The International Steam Pages

Steamy Java Sugar Mill Tour 2010, Spoil My Day 

This series of pages from July and August 2010 records our travels from China to Malaysia and on to Java, Indonesia where we were hosting the 'Steamy Java Tour 2010'. Click here for the main Winds of Change index page.

It was not my most glorious day as a tour leader. Mainly but not exclusively because I tried to find my way round a 5km traffic jam - something I am normally very good at - but ended up on what can optimistically be described as cart tracks and we only just made the second visit of the afternoon. My only consolation is that my co-leader John Raby attempted to follow the same route as me and made an even bigger mess of things. Anyway, once again I was reduced to haggling with the management of a sugar mill to reduce an outrageous cash demand to one that was simply an inflation busting figure based on what we had paid on recent visits. Someone was out to spoil my day, big time and that included members of my own tour group.

Things did not look good when we got into the mill at Jatibarang, there was an ominous lack of 'humm' just like there had been at Sindanglaut two days earlier. No problem here though, the mill started up at 10.00 exactly as promised and party members on video got great footage as each of the two mill engines was started up in turn. Before then, there was plenty of time for me to give the standard quick tour and everyone on stills could get definitive shots without the usual leaking steam and dust. Of course, for those who like such things, there was equally plenty of time to do that after the start up.

The big engines at Jatibarang are a pair of sequentially numbered 300HP dual drive engines from Stork, the big difference from those at Sindanglaut is that these run at normal lower speed.

After them, the most attractive engine is a twin Fijenoord vacuum pump with single flywheel which is next to the gantry - it WAS working initially which meant that video from the crane operator's platform could be taken vibration free. The other 4 larger engines look as though they are all from Stork being vacuum pumps (2), compressor (1, not illustrated, as it largely hidden) and kultrog engine (1)

Unusually for these days, Jatibarang has smaller pumps. These comprise both vertical - mud (2), juice (1), molasses (1, from Camerons of Manchester) and horizontal (3, all Java pumps).

There are 2 vertical feedwater pumps from Clarke Chapman hidden near the main mill chimney. 

Outside the mill are two delightful small engines, one horizontal and one vertical. The former drives the bagasse carrier and was in use later but the latter drives the bagasse baler and was not needed as so far it has been a very poor year.

Perhaps the most unusual operation at Jatibarang is the water powered vertical lift which is used to dispose of ash from the boilers. Power for this is normally provided by a large vertical pump of the Clarke Chapman type, although a Worthington duplex engine is available as back up. It's still a foul job to clear the ash, but maybe not quite as unpleasant as in some mills.

Inevitably as a tour leader, you sometimes question your sanity. There are two things that my customers can do which will really rub me up the wrong way. The first is to be inconsiderate to me and their fellow members and consistently return to the bus significantly later than the agreed rendezvous time, two senior members of ISSES have been the principle offenders, it's no fun crawling round a hot mill looking for them. The second is to keep a mobile phone or similar toy switched on in 'public tour time' and then call someone or answer an incoming call. This I make very clear in my advertising and tour notes, alas to no visible (or audible) effect on this tour and I have to say it is now completely spoiling what started out as a very pleasurable trip. Eleven more nights and counting down... In the meantime, I won't forget the anticipation and pleasure at seeing the two big mill engines at Jatibarang starting up.

Rob and Yuehong Dickinson