Bosch Holdings has been appointed consulting engineers for the design and project management of a new cane transloading station in Mkuze, after the completion of a feasibility study. The new facility will assist small-scale sugarcane farmers in the Makhathini region, on the North Coast of KZN.
The new rail side facility incorporates the design and installation of advanced equipment, including a new spiller, that is capable of offloading road vehicles at a rate of over 300 tons per hour, over a 24-hour period.
“We sourced a decommisioned spiller, in collaboration with Bosch Trading, a subsidary of Bosch Engenharia of Brazil. After dismantling and a total refurbishment back to brand-new condition by the Bosch Engenharia team, the spiller was shipped to Durban, where it arrived safely in record time, reducing the project timeline by six months,” says Bill Yeo, Bosch Holdings.
“The spiller design has been upgraded to have a pull-out force of 50 tons and the hooking bar has been modified to accommodate the dimensions of South African vehicles. Other modifications include conversion to a frequency of 50Hz and a robust control system that is suitable for harsh outdoor agricultural conditions.”
Nearly 2 000 Makhathini small-scale sugarcane farmers will benefit through signifcantly-improved throughput efficiency, and by transportation of cane to the Felixton mill by rail, rather than road.
From the beginning of the upcoming sugar season, cane grown in the Makhathini region will be transported by road to the new transloading facility at Mkuze and transferred by the spiller, from road trucks to rail wagons, for transportation to the Felixton mill – a distance of approximately 350km.
“This new facility will also assist sugarcane farmers in neighbouring areas who can soon transport their cane via rail from the Mkuze rail siding to uMfolozi and Pongola sugar mills,” adds Bill.
“With the new transloading station, small-scale farmers, who have been struggling with crippling transport expenses for some time, are expected to benefit from a total savings in operational costs of about R6,8-million per year. As cane production increases, Makhathini farmers delivering 350 000 tons of crops, could save about R16-million per year.
“This initiative also presents opportunities for job creation during construction and operation of the rail siding. Another significant benefit will be a reduction in the volume of trucks on congested roads.”
This project, which is funded by the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development (DALRRD) is the inspiration of the South African Farmers Development Association (Safda) and Makhathini leadership farmers.
The Bosch Project team offers customers a comprehensive service, encompassing strategic planning and feasibility studies, sugar technology selection, project structuring and funding, design and engineering, project delivery and operational support and training.
A critical part of the group’s service to the sugar sector is in equipment design from the front-end cane off-loading, cane preparation and juice extraction, through to processing, sugar drying and refining.
Bosch Trading acquires and supplies both new and refurbished plant and equipment from Brazil, on behalf of South African sugar clients. This service is a significant benefit in reducing project costs and reducing installation timelines.