Part of an OVC on site in Mexico

First VKT commissioned in Mexico

Installation of C-VKT: the missing link

Mexico is known as an innovator among sugar producing countries in Latin America. Its sugar industry takes an interest in new technologies and in ways of improving the sugar process by optimising energy consumption and increasing sugar output – which is where BMA steps in.

In fact, machinery and equipment from BMA have always played a major role in this Latin American country. Our cooling crystalliser (OVC), molasses-massecuite mingler (MMM, the BMA solution for preheating massecuite) and massecuite pump all perfectly complement K centrifugals from BMA, which are popular in Mexico. And word has spread fast about the efficiency of this technology: to date, 13 OVC have been installed in Latin America, nine of them in Mexico. 

The missing link to complete this range was a vertical continuous pan (VKT) – until now. In May 2018, Grupo Piasa decided to upgrade the crystallisation station for C product at its Adolfo Lopez Mateos plant by adding a state-of-the-art vertical continuous pan from BMA to the OVC cooling crystallisers.

Full capacity

The VKT consists of four independent, vertically stacked crystallisation chambers (vapour chamber and calandria with a double-cone bottom). Each crystallisation chamber has its own agitator, as well as individual controls for heating steam pressure, vapour pressure and dry substance content. Consequently, each chamber can be cleaned without any loss of capacity. 

Massecuite flows from top to bottom, with even crystal growth in each chamber. The flow of feed solution into each chamber is automatically set to the required dry substance setpoint value. Seed massecuite is fed only into the top chamber (or the second chamber, while the first one is cleaned), as a proportion of the total feed solution. This helps ensure a consistent crystal size in the massecuite discharged from the final chamber.   

Thanks to the design of the chambers and agitators, excellent circulation of the massecuite can be achieved. As a result, and in combination with the low massecuite levels in the chambers, only low-pressure heating steam is needed.

Excellent score for installation

Designed for continuous operation, the VKT ensures an even intake of heating steam from the evaporators, and of feed solution and seed massecuite, as well as a continuous output of condensate and massecuite based on the required capacity. It also scores well in terms of ease of installation, as it requires no additional steel structure, has a small footprint, and can be installed outdoors. 

The enormous benefits of the VKT and its flexibility in operation were major reasons why Grupo PIASA, one of Mexico’s pioneers, chose to clearly “stand out from the crowd”: with the installation of a 4-chamber VKT, the customer has added the missing link to its BMA range. At Grupo Piasa’s Adolfo López Mateos plant, C product is now processed only with equipment from BMA.

Maria Cramer
Author of the article