VKT in Japan successfully commissioned

BMA replaces batch-type vacuum pans at Hokuto

Heating pipes at the start of calandria piping
Heating pipes at the start of calandria piping

Energy-efficient vapour use

Since 2013, more and more state subsidies have been granted to the sugar industry in Japan. As reported in BMA Info 52/2014, these subsidies enabled the Japanese sugar producer HOKUTO to order from BMA supply and installation of two 4-chamber VKT (diameter: 3.6 m) for its Kitami factory, one each for A and B product. The scope of supplies comprised the massecuite pumps, calandrias and agitators, as well as proven DynFAS microwave units for measuring the dry substance content. At the same time, HOKUTO ordered five batch-type B1750L centrifugals for massecuite curing. One particular highlight of the overall energy management concept is the reuse of vapour. Using motive steam (1.2 – 1.53 bar(a)) from the second evaporator effect, the vapour from the B-VKT is compressed to the necessary heating steam pressure of 0.375 bar(a) for the A-VKT. This is operated at a sub-atmospheric pressure of 0.1 bar(a), which is equivalent to 45.8 °C. The B-VKT receives heating steam from the third evaporator effect (0.773 bar(a)) and is operated at a sub-atmospheric pressure of 0.23 bar(a) or 63 °C. The engineering services from BMA included the work related to the above scope and additional assistance in dimensioning the condenser and two strike receivers.

Assembly of agitator drive
Assembly of agitator drive


Close collaboration across borders

The VKT tanks were manufactured locally, saving shipping costs, but also because of the very limited and strictly regulated transportation options on the island of Hokkaido. Once the components manufactured by BMA had been delivered in summer 2014, both VKT were assembled on site, with an experienced BMA site supervisor present.

As is usual in Japan, communication between BMA and the customer was very close throughout the project, made possible with coordination from the Japanese representative Matsubo Corp. It included several visits by Japanese delegations to BMA in Braunschweig and to a number of sugar factories in Germany. These were aimed at familiarising the customer with the new technology and control system for the continuous vacuum pans, in preparation for the commissioning of the equipment.

Left: VKT under construction, Right: Project completed, VKT now integrated into factory building
Left: VKT under construction, Right: Project completed, VKT now integrated into factory building

BMA professionals completed this in October 2015 as scheduled, with the VKT and all centrifugals fully meeting the customer's expectations. Thanks to the intensive preparations and excellent process data, a performance run was started immediately afterwards, which the BMA equipment passed with flying colours.

To ensure that all machine operators would be able to handle the machines perfectly in different conditions, additional training and consulting services from BMA were agreed. Even after commissioning, HOKUTO can thus still benefit from the process expertise of BMA's engineers.

Jörg Schulte-Schrepping

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