We entered the Chinese sugar market in 2000, positioning the company as a leader in the trade of raw and white sugars. While the raw sugar comes from Brazil and Thailand, LDC has built its presence across the value chain from originating and refining through to warehousing and marketing.
Consolidating our leading trade position, LDC built a refinery in Zhangzhou, in the Fujian province, which focuses on the production of high-end refined sugar.
The refinery occupies some 10 hectares of land and has a storage capacity of 100 000 MT. It can process up to 500 tons of Grade 1 sugar every day.
Join us as we take a look at the 10-step refining process which turns raw sugar into the final product.
Step 1 – From Port to Refinery
The raw sugar arrives by ship mainly from Brazil and Thailand at Fujian’s deep water port, just 1.5km from the factory. From there, it is driven by trucks to the refinery, where it is offloaded into our warehouse. It takes about 10 days to fill the warehouse, which has a capacity of 60 000 MT.
Step 2 – Onward to the Melting Workshop
A conveyor belt takes the raw sugar to the melting workshop, where water is then added and the mixture is heated to 80-85 degrees Celsius in order to liquefy it.
Step 3 – Carbonation
Lime milk is added to the liquefied sugar and the mixture then goes to the carbonation columns. Carbon dioxide is bubbled through, joining with the lime milk to form calcium carbonate. This acts as a purifying agent, removing impurities from the carbonated liquid.
Step 4 – Removal of Impurities
Rotary filters remove the calcium carbonate and impurities from the liquefied sugar, leaving a clean and filtered liquor. Particles trapped by the filters are put into water, forming a mud juice which is passed through a press filter to remove any suspended materials. While the solids are disposed, the remaining liquid – known as sweet water – is sent back to the melting workshop. There it is added to the liquefied sugar to repeat the earlier process.
Step 5 – Decolorization
The clear liquor from the rotary filters is passed though decolorization columns, reaching the necessary grade of white for refined and Grade 1 sugar.
Step 6 – Crystallization
Invisible to the naked eye, tiny sugar granules of seven micro-meters eye, are added to the decolorized liquid, which is then heated at 70 degrees Celsius. A dense mixture forms of syrup and larger refined / Grade 1 sugar crystals measuring up to 0.6 millimeters.
Step 7 – Centrifugaling
The raw sugar crystals are then separated from the syrup by the centrifugal force of revolving machines called centrifugals.
Step 8 – Drying & Cooling
The raw sugar crystals are dried in temperatures of 85 degrees Celsius, leaving them at a temperature of about 54 degrees Celsius. The hot sugar granules are cooled to about 30-35 degrees Celsius, at which point they are ready for packing.
Step 9 – Granulee Screening
As a final quality control step, the sugar crystals are passed through a screener to remove the crystals which are too large or small.
Step 10 – Packing & Delivery
Finally, the sugar crystals are packed into large bags and transported to the warehouse, ready for delivery to our customers. The refined sugar is sold to domestic sugar traders and multi-national companies to make consumer products such as soft drinks, juices, chocolate, and candy.
Find out more about our work with Sugar on our dedicated platform page here.