Getting major benefits with Distributed Control Systems in sugar production

DCS provides a single interface that can deliver big savings in energy consumption, productivity and uptime, along with much easier integration compared to a PLC-SCADA approach

Sugar production processes often present operators with costly challenges in terms of high energy consumption, inconsistent quality and throughput rates, and excessive maintenance downtime. Part of the problem may be that many sugar mills are still running with process control systems that can’t manage and visualize the entire process – from incoming raw materials, through each unit operation, to outgoing finished product.

Today modern process control solutions based on Distributed Control Systems (DCS) which incorporate purpose-built, industry-specific technical templates – known as libraries – can help solve many of these challenges. ABB is a leading supplier of proven DCS solutions for many other process industries such as mining, cement, pulp and paper, and metals and similarly has worked with the major sugar companies for more than 20 years to build highly specific domain expertise in sugar as well.

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Producers can be uncertain about how to start

When discussing modern process automation and digitalization advances with sugar producers around the world, we notice that they are often unsure about what first steps they should take to modernize their control systems. Most of them understand their factories must be automated to compete on a global-scale, and they even know that digitalization can really boost their ability to identify gaps or solve problems. However, we frequently see signs of hesitation about how to get started and be confident they have chosen the right automation technology partners to work with to get the easiest and most efficient sugar-specific solutions.

Based on ABB’s deep experience with sugar-specific DCS, we have an extensive track record of assisting mills of every kind, whether single site or multiple and running with sugar cane, sugar beet or unrefined sugar, to effectively modernize and future-proof their operations.


Discover the benefits of DCS in sugar production

Complete integration advantages compared to PLC-SCADA

Ease of integration is a key feature that makes DCS a superior choice compared to the possible alternative, PLC-SCADA systems, in complex plant setups. A DCS provides completely integrated mill-wide operations and visibility, using a setup that is much more straightforward to engineer, with fewer labor hours required while offering a greater range of helpful functionalities.

As an example, for a system having 10,000 input-output (I/O) tags, which in PLC-SCADA would have to be built up manually, a DCS can do it automatically. The DCS has ready-to-use function blocks, faceplates and graphic elements – to allow seamless communication across the plant – that are generated virtually out of the box. Thus there is just one database owning the configuration for all system components and one engineering tool to complete the configuration. All of these elements can connect the independent and disparate production processes in the ABB distributed control system to provide a single interface to control all production and supply chain resources.

If you are working with sugar processing in any way and would like to explore further how DCS can easily and reliably deliver the benefits we have outlined above, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us. We would be happy to discuss the specific, uncomplicated steps that we can take together to get you started on the journey to more automated, digitalized and profitable sugar processing operations.


Snapshots of DCS in Sugar production

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