From Sugarcane to cane juice

Mechanical harvesting
Mechanical harvesting,
Madagascar, the 60's


Canes from manually harvested fields are delivered to the factory in one piece, without the leaves. Mechanically harvested canes are delivered cutted into sections of 20 cm.

Uncut canes are brought to the factory on carts. In some countries, carts are sometimes pulled by oxen, even if this is becoming more a folkloric display than an actual transport mode.

moving floor truck
Driven moving floor truck
St James facility, Martinique

The cane section are usually delivered by dump trucks or trucks with driven moving floor bodies. Moving floors enable the unloading of cane without lifting the load.

cane loading
Cane loading
St James facility, Martinique

Canes are then loaded by the mean of a grapple gantry into the facility grinding area. The first step in the process is a thoroughly wash of the canes.



Uncut canes (manual harvest) are cut into 20 cm (8 in) sections, as mechanically harvested canes already are.
Cane section are cleaned once again with a light rinsing.



Regularly rinsed, the cane sections are fed into several mills. Cane are driven several times through those mills and rinsed to ensure the best sugar extraction rate.
The liquid extracted is sugarcane juice also called in the French West Indies vesou.

Grinding mills
Cane grinding mills.
3 Rivières facility - Martinique

Grinding residues are made of a fiber called "bagasse". Bagasse is used to heat the boiler which provides powers the grinding mills and the distillation column. The vapor can also be used to produce electricity for the distillery. Some distilleries can even sold the extra electricity produced to local networks.


Bagasse is also used in the building industry to make insulating panels or be a substitute for cellulose or fiberglass.