Diffuser upgrade

MAJOR renovations to the Fiji Sugar Corporation’s diffuser plant will improve sugar extraction to 97 per cent, says CEO Graham Clark. “A new chain was last fitted to the diffuser in 2009 and since the diffuser installation over twenty years ago we have had an accumulation of some very tired and worn out structural parts both inside and outside of the diffuser which required replacement,” he said in a statement released yesterday.

Mr Clark explained that unlike the sugar milling process which squeezed sugar from cane, sugar extraction by diffuser was done through a washing process.

And the sucrose contained in the fibre cells were washed out over 16 stages of gradually diminishing sucrose concentration.

Mr Clark said all the critical renovation parts required were on site and being installed.

“While all these mechanical improvements are being carried out, we also need to reinforce technical training for our team to operate and maintain the machine with the best possible care and attention at all times.”

The CEO said around 50 workers involved in the diffuser project, were working towards getting it operational by mid-June and ready for the new crushing season.

The Lautoka mill diffuser holds up to three hundred tonnes of cane per hour when in operation, and the extraction process lasts about fifty minutes while the cane is inside the diffuser.

The diffuser project is part of the $30 million capital works that will be conducted in all three mills by the FSC.