In sugar factories and refineries material balances are very much part of the work done by sugar technologists. Material balances are required to calculate efficiencies and quantities of products in stock, to investigate potential problems, and to provide information in many other areas.
Polarimetry has been used in the sugar industry for a long time; Browne & Zerban mention that the Biot and Ventze polariscopes were used with sugar solutions in 1840 and 1842 respectively. The concept and its application in sugar analyses are described in chemistry textbooks (Willard et al. 1974).
Do many sugar technologists consider applied statistics a useful topic and therefore worth attention? If the answer is no, as I believe it would be, then this is sad. A working knowledge of applied statistics is very useful, even essential, in any process involving chemistry, engineering, agriculture and finance, which are all relevant in the sugarcane industry.
As was the case for other topics in previous Blackboards, post-harvest cane deterioration was already studied more than 120 years ago. Hes (1950) quotes results obtained in many countries over the period 1894 to 1946. He states that burning increased deterioration, caused weight loss, and that wet cane “soured rapidly, causing a good deal of trouble on the pan floor.”
In 1959 Vallance & Young, commenting on the introduction of chopper harvesters, noted that billets (BI) would deteriorate faster than whole stalk (WS) cane between harvesting and milling because of the increased number of cut ends; these would intensify sugar losses due to fermentation and to increased respiration
The impact of EM on processing has been investigated extensively. In 1949 (Anon.1) the disadvantages to factory work caused by excessive quantities of EM in cane were discussed at length. Trash decreased sucrose (S) in total cane, increased the fibre content, and decreased the Java Ratio which affected cane payment.
EM in sugarcane can be of vegetable or mineral nature. The former includes immature tops, green/dry leaves, sheaths, side shoots and suckers; the minerals consist mainly of soil/sand present in the harvested cane. In the past all the EM in sugarcane was viewed as a problem with negative effects during harvesting, loading and transporting of the cane and on processing through reduced throughputs, poor boiler operation, sucrose losses and poor sugar quality.