THE sugar masterplan being implemented by the government has seen a commitment from large users to procure at least 80% of their requirements from local growers. The result has been a significant boost for local production, as noted by President Cyril Ramaphosa in his State of the Nation Address in February 2021.
This is good news to companies like Bearings International (BI), for which the sugar industry is a major growth market. From growing sugar cane on the agricultural side to sugar refineries on the production side, BI plays a key role in this important economic sector. With 60 years’ experience servicing the industry, it has established itself as a critical supplier.
“The sugar industry remains a major focus and contributor to our portfolio,” said Nick Allanson, the company’s Segment Development Leader: Sugar. “As a distributor of various quality brands in the industrial power transmission sector, BI is able to incorporate these products into the drive solutions it supplies to the sugar industry.”
These relate to the conveyor equipment used to move the cane through all the stages of processing required to extract the sucrose, to the final movement of the waste by-product used as a combustible fuel source for the boilers. Reliable conveyor systems are critical for sugar mills to maintain productivity, as any stoppages here have a knock-on effect on the entire process.
Here BI focuses on stocking loose components, which plays an important role in servicing the sugar industry. Loose components are vital for the refurbishment of used chains, a particular focus for BI for many years.
Extending the life of chains is essential to assist in reducing the operational costs of sugar mills. Without a large stock of loose components, BI would be unable to contribute to reducing the total cost of ownership of these chains.
BI is the official distributor for SENQCIA Chain, formerly known as Hitachi, manufactured in Japan, and Ewart Chain, manufactured in England. Orders for new chains and components are placed months in advance, with sizes and quantities to suit the various conveyor carriers. BI also supplies transmission chain, bearings, industrial gearboxes and lubricants for the sugar industry. On-site inspections throughout the year form part of its value-added service offering.
Environmental sustainability is a major focus in the sugar industry at present, coupled with socio-economic goals to ensure that adequate job creation and training initiatives are in place.
“BI’s own social and environmental policies have much in common with that of the sugar industry. Therefore, we see ourselves as a partner aligned to the sugar industry and look forward to a positive long-term future,” Allanson said.