Cane Sugar Production Steps
Approximately 10% of the sugar cane can be processed to commercial sugar. Sugar cane contains 70% water; 14% fiber; 13.3% saccharose (about 10 to 15% sucrose); and 2.7% soluble impurities.
The sugar cane has its sugar in the cane stalk which has to be separated from the leaves before processing. In earlier practice the leaves were burned with the cane stalk still on its root. This facilitated the access to the field but resulted in a great loss of organic material as well as to some sugar loss. The more modern practice is to have green harvesting followed by leaves separation in the field leaving the organic material as fertilizer for the ground. The sugar cane is then washed, disintegrated and the juice is extracted from them. This juice is then clarified to remove mud, evaporated to prepare syrup, crystallized to separate out the liquor, and then centrifuged to separate molasses from the crystals. Sugar crystals are then dried and may be further refined before bagging for shipment. Refinement of the sugar may also take place in a different location from the initial processing and can therefore be done year round. In some places (for example, in South Africa), extraction of juice is performed by the diffusion process which can give higher rates of extraction with lower energy consumption and reduced operating and maintenance costs.