Consulting engineering and project management solutions company Bosch Projects was appointed by wattle bark miller and sugar producer UCL Company to undertake three major projects for the recent expansion at its sugar factory in Dalton, KwaZulu-Natal.
Bosch Projects is a member of the multidisciplinary consulting engineering group Bosch Holdings.
These projects comprised engineering, procurement and construction management (EPCM) services for the raw house expansion, chainless diffuser widening and process equipment supply.
“A major challenge was to complete the work necessary at the factory for UCL to meet its 2021/22 season requirements, with sufficient capacity to process the increased sugar cane crop,” explains Bosch Projects sugar sector director Steve Rosettenstein.
Despite tight time constraints during difficult Covid-19 conditions and the short two-month plant maintenance shutdown period, Bosch Projects successfully implemented these three projects simultaneously, between July last year and March.
“Following a four-month feasibility study undertaken by the Bosch Projects team to evaluate the potential increase in factory crush capacity from 150 t/h of cane to 175 t/h of cane, the company was commissioned to provide EPCM services to address the expansion project’s technical, commercial and contractual requirements.”
Services undertaken by Bosch Projects during the EPCM project included project management, programming and scheduling, procurement and contract administration, construction management, commissioning, quality assurance and cost control.
Detailed integration engineering and design encompassed full process, mechanical equipment, piping, civil, structural, electrical and control systems engineering, commissioning and close out.
Covid-19 implications, coupled with the fast-paced nature and congested brownfield factory environment, meant the Bosch Projects team needed to be innovative and creative in its approach to detailed engineering solutions and the application of expertise.
Effective solutions were achieved for the client by using cloud-based multi-user design collaborative tools, specifically designed for remote working. Advanced technology enabled frequent online three-dimensional (3D) model reviews and provided state-of the-art technology for site data gathering and meaningful interaction with site staff.
The use of the latest technology – an advanced augmented reality 3D model tool – enabled the construction teams to visualise the new plant integration live on site.
In addition, the team was responsible for a world-first widening of the Bosch Projects chainless diffuser, to increase cane throughput by about 25%.
The team undertook the manufacture, supply, installation and commissioning of a 1-m-wide extension to the factory’s moving screen diffuser, to handle the increased crushed cane required to justify the back-end factory expansion.
This chainless diffuser was initially designed and installed by Bosch Projects for UCL in 2006.
The widening of the chainless diffuser required the redesigning and replacement of many structures and components, including stage juice spray pipes and process piping, as well as a new dewatering drum and kicker. A new juice distribution system, which comprises fully adjustable juice launders, allows for improved process control.
Pumps and piping were relocated to suit the updated design.
New 3CR12 troughs, side-walls and roof sections, as well as a new structure on one side of the diffuser, were installed and the existing rafters were extended. The project also required additional lifting screws, hydraulic cylinders, pumps, piping and new hydraulic structures.
New civils and foundation works and reconstructed walkways and access ways were also installed.
This component of the project – comprising full process and mechanical design, project and construction management, fabrication, installation and new civil and foundation works – was executed in nine months.
As part of the expansion project, UCL also appointed Bosch Projects to design, fabricate, supervise installation and commission several critical process equipment items, to fast-track the procurement process and meet project timelines.
The process equipment items supplied were a 45 m3 “C”continuous vacuum pan, a 2 500 m2 long tube evaporator, two 30 m3 and 50 m3 strike receivers, a 1.5 m3 condensate vessel, and a 17 m2 rotary screen for draft juice screening.
The Bosch Projects equipment team was responsible for every aspect of these equipment supply projects – including design compliance in accordance with project-specific and regulatory pressure vessel standards and specifications, the fabrication and quality control of the fabrication, logistics, rigging and installation, as well the commissioning and hand-over under strict Covid-19 conditions.