Level measurement in sugar silos

MBA level measurement technology

The quality of stored sugar can be significantly impaired by condensation. Reliable silo level measurement supports material handling in the sugar industry.

To prevent the formation of condensation and keep sugar free-flowing, the silos used should have flow aids that promote the flow of sugar crystals through the container and control spillage. The special properties of the stored sweeteners must be taken into account: Granulated sugar, for example, flows freely, binds water and clumps easily. Icing sugar, on the other hand, does not flow freely and creates dust.

The measurement technology must also react to such special handling properties of sugar. MBA Instruments relies on universal solutions for these applications. For example, our rotating paddle detectors with stepper motor are suitable for level measurement in various sugar silos.

Our measuring devices are so robust and so precise that they accurately detect the point levels in sugar silos.

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Challenges in the measurement of sugar

Granulated sugar flows freely and forms an almost flat surface. As a result, the measurement signal is often reflected to the side.

This can be easily demonstrated using a smooth metal sheet, where the entire energy is reflected to the side due to the smooth surface. A clear signal is only obtained when the sheet is treated with sandpaper. A similar situation arises when measuring sugar. The signals obtained are difficult to detect.

If interference signals are added, for example due to circumferential weld seams in the silos, this leads to unreliable measurement signals.

Point level measurement technology in sugar silos

for the reduction of interference signals

MBA Instruments has developed the MBA888 precisely for such measurements. The rotating paddle detector is very well suited for measuring point levels of sugar.

Its robust design ensures reliable performance and a long service life, even in demanding environments. The good focussing of the measuring device helps to better separate the actual measuring signal from interfering signals, especially in narrow containers with internals. By precisely measuring point levels in narrow containers with internals, the MBA888 helps to make production processes more efficient and minimise downtimes.

In environments where moisture, dust and temperature fluctuations are the order of the day, this rotating paddle detector proves itself through its reliability and durability. It offers consistent performance even under the most adverse conditions. The precise point level measurements offered by the MBA888 help to optimise production processes and minimise downtime. This not only means improved efficiency, but also a reduction in costs and ultimately an increase in competitiveness.

In addition to the MBA888, other measuring devices can also be used for point level measurement in sugar silos.

Rotary paddles for sugar silos

Robust and precise: the rotating paddle detector series from MBA impresses with its innovative safety technology. These detectors are not only reliable, but also extremely versatile. Depending on the specific requirements, they are used in sugar silos as full, on-demand and empty detectors.

Rotating paddle detectors

Vibrating level switch for sugar silos

Adaptable, efficient and robust: The MBA vibrating level switches for point level detection adapt to your requirements in the sugar silo. As full, demand and empty detectors, they work reliably and accurately under extreme conditions.

Vibrating level switch

Membrane switch for sugar silos

Membrane switches from MBA fulfil central point level measurement tasks in sugar silos. The purely mechanical level switch is characterised by its particularly user-friendly handling. Simply attach it to the silo wall and connect it to the signal line to put the membrane switch into operation.

Membrane switch

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Advantages of MBA measurement technology

These properties characterise rotating paddle detectors:

ATEX certification

Our certified level indicators not only guarantee precise measurements, but also offer maximum safety in the sugar silo.

Maintenance-free measurement

We offer maximum reliability thanks to our level indicators with 24/7 availability and guarantee assured process stability.

Flexibility in dimensions and materials

We customise the flange to your requirements. This applies to both the flange dimensions and the material - whatever suits your silo best.

Simple handling

Neither adjustment nor calibration is necessary. The MBA measuring devices are simply attached to the silo flange with 6 screws.

The bulk solids sugar

Sugar is a basic product for many foods and is obtained from sugar cane or sugar beet. In addition, even small amounts of sugar enhance the taste of natural flavours. This is why sugar is used as an ingredient both in the home kitchen and by companies in the production of foods - from gherkins to ketchup. There are various types of sugar, from liquid to dry. Sugar silos tend to be used for dry sugar.

When storing sugar, for example white sugar, suitable measures must be taken to ensure that the quality of the sugar is not impaired. This includes, in particular, maintaining the free-flowing properties of the sugar.

Natural sugars are all naturally occurring sugars found in nature. The natural sugar is formed in the plant and is not isolated from the food by industrial processes.

In contrast, all types of sugar that are artificially produced industrially from sugary foods through refining processes are summarised as industrial sugar. The production of sugar, whether from sugar cane or sugar beet, is very complex and production is seasonal.

Sugar production

In order to produce a non-vital, isolated carbohydrate such as industrial sugar from the naturally occurring sugar beet or sugar cane, the sugar must be extracted from the corresponding foodstuffs. After harvesting, the sugar cane or beet is transported to the factories for juicing. The sugar cane juice is then boiled until the water evaporates and only sugar crystals remain. The crystals then pass through centrifuge machines to remove impurities. The end product is then dried and packaged, ready for consumption.

Storage of sugar

Sugar is highly hygroscopic, which is why storage in outdoor silos was considered risky in terms of clumping and incrustation just three decades ago. Even when sugar is dried and cooled, residual moisture remains in the crystals. The quality of the stored product can be significantly impaired by condensation. Lumps can form. It is therefore important that the silos are 100 per cent tight and that no moisture penetrates. This would spoil the sugar. In order to ensure appropriate storage, systems have been designed with ventilation devices. Dried air is forced through the sugar bulk from below and extracted again above the sugar bulk. Furthermore, sugar silos are usually equipped with safety devices that protect against a sudden increase in pressure or a drop in pressure and explosion

Utilisation of sugar silos

Sugar is used in many industrial sectors. In the food industry in particular, it is contained in almost all foods, even if only in small quantities.

Sugar plays a major role in the production of many foods. Its applications are many and varied. Sugar gives food sweetness and is an important flavour carrier. Sugar is also used in the preservation of food. Most commonly used is household sugar (sucrose). It improves yeast fermentation, provides a light texture and rounds off the flavour of food. Dextrose (glucose) is used in sports and energy products, for example, as a readily available and less sweet carbohydrate. Milk sugar (lactose) forms special flavours during browning reactions, resulting in a special taste.

Sugar is becoming increasingly important as a raw material in the chemical industry. On the one hand, it is used in biotechnology as a source of energy and carbon in fermentation processes and, on the other, for the production of organic solvents and various raw materials.

Sugar is the centrepiece of alcoholic fermentation. Sugar is converted into ethanol (alcohol) with the help of yeast - the basis for the production of alcoholic beverages.

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Would you like to find out more about our products? We are happy to help and advise you on all questions relating to measurement technology. We look forward to hearing from you and will get back to you as soon as possible.

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