American Crystal Sugar Company(ACSC) has improved profitability and prevented spoilage
of thousands of tons of sugarbeets through the use of Trane chillers and Calmac ice mats.
Each year ACSC refines millions of tons of sugar beets (10 million tons in 2007) into sugar. The sugar beets
are harvested each fall and placed in huge outdoor piles 880-feet long by 225-feet wide and 32-feet high. Each pile is worth
approximately $5 million. The sugarbeets stay frozen through out the sub-freezing North Dakota Winter and ACSC processes these
piles from September through May to refine the sugarbeats into sugar until the piles are completed. A major factor in preserving the
quality of each year sugar beet crop is cold winter weather. However faced with warm spring weather ACSC was concerned about a
large crop and significant spoilage as sugarbeets thawed before they could be processed.
Borrowing from hockey and ice arena technology,the sugarbeets are covered with Calmac ice mats through
which 10-degree glycol solution is pumped. The freezing solution is generated by ten 200- and 300-ton air-cooled chillers from
Trane Rental Services. This keeps the sugarbeets frozen until ready for processing.
Thanks to Trane rental chillers, ACSC eliminated significant spoilage and saved approximately $1 million
worth of sugarbeets during the 2007 season. By working with Trane Rental Services, ACSC rents only the cooling capacity
required and does not need to spend capital on permanent facilities and equipment. Dan Bernhardson, Director of Agriculture
Operations for ACSC, said, “As a sugarbeet cooperative one of our biggest challenges is maintaining the sugarbeets that are
in storage. The 2006 crop was the largest ever in terms of storage. Trane delivered the rental chillers on time in March, 2007,
and set them up in less than optimal conditions temperatures in North Dakota were still below zero. We finished processing
the 2006 crop by the beginning of June, 2007. The savings in reduced sugarbeet spoilage were significant.” Bernhardson
added, “The biggest thing is to have a good chiller technician on hand. These chillers need to be running 24 hours a day, seven
days a week. After we completed the sugarbeet processing we held a debriefing meeting and Trane was already considering ways
to improve their performance with next season crop.”
American Crystal Sugar Company is an agricultural cooperative involved in growing and processing of sugar beets
and is owned by nearly 2,900 shareholder entities in the Red River Valley of Northwestern Minnesota and eastern North Dakota.
ACSC employs about 1,700 full and part time employees and is the largest beet sugar producer in the United States.
ACSC operates sugar factories at Crookston, East Grand Forks, and Moorhead, Minn., Drayton and Hillsboro, N.D.; and Sidney, Mont.,
under the name Sidney Sugars Incorporated. ACSC corporate headquarters and technical services facilities are located in Moorhead, Minnesota