Responsible for 33 percent of the sugar produced in Ecuador, the Ingenio Valdez sugar mill will operate with a completely automated extraction process, following the installation of WEG automation and control equipment. In addition to increasing the processing capacity of the mill, the WEG equipment will also enable Ingenio Valdez to reduce its energy costs, and cut manual plant input. Established 126 years ago, and now cultivating a total area of 14,000 hectares of sugarcane plantations, Compañia Azucarera Valdez, (better known as Ingenio Valdez) installed a complete WEG Automation solution in 2010 that will practically double production at its sugar mill, currently running at nine thousand tons of sugar per day. Located in the city of Milagro, in Ecuador, the Ingenio Valdez mill has a healthy 33 percent share of the Ecuadorian sugar market, and currently employs more than 3,000 people.
The WEG automation solution will both simplify and improve efficiency at the mill, with just a single control room interfacing via distributed networks to perform digital processes and collect data within the mill. WEG MCC panels (Motor Control Centers) are being installed to control the Uni-Systems technology diffuser, which replaces the traditional crusher, as part of the modernization process. The diffuser is a state-of-the-art processing machine, which, with the support of WEG's automation solution, will be able to process up to 14,000 tons/day of sugar, as opposed to the 9,000 tons processed by the previous, and now deactivated, three-roll crushers.
According to Marcos Mesquita, WEG specialist in Sugar and Ethanol Processes, this automation solution represents the opening of a new market for WEG, entirely focused on companies which specialize in the exclusive production of sugar. "The control of the diffuser provided by a WEG Automação solution is closely connected to the quality of the juice extracted from the sugarcane, and the efficiency of the cane preparation developed under strict control standards," he said.
"This project will allow a better command of all the variables of the electrical processes of extraction. It is a large step forward for Ingenio Valdez," commented Edgar Sandoval, industrial director of Ingenio Valdez.