Bosch Projects completes three major projects for UCL’s sugar factory expansion programme

Bosch Projects was appointed by UCL Company (Pty) Ltd to undertake three major projects for the recent expansion at its sugar factory in Dalton, KwaZulu-Natal.

These projects comprised Engineering, Procurement and Construction Management (EPCM) services for the raw house expansion, chainless diffuser widening and process equipment supply.

UCL- long tube evaporator

“A major challenge was to complete the work necessary at the factory for UCL to meet its 2021/22 season requirements, with sufficient capacity to process the increased sugar cane crop,” explains Steve Rosettenstein, Sector Director: Sugar, Bosch Projects, a member of the Bosch Holdings group of multi-disciplinary consulting engineers. “In spite of tight time constraints during difficult COVID-19 conditions and the short two-month plant maintenance shutdown period, Bosch Projects successfully implemented these three projects simultaneously, between July 2020 and March 2021.

“Following a four-month feasibility study undertaken by the Bosch Projects team to evaluate the potential increase in factory crush capacity from 150TCH to 175TCH, the company was commissioned to provide EPCM services to address the expansion project’s technical, commercial and contractual requirements.”

Services undertaken by Bosch Projects during the EPCM project, included project management, programming and scheduling, procurement and contract administration, construction management, commissioning, quality assurance and cost control.

Detailed integration engineering and design encompassed full process, mechanical equipment, piping, civil, structural, electrical and control systems engineering, commissioning and close out.

Because of COVID-19 implications, coupled with the fast-paced nature and congested brownfield factory environment, the Bosch Projects team needed to be innovative and creative in its approach to detailed engineering solutions and the application of expertise.

UCL – inside view of the chainless diffuser

Effective solutions were achieved for the client by utilising cloud-based multi-user design collaborative tools, specifically designed for remote working. Advanced technology enabled frequent online 3D model reviews and provided state-of the-art technology for site data gathering and meaningful interaction with site staff. The utilisation of the latest technology – an advanced augmented reality 3D model tool – enabled the construction teams to visualise the new plant integration live on site.

In addition, the team was responsible for a world first widening of the Bosch Projects chainless diffuser, to increase cane throughput by approximately 25%. The team undertook the manufacture, supply, installation and commissioning of a 1m width extension to the factory’s moving screen diffuser, to handle the increased crushed cane required to justify the back-end factory expansion. This chainless diffuser was initially designed and installed by Bosch Projects for UCL in 2006.

The widening of the chainless diffuser required redesigning and replacement of many structures and components, including stage juice spray pipes and process piping and a new dewatering drum and kicker. A new juice distribution system, which comprises fully adjustable juice launders, allows optimum process control. Pumps and piping were relocated to suit the updated design.

New 3CR12 troughs, side-walls and roof sections, as well as a new structure on one side of the diffuser, have been installed and the existing rafters were extended. The project also required additional lifting screws, hydraulic cylinders, pumps, piping and new hydraulic structures. New civils and foundation works and reconstructed walkways and access ways were also installed.

This component of the project – comprising full process and mechanical design, project and construction management, fabrication, installation and new civil and foundation works – was executed in nine months.

As part of the expansion project, UCL also appointed Bosch Projects to design, fabricate, supervise installation and commission several critical process equipment items, to fast-track the procurement process and meet project timelines. The process equipment items supplied were a 45m“C” Continuous Vacuum Pan (CVP), a 2 500 m2 Long Tube Evaporator (LTE), two Strike Receivers (30m3 and 50m3 respectively), a 1.5m3 condensate vessel and a 17m2 rotary screen for draft juice screening.

The Bosch Projects equipment team was responsible for every aspect of these equipment supply projects – including design compliance, in accordance with project specific and regulatory pressure vessel standards and specifications, the fabrication and quality control of the fabrication, logistics, rigging and installation, as well the commissioning and hand-over under strict COVID-19 conditions.

Bosch Projects works closely with its technology partners and fabricators to ensure manufacture of all equipment adheres to stringent international quality standards and exact design specifications.

The company, with a network of offices in Africa, South and Central America and the United Kingdom, also has technology partners in the South East Asian region and the USA.

These recent projects undertaken by Bosch Projects, enhance the company’s extensive track record, as Bosch Holdings celebrates its 60th birthday this year.


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