SKIL's role in the KTM Refinery Upgrade Project

ktm refinery


Project Rationale

Kebun Tebu Mas is a modern raw sugar mill operating in Indonesia with a rated capacity of 12000 tcd. Initially, the facility had a back-end refinery with a rated capacity to produce 1,000 tons per day of white refined sugar from either the cane input or directly from purchased raw sugar or mixture of the two.

The client had identified a greater need for refined white sugar than the current back-end refinery could produce. The raw sugar supply could either be obtained from increasing cane supply to the mill or from additional purchased raw sugar.

Accordingly, the need was identified to upgrade the existing refining capacity to 3,000 tons per day.

Project Concept

The initial discussions centred around the choice of turnkey or an engineered solution and the first discussion occurred in early 2017.

The client had previously had a very poor experience with a turnkey project and the decision was to proceed with an engineered approach. SKIL was tasked with developing the design in conjunction with the coordination and support of the local staff.

From the beginning, the brief was to employ highly efficient, fully automated and robust equipment to result in performance equalling the most up to-date refinery with respect to energy and process efficiency. The stations were to be reliable and highly automated to keep manning requirements to a minimum. With fresh water supply also being a concern for out of crop operation, consideration on water usage reduction was basic to the design requirements.

The process technology used was :

  • affination and melting;
    • design to allow the ability to bypass affination for higher quality raw sugar
  • carbonatation with direct single-step membrane press filtration;
  • improved CO2 delivery and improved quality and concentration of the milk of lime production;
  • ion exchange decolourisation with brine recovery;
  • triple effect falling film evaporator;
    • additional transformer evaporator
  • addition of modern, low-head, mechanically stirred vacuum pans with full automation;
  • addition of modern centrifugals as needed;
  • sugar drying and cooling capacity was added utilizing low temperature for a single step solution;
  • sugar packing equipment was added including flexible bulk, 50 kg increases and small packaging; additional bulk loading into trucks as well as a direct liquid sugar load out were also added;


The project was split into several process blocks that enabled process guarantees to be obtained for the sections that were discreet and enforceable.

In addition, a key requirement was that the existing production could not be compromised or interrupted during the implementation and commissioning phases. This resulted in a methodical stepwise approach to the capacity increase.


Project Implementation

Once the initial capacity and phases were agreed upon, SKIL produced a Sugars™ model to enable specifications to be developed and tenders sought for the various blocks and the individual items of equipment.

The design process was iterative as the final product mix changed several times according to changes in the local market. The flexibility and fast reaction that SKIL provided was a key part in bringing the project from concept to the stage where tenders could be let and construction started.

Local consultants were used for civil design and local contractors were used for tanks, steelwork, piping, electrical (including Instrument cabling) and erection.

SKIL provided full time support on the site as well as remote consultation and site visits by senior staff on a regular basis.

Project Completion

Pre-commissioning on hot water took place for Carbonation and Filtration in December 2018. This pre-commissioning step enabled a very smooth transition into actual commissioning on sugar in May 2019 for the following stages :

  • affination and melting;
  • carbonatation and filtration;
  • ion exchange decolourisation;
  • triple effect falling film evaporator;


The current status of the project is awaiting final installation and commissioning of the additional vacuum pans, centrifugals and sugar drying as well as certain critical packaging capacity increases.

An air-cooled condenser (ACC) is scheduled to be installed and commissioned at the end of 2020. This should bring the project to completion and position the factory as the premier, most modern and automated supplier of refined sugar in Indonesia.