstrated, though, that it can work. I could continue this list: vacuum pans, BMA‘s new diffuser, and, of course, its centrifugals. All of these have now proven their worth in cane sugar production. I would say that about sixty percent of all operators today would opt for a diffuser rather than a traditional mill for cane sugar extraction.
You mentioned India, but what about the market in West and Central Africa? Have your colleagues also recognised the opportunities that BMA offers?
I should think so. Simply because our plants are showpieces for the entire industry in the region, and because we are a good BMA customer. Our OVC, the evaporator station, the massecuite pumps and centrifugals – these are all BMA products. Most sugar factories in West and Central Africa follow closely what we do. And when we‘re successful, they copy us. (laughs)