TULLY Sugar has embarked on more than $8 million worth of upgrades to help the mill crush cane faster and the season shorter.
On the back of its third record cane crush – 2,935,950 tonnes in 2016 – the mill has kicked off 2017 with an comprehensive program of upgrades.
Mill manager Barry Dun said a key feature of the program was doubling the shredder, which smashes the cane into pulp.
“Our existing shredder is under powered for the work we have been asking it to do so we are doubling that by installing a new turbine on that unit,” Mr Dun said. “It arrives in Townsville next week.
“We are completely rebuilding the receival hopper into the mill, which will be able to get the cane into the mill faster.
“We are upgrading the part of the evaporator station where we boil water off the juice and installing a new centrifugal, a big spin driver which separates the crystals from the molasses, as well.”
Mr Dun said goal of the upgrade program was to increase the mill’s capacity.
“It means we will be able to crush at a faster rate more often and that will mean a shorter season,” Mr Dun said.
“We have been remarkably lucky in the last two years to get enormous crops off, crushing right to the end of the year.
“The weather event we have just seen is a good reminder to us all about what can happen in this part, essentially in December, and if that happened in our season we would be leaving a lot of cane in paddocks.
“Our aim is to get finished much earlier than Christmas time.”
The upgrade program comes on top of a large maintenance program underway to get the mill ready for a 30 May crushing start.