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Sugar processing

Production

How are the sugar beet unloaded from the vehicles at the factory?
In the dry unloading of vehicles (side or rear dumpers), the sugar beet drop onto belt conveyors and are mechanically precleaned.
In wet unloading, the sugar beet are unloaded from the vehicles using a water jet and are conveyed further by water. Spraying and floating means that the sugar beet are already cleaned in advance.

How long does it take to process sugar beet into crystal sugar?
If it were possible to flag a molecule of sugar in a beet that is transported to the factory for processing to make it recognisable, it would take less than an average of 8 hours for it to be transported back to the silo as newly produced crystal sugar.

Is chemistry involved in sugar processing?
Physical processes such as filtration, evaporation and crystallisation are used in sugar processing. Chemical reactions are used to purify the juice: The substances extracted from the sugar beet together with the sugar are separated out using lime milk and carbon dioxide as auxiliary materials. Not all non-sugar substances react with the lime in this process. Very small doses of other process materials are used, for example to prevent the undesired formation of foam or coating of evaporator heating surfaces. The sugar itself does not undergo any chemical change.

Why is sugar such a pure white?
Sugar only appears to be white. The sugar crystals are actually colourless. All substances that might impart colour are removed during processing. The surfaces of the colourless crystals reflect incoming light. This creates an impression of whiteness, as in the case of snow.

Are all kinds of sugar produced at each works?
No, there is a division of labour between individual works, so that each type can be produced and delivered cost-effectively, depending on market demand.

How large is the storage capacity of the sugar silos?
In about 1980, most new silos had a storage capacity of between 35,000 and 40,000 tonnes of sugar. Since 1990, silos with a capacity of as much as 50,000 tonnes of sugar have been built. The maximum height from which sugar is poured should not exceed 40m, however.