Cenicaña observes international experiences to improve manufacturing processes

For the British group AB Sugar, the possibility of producing sugar throughout the year is a differentiating factor that serves as an international model.

Knowing international experiences that can serve as a reference for the research and innovation processes of the Colombian sugarcane agroindustry is a permanent purpose of Cenicaña.

For this reason, last July the Research Center organized a meeting with representatives of AB Sugar, a business group dedicated to the production of sugar from cane and beet and with a presence in more than ten countries.

AB Sugar is part of Associated British Foods (ABF), it operates eleven sugar cane mills in Africa, including Noodsberg (6000 tonnes of cane days [TCD]), Sezela (9000 TCD), Umzimkulu (5000TCD) in South Africa; in Zambia they operate Nakambala (14000 TCD); in Mozambique, to Maragra (4000 TCD); in Malawi, to Dwangwa (4200 TCD); and in Tanzania, to Kilombero (2500 TCD).

Nicolás Gil, director of the Cenicaña Factory Process Program, highlighted the importance of the visit. “This type of activity is an excellent opportunity to measure ourselves as a sector in maintenance management, in this case against an international group made up of around 24 sugar mills (including beet mills) with plants in Africa, Asia and Europe. In addition to sharing experiences, an eventual exchange of management indicators will be essential ”.

Engineers Gary Punter and David Gent representing the British firm had the opportunity to visit Cenicaña and the Providencia, Mayagüez and Riopaila mills and highlighted the conditions of the sector and the region for milling throughout the year. “Having periods of 330 days is unusual in Latin America, since not even Brazil, one of its biggest competitors, has them. Without a doubt, it is a decisive factor in Colombia's competitiveness ”, they pointed out.

And they added: “In such a long season the maintenance time of the factories is limited; so something they are doing very well. Although, it would be necessary to go into detail what are these successful practices, Colombia could become the first place to look when talking about best practices for maintenance. Here we could be doing what perhaps in other places is not considered possible ”.