German sugar factories
About the Offenau factory
Since the former sugar mills in Stuttgart and Heilbronn were being engulfed by the cities' ever expanding residential communities, Süddeutsche Zucker AG decided to build a new, larger factory. To achieve optimum economies of scale, it was designed to also take over the production volume of Zuckerfabrik Züttlingen. The Offenau facility's first beet campaign took place in 1971. In conjunction with the planned shut-down of the Waghäusel sugar mill, the factory was expanded from a production capacity of 8,500 tonnes of beets per day in time for the 1996 campaign to its current 12,500 tonnes beets per day. Offenau is thus one of Südzucker's major plants.
Factory and production performance
The plant operates twenty-four hours per day during the beet campaign between September and January. About 12,500 tonnes of beets are delivered and converted to syrup and sugar per day. Some of the syrup produced daily is stored and converted to white sugar during a separate beet syrup campaign in May and June of the following year.
The total volume of sugar produced at the factory can satisfy the needs of just under six million consumers. The factory's two sugar silos hold up to 70,000 tonnes of sugar.
Energy requirements and environment
The plant's energy requirements are provided by two high-pressure steam turbines fired by natural gas or oil. The steam turbines drive two electric generators that supply the plant with electricity, and the low-pressure exiting steam is used as a source of heat in the production process - a classic cogeneration configuration.
Beets consist of about seventy-five percent water. The water from the beets is sent to dedicated in-plant circuits and reused; for example, to wash incoming beets. Now enriched with organic elements and soil, it is then sent to holding basins and mechanically purified, before being processed further in an anaerobic plant, also called a biogas plant because of the biogas generated. The latter is used to displace some of the primary energy consumed by the boiler plant. The water is then treated in another anaerobic plant, where the nitrogen is removed, and subsequently fed to the Jagst River via a secondary sediment basin.
Most workers are specialists qualified to handle the sugar extraction equipment, as well as repair and maintain the sophisticated technical systems. Every year, operations maintenance technicians, industrial mechanics and one industrial accountant are trained at Offenau as part of an apprenticeship program.
Partnership with farmers
Südzucker Group relies on its close partnership with the agricultural industry. About 2,200 farmers plant sugar beets for the factory. The area covered spans from Tübingen in the south to greater Wertheim/Tauberbischofsheim in the north and from the Rhine River in the west to Crailsheim in the east.
Beet cultivation and payment are regulated by a contract. In areas such as beet growing and the associated logistics, among others, Südzucker and farmers work in partnership in order to ensure that the quality of the raw materials supplied to the factories; i.e., beets, is the best possible, and that they arrive at the right time.
Sugar varieties produced at the Offenau factory
The Offenau plant is a major producer of household sugar. Some of the sugar varieties the mill makes include fine sugar in one-kilogram packages, icing sugar in 250-gram packages, plus brown sugar in 500-gram plastic bags. The white sugar produced at the Offenau plant for the secondary processing industry is shipped loose in dry bulk containers and in twenty-five and fifty-kilogram sacks. Icing sugar is also sent to processors in sacks.
Animal feed, molasses and carbolic lime, sold as "Carbokalk", are valuable byproducts also produced at the Offenau factory.
address = Ludwig-Kayser-Straße, 74254 Offenau
Südzucker AG Werk Offenau
Phone ++49 71 36/81-0