W. L. (William Louis) Bass.

Cane juice defecation, 1905 online

. (page 1 of 15)
Online LibraryW. L. (William Louis) BassCane juice defecation, 1905 → online text (page 1 of 15)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook












Author of "CANE SUGAR, 1900"



PRICE $3.00









The present work is dedicated to all sugar planters, sugar
masters, ma agers, employees and overseers who do not know
how to instruct the help as to the manner in which the cane juice
from the mill should be defecated or cleaned when proper defecators
are at hand, and who are unable to perform the work themselves
when proper defecators are not installed.

A respectful memory is borne of the many who have gone
before, who in their time contributed to the knowledge but
partly recorded in this work.






The Bottom 11

The Belt 12

The Copper Bottom (False Bottom) 13

The Straining Plug 17

The Discharge Cock 18

The Filling Cock 19

The Washdown Ring 21

The Washdown Cock 23

The Water Cock 24

The Juice Pipe 24

The Steam Valve 25

The Air Cock 25

The Safety Valve 27

The Guarapo Pipe , 27

The Cachaza Pipe 28

The Guarapo Canal 29

The Cachaza Canal .... = . 30

The "Third" or Proof Canal 31

The Steam Trap 31

The Flange Bolts 34

The Lagging 34

The Staging 35

The Capacity and Shape 36


During the Subsiding 49

Settling the Heavy Impurities 51

The Raising of the Floating Impurities 52

Locating the Gums 54

Decanting the Defecator 61

Operating a " Central " 63

Canal Number Three 66


The Temperature of the Juice at the Time the Lime Should be

Applied TO

The Juice Heater 72

Where the Lime Water Should be Applied 73

The Lime and Sediment Receptacles 75

Applying the Lime Water 76


Plantation Melter for Second Sugars 194


In undertaking to place myself on record upon a subject so
widely discussed as the defecation of cane juice, I considered
that the safest course to pursue was merely to record, in as simple
language as possible, a description of what many of my confreres
have taught me to look upon as a correct defecator, and to des-
cribe the method of operating it as practiced on many estates, as
well as to give a description of the manner in which the lime
should be applied in a practical and simple, yet positive way.

Regarding the application of lime, my personal attention was
given to the matter for the major part of a crop, and I enjoyed
the satisfaction of knowing that my help was readily interested
and enthusiastic at all times, both day and night, carrying on the
work with most satisfactory results without any other guidance
than the instructions primarily given.

I know of no work of a practically instructive nature upon
this subject existing in any language at this date.

I am joined in the belief by many, that the defecation de-
partment of a cane sugar factory is perhaps the most important,
nevertheless, much attention has been given to the development
of all the departments of a sugar house other than the one of defe-

If the ideas expressed in this work are such that an interested
reader will declare after carefully reading them, that he knew it
all before he read it, I shall consider this Work a thorough success,
and take this opportunity to thank such readers for their endorse-



The name of Defecator is given to an appliance that is used
on a sugar estate, or rather in a factory where sugar is manu-
factured from sugar cane.

Its particular use is to permit the juice, as it comes from the
mill, to be carefully treated by a process which results in remov-
ing, to as great a degree as practicable, all the attendant impuri-
ties. This is accomplished with as little damage to the crysta-
lizable properties in the primary juice as possible.

The general expression for this operation, or any attempt
approaching it, has been termed heretofore the Clarification of
the cane juice. The term "clarification" is a misleading one,
because the juice has been so frequently treated in vessels
termed clarifiers in the past, and even up to the present, that it
has been decided to discard the use of the term Clarifier and use
the word Defecator. All vessels known at this time by the name
of clarifier have a copper heating coil in the bottom and all such
vessels or appliances so equipped do not permit the juice to be
correctly treated, as a careful study of this work will indicate to
the reader. In fact, the object of this publication is to show that
it requires a particularly appropriate appliance to effect what is
known as the clarification of the juice, or the separating of the
impurities from the juice.

The use of all vessels that are used for this particular purpose,
unless they are constructed as described in this work, either fail
to separate the juice from the impurities, or to a great extent
" fix " the impurities in the juice. What is desired in the practice
of sugar making is to remove the impurities from the juice and not to
remove the juice from the impurities.

Although strange as it may seem, that it is desired to remove
the impurities from the juice, yet, in the actual carrying out of
the process in a well constructed defecator, the reverse actually


happens. That is, the impurities are first separated from the
good juice, then the good juice is withdrawn, and later, the im-
purities are thrown away.

The foregoing will become apparent to the interested reader
after carefully studying this work.

Before proceeding in the details of the work it may be re-
marked that the subject of cleaning the juice as it comes from the
mill is very little understood even by those who have been for many
years engaged in the industry of sugar making. Only on a few
estates where defecators are installed as described in this work
do they understand the subject. On estates where they do not
have installed such defecators as are described in this work, it
must be evident that the subject of cleaning the fresh juice is not
understood. This will be evident to the reader after he has
studied this work.

There is nothing patented in a correct defecation outfit,
neither is there any secret process connected with the practice of
cleaning the juice. All that is necessary is to acquire and install
correctly equipped defecators on an estate and then learn how to
handle them and later teach the help.

It may appear to have taken a good many pages to explain
the subject, but the practice is more readily carried out than ex-

The cleaning of the juice is the most important part of the
manufacture of sugar from sugar cane. It is the most neglected
up to the present. The sugar industry has been flooded with
talent that has aimed to accomplish almost everything except to
clean the juice, overlooking the fact that, unless the juice is prop-
erly treated or cleaned, the balance of the factory will not give
satisfactory results.

It is a known fact that canes of light density grown in wet
localities will not make moscovado sugar, or in other words, will
not produce a juice which when boiled down will " of itself,"
crystalize. It is also a known fact that canes of high density
grown in dry localities will readily make good moscovado sugar,
or in other words, will produce a juice which when boiled down
will "of itself," crystalize readily.

The defecator, as described in these pages, is the appliance
which permits both heavy and light density juices to be treated
so that they will both readily crystalize.



The most important part of a defecator is the bottom. This
should be made of heavy cast iron, strong enough to stand a
presure of at least (100) one hundred pounds to the square inch
when steam is applied to it. The shape of this bottom should be
almost hemispherical, flattening slightly at the bottom and having
an inner raised portion about the centre to which to fasten the
false bottom.

The upper rim of the bottom should be flanged outward and
carefully turned so as to present a true surface. The practice is
to have the upper and lower surface of this flange turned or faced
so as to take the bolts when these are later put into place. The
outer edge or face of the flange is also usually turned and to
the same diameter as the flange of the belt, thus permitting a
neat joint being made later.

On the inner edge of the flange the edge should be turned
half round so as to break the upper edge nicely, against which the
copper bottom is to be turned carefully over.

On the upper and lower side of the centre smooth faces
should be carefully turned; the upper to take the copper bottom
and the lower to take the discharge cock.

Around the upper outside portion, low enough down not to
interfere with the placing of the bolts that go in the flange, should
be cast four heavy lugs. These are to support the entire defeca-
tor, when in place on its staging on the sugar estate.

Flush with the lower portion of the bottom are cast two
offsets to take a wrought or cast iron pipe connection of not less
than one inch. One of these is to connect the steam trap and
the other the safety valve.

High up under the flange a boss is also cast to the outer
surface of the bottom to attach the live steam connection which
leads from the steam valve.

The supporting lugs should be placed on the square to rest
on the supporting frames,

The offsets for steam trap and safety valve should be cast
so as to lead front and back.

The boss to take the steam pipe should be on the front right
hand at 45 to the square of the framing.


A small brass pet cock is located up near the flange, on the
outside, at 45, on the left front side. This is to let out the air,
and is called the air cock.

The diameter of the flange of the bottom should be the same
as that of the belt; and the inside diameter of the defecator may
be from five feet, five feet six inches, six feet or six feet six
inches, as the purchaser may desire. The diameter (inside)
should always bear a certain relation to the depth of the defecator.


The belt, or upper body of a defecator, should be prefer-
ably made of cast iron and of ample thickness. A wrought iron
construction is not favored, and the only reason urged for its use
is to save weight. Weight is no object, and a good non-conductor
of heat is greatly to be desired. For this reason the belt of a
defecator should never be made of copper. Copper transmits
heat more readily than either cast or wrought iron, and it is
desired to retain the heat in a defecator to such an extent that
the belt is often lagged with asbestos and neat boarding,

It is certainly an improper thing to do, to make steam in the
boilers, pass it up through piping carefully covered with non-con-
ductors of heat to the defecator, apply the steam to the defecator,
have a copper bottom, at great expense, so that the heat will be
readily passed to the juice, and then to finish it, have a copper
belt that readily transmits heat and cools off, and calls for the
use of an added quantity of steam. Manufacturers may be
prompted to sell copper, but planters are not justified in purchasing
a copper belt for a defecator just to use up more steam than
necessary. No one will advance a reason for using a copper
belt. They say that copper does not discolor the juice in a defe
cator as much as wrought or cast iron. This is absurd, because
neither does cast iron.

The metal used in the cast iron of both the bottom and the
belt should be first-class and free from all flaws or cracks.

Later the belt is located on top of the bottom and consti
tutes the main containing part of the defecator.

Around the lower bottom it should have a heavy flange care-


fully turned to match the flange of the bottom. This flange
should be faced on its top, bottom and outer sides.

If no lagging is to be used, the top rim of the belt has a half
round beading cast on its upper, outer edge. This should be
neatly turned off.

If a lagging is to be put on the defecator after the body of the
belt has been covered with asbestos, or wood without asbestos,
then the upper rim of the belt should be provided with an upper
flange extending out so as to be flush with any lagging that is to
be applied, and the upper surface and edges neatly turned off.


The copper bottom is sometimes termed the false bottom.
This is a heavy sheet of copper, shaped almost hemispherical
and fitted so as to be securely fastened in the heavy cast iron

In the centre is a hole through which the contents of the
defecator are discharged, and around this hole in the copper bot-
tom are six or more holes through which it is fastened to the
bottom of the defecator body or bottom.

This copper bottom at its outer or upper rim is hammered
out with a rim that is flat so as to fit neatly between the lower
flange of the belt and the upper flange of the bottom. Holes cut
into this rim are laid out by the same template that is used to
lay out the holes that are to be drilled in the flanges of the body
and bottom.

The thickness of the copper bottom should be strong enough
to permit the regular pressure of steam that is carried on the
boilers of an estate, being turned into the copper bottom and not
permit it to bulge inwards or explode. This is a very frequent
occurrence, when planters purchase the cheapest defecators and
get a thin copper bottom which bulges or explodes as soon as
steam is turned on. Many manufacturers of sugar machinery
urge placing reducing valves on the steam pipes that supply the
defecator with steam. This is wrong. If the reducing valves
may be relied upon to operate in a satisfactory manner (which is
not the case), it would not be correct. Th defecator, once


steam is to be applied, should have all the steam, and at as high a
temperature as can be given to it. This will be made clear later
on. There is only one way to do a thing, and that is the right
way. This is to install good, heavy copper bottoms, well made
and regardless of first cost. With a good strong copper bottom
one can defecate the cane juice in a proper manner With a weak
copper bottom one is taking chances of either scalding several of
the help or of not properly treating the juice at a critical moment,
as long as such defecators are in the sugar house. Safety valves,
reducing valves or anything else will not make up for a thin cop-
per bottom. The planter desires to clean his juice in a most
advantageous manner and to do that, he must install a strong
copper bottom in each of his defecators.

In the smaller sizes of defecators, this entire copper bottom
is hammered out from a single sheet of copper. In the larger
sizes of defecators, the copper bottom is made of various pieces
of copper sheet metal brazed together and nicely hammered out
into shape.

When the copper or false bottom has been neatly fitted to
the bottom of the defecator, and everything is ready to bolt the
belt to the bottom, care should be taken that a good red-lead
joint is made between the rim of the copper bottom and both
the flange of the belt and the flange of the bottom. This par-
ticular joint cannot be made too carefully. It is supposed to be
made but once in the life of the defecator and that is at least 20
years. A defecator ages but never wears out. What happens
is, that all the parts of a defecator, except the false bottom, last
for many years. The false bottom is usually cleaned every Sun-
day by an operator getting inside and rubbing off the coating of
lime that forms on the copper bottom during the week's run. In
the course of many years, the rubbing of the inner side of the
defecator with an ordinary red-brick, wears some weak spots on
the copper bottom. On these weak or thinner spots, the galvanic
attachment of the lime to the copper takes place more rapidly than
elsewhere. This increased regular coating of lime, in turn, calls
for harder rubbing and more wearing away. This goes on until
some day, after the defecator has been in use for about 20 years
(as many of them have been), when the steam is turned on, it
may blow up or buckle inwards. Some say that a copper bottom
never bulges in or blows up while the defecator is full of juice.
They have something to learn.


As stated, the joint must be as perfect as it can be made,
because if it ever starts to leak, no amount of caulking will stop
it; and a defecator that leaks steam on the flange joint, is a
nuisance and a discredit to any sugar house.

In the course of the past forty years so many discreditable
manufacturers of machinery have imposed upon the planters by
selling them thin bottomed defecators, and these thin bottomed
defecators have given so much trouble, that gradually, this gen-
eration that is engaged in the sugar business entertains no faith
in false bottomed defecators and attempts to clarify the juice in
kettles equipped with copper coils. The result is, that the knowl-
edge of how to handle a well built defecator, and clarify the juice
in a thoroughly satisfactory manner, has become almost a
lost art.

So little is known about the subject, that the writer has
undertaken this work on just this one subject which treats of but
one department of a sugar house. It is, however, the most im
portant department of the entire factory as the reader will fully
appreciate when he has thoroughly studied the subject.

When the belt has been fastened to the bottom, the copper
bottom being fastened in its place at the same time, the defecator
is then assembled or complete in so far as the main body may be
considered. It is thus put together in the factory where it is
manufactured, and when shipped, it is thus left, without any
other attachments. Everything else that goes with a defecator is
more or less of an attachment; yet, each of these attachments is
in itself a very important part, and must not be dispensed with
if it is desired to carry on correct and convenient cleaning of the
juice. It is a pleasure for the help to carry on the work when
the defecators are correctly designed, installed and equipped with
all the various parts, such as are described in this work.

The writer has been on many estates where the department
for cleaning, clarifying or defecating the juice could not be worked
by the owner himself, and of course the help could not perform
their work in a satisfactory manner. This is a test as to whether
an estate has a correct defecation outfit. Can the owner clean the
juice himself? If he can, well and good. If he cannot, then his
defecation outfit is not correct. The question cannot be begged
stating that it is not the place of an owner to clean the juice on
his sugar estate. He cannot announce that he hires sugar


masters and chemists to do that. His employees come and go,
but his defecators stay there always, and as long as they are
wrong, his work is being carried on in an incorrect manner and
he is paying his employees. Sometimes the help know that they
are not cleaning the juice, but fear to announce that they cannot
clean the juice with the outfit at hand, for fear of losing their
positions. They fear the planter's vanity, which of course is only
founded on his ignorance of the requirements of that department,
and there are many sugar estates that have no defecators,
or even apologies for defecators. This work will be read long
after the proprietors of such estates will have died, and when
others will install defecators, as defecators are as important as
boilers and vacuum pans. Any estate that has defecators is as
far ahead of an estate that does not have defecators as an estate
with a correct multiple vacuum concentration outfit is ahead of a
moscovado estate.


The straining plug is an attachment that is supplied with a
defecator, and is the only part that may be said to be removable.

It consists of a copper pipe about an inch in diameter, open
at both ends, its lower end has a peculiar shaped strainer brazed
on. The lower part of this strainer is large, and should fit snugly
into the opening at the bottom of the copper bottom and bot-
tom proper, through which the juice is discharged. The part
that fits into this outlet is short, and made of heavy copper pipe
or sheet metal brazed. It is just long enough to support the
entire strainer and the pipe to which it is attached. At about an
inch above the bottom of the defecator this strainer broadens out
until it has a diameter of six or eight inches, the larger sizes being
sometimes made as large as ten or twelve inches in diameter.
The barrel of the strainer is then made from four to six inches
high and is then brought back to the small diameter of the copper
pipe, (about an inch in diameter). Along the outer side of the
strainer, that is at its greatest diameter, several narrow openings
are cut, about one quarter to one half an inch in width and from
4 to 5 inches in length. The combined area of these openings


should not be less than double, and preferably three times, the
area of the discharge pipe at the bottom of the defecator, whether
it is the guarapo or cachaza pipe.

The length of the straining plug, including the straining
barrel and pipe, should be of a length to provide that, when the
straining plug is inserted in to the outlet hole at the bottom of the
defecator, the top of the copper pipe that constitutes a sort of
handle for the straining plug just reaches to the same level as
the top rim of the defecator belt.

From the inside of the straining barrel a clear passage must
be provided, up through the copper pipe.

When the straining plug is in place, the defecator is filled and
later, the good clear juice is withdrawn from the defecator through
the narrow vertical openings already described. When the juice
is no longer clear, the straining plug is removed by an attendant,
and all the impurities are then run out of the bottom of the defe-
cator and thrown away not passed through any filter press.
This is fully described in the chapter entitled " Operating the


The discharge cock, as its name implies, is a brass threeway
cock of peculiar design, attached to the bottom of the defecator,
and used when withdrawing both the good liquor and the

This is a cock with the handle at the lower end. At the
sides it is supplied with two flanges to which are attached re-
spectively the guarapo pipe and the cachaza pipe. The top of
the discharge cock has a flange by which it is fastened to the
bottom of the defecator by means of several stud-bolts, and
through this top and flange space the communication is made to
the opening at the bottom of the defecator.

This discharge cock is fixed to the defecator and the handle
revolves on a horizontal plane. The inner part of the cock is so
designed that when the handle is placed at right angles to the line
of the two pipe flanges the cock is closed.

When the handle points to the guarapo flange, the discharge


cock is wide open from the inner side of the defecator to the
guarapo pipe.

When the handle points to the cachaza flange, the discharge
cock is wide open to the cachaza pipe. This cock must at all
times fit tight, make a good joint, and at the same time turn readily
one way or another. If it leaks the least bit, the engineer should
at once order that particular defecator out of commission, and
take down the discharge cock and have it carefully reground or
faced. These cocks on all the defecators require occasional
looking after as the help is liable to attempt either to tighten
them when they leak or to slacken them off \\hen they turn
hard. The inner drum tapers conically, narrowing towards
the lower end and by tightening the lower nut that holds the
handle, it tightens the body of the cock and makes it turn the
harder. By slackening the nut, and tapping it upwards with a
billet of wood, the cock is raised and works easier, but this
makes it very liable to leak. It must not be allowed to leak. In
fact, there are four very important parts of a defecator's attach-

1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15

Online LibraryW. L. (William Louis) BassCane juice defecation, 1905 → online text (page 1 of 15)