News from Braunschweig

Drive ‘Death Rattle’

We have publish this particular editorial again as we are still getting numerous requests for assistance in this regard.

If you have changed your motor, have had the motor re-wound, had the drive serviced, cleaned the drive cards to remove sugar dust or changed your drive parameters, then the deafening rattle during ramping up will most probably be the drive and not mechanical bearings or basket locking hoods.

The noise itself sounds like a pneumatic chipping hammer and will most likely appear during ramping up and disappear again when maximum speed is reached.

This is caused by the drive and motor no longer being matched which causes the drive to run away and then correct itself several hundred times a minute creating a forward and backwards motion on the motor rotor which can erode away the main coupling spider in a matter of hours.

It may sound mechanical but check the electrics first especially if the drive looks like this one above.

An easy way of testing, if you have an older machine with an encoder, is to change the parameter settings to Volts per Hertz and play with the gains until it is smooth, normally around 14 to 16.

Open Letter to all Sugar Groups.

We had distributed this letter at SASTA, however after we received several requests we now pass it on to all our readers electronically.

We have been approached by all the main groups in our sugar agency area to either hold, reduce, discount our supply products and services pricing, to assist the sugar producers to reduce their operation costs.

  • We appreciate and understand the current industry position and will assist in any way possible that does not place Sucrotech into a precarious operation position.
  • As you are aware, we already provide no-charge assistance for operation, fault finding, process optimisation and machine assessments where possible. This will continue in the future as part of our operations philosophy.
  • Our cost of labour in performing machine overhauls is well within the local norms, and is estimated against a speed of undertaking that is well below the norm due to the tooling and experience we have on high speed rotating equipment.
  • Machine parts, consumable spares hat are imported, are held in our stock in Durban to assist in a quick supply to you and to keep your downtime to a minimum
  • Reducing our parts supply costs of course can be done to various degrees on our spares / components, but with a total margin after tax of around 15% and a local stock holding of R10million does not leave us much room to maneuvre.
  • To further assist you in this industry crisis would mean reducing our overhead costing which would have a direct knock-on effect of service to you, which we therefore do not recommend.
  • We have for the last 2 years and may well again undertake the same at the end of this year, absorb any increase by overseas manufacturers and also absorb any inflation increases both locally and abroad. This has in effect given a discounted percentage reduction of between 7.5 and 25 percent for the last two years (depending on the item value) and will be double that by the end of 2020.
  • On receipt of your 2018 request for assistance, we have revisited all our suppliers of raw and finished products, to again request them to discount or to engineer ways of reducing costs to us either in package or minimum quantity buying. This will be directly passed on to the end user.

Sucrotech is an operating (Pty) Ltd with financials available to any applicant in terms of the Access to Information Act.  As you must agree, we are not a bank nor a charity and we request that on the basis of our commitment to your request during this financial downturn, that we may re adjust our current discounting once the sugar price has increased. This may also include you addressing your production operating in house costs with optimisation and training, where we can be of assistance.

Trusting this will be acceptable and of assistance.

Sucrotech’s Directors

Winter Cane – ‘B’ spinning

During the colder season, when the cane and massecuite is not at its best and the dextrin’s are high, the mother liquor does not separate easily from the crystal and liquor is carried over into the sugar.

To combat this, the ratio of wash water must be adjusted  with  a   higher  percentage  of  water directed onto the screen area and reduced water to the feed chute. NB this is not additional water just water applied in a different area.

In a normal situation up to 80% of the water is fed into the ring at the feed nozzle into the machine and 20% onto the screen. When the massecuite viscosity is high this can change to as much as 50% to each area.

Visit to see Sucrotech.

We tend to see the same technicians and engineers in our workshops when inspecting their equipment being refurbished or to see how it’s coming along the remainder of the client staff we only see when we visit the mills.

This off-crop was however different when we received  all  of  the back-end  staff,  buyers  and

QA/C members of staff from Mhlume Sugar Mill to see us work on their equipment here in Durban.

They all now have an impression of who they are dealing with on the phone, a sense of the size of our work shop facilities and a first-hand viewing of all the stock we carry.

Thanks Mhlume Management for arranging this visit to your Durban suppliers

21 Days at home… or more?

Being an essential supplier to the Sugar Industry Sucrotech has remained open to supply strategic spares to your depots. ………………………………………                                               

We also have a skeleton staff on call to undertake repairs to your equipment at our works.

We are however not allowed to travel to the mills themselves, but plenty of fault finding guidance can be given over the phone by some of the team.  Stay safe.


Ronnie Chetty          - Business Manager Sugar

Sheryl Moodley        - Spares servicing            

Cheryl Callanan        - Accounts 

Clayton Chinneck         - Works Manager

Stuart Ritchie            - Engineering

Ian Ivison                  - Commercial

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