P-66. Automated piping systems for increased product quality and reduced operating expenses in breweries

Presenter: Jeremy Hauser, Pentair Sudmo, Delavan

Increasing product quality, which in turn increases shelf life, is a continuous goal for brewers. Piping systems used for beer transfer can have a negative effect on beer quality as it can introduce oxygen (O2) through manual connections and open piping systems. This presentation will look at different valve options to prevent O2 pick up to increase plant efficiency and reduce operating expenses in breweries. It will look at advantages and disadvantages of current systems that are available and discuss an under tank matrix system that overcomes all of the disadvantages of the present systems. It will also discuss control-top technology for monitoring the valve system to ensure safe brewery operation. Swing panels were, and still are, used widely to route product and cleaning solutions through brewery piping systems and has the advantage of lower investment costs. However, operational costs are considerably more with it than an automated system because it is very operator dependent. It is also much more difficult to clean and to eliminate O2 pick up in a swing-bend system. The first matrix systems were standard manifolds that were positioned at the tank or in a central location. In recent years a new generation of piping system was introduced that is particularly suited to the brewing industry and eliminates many of the problems associated with the traditional valve matrixes, e.g., long pipelines between the vessel and the valve manifold are eliminated; as valves are close coupled to the vessel the problems of bacteria growth in the outlet pipes is eliminated; reduced space requirements; reduced investment costs; reduced O2 pick up; reduced product losses; and ease of installation with reduced costs. The matrix valves are used in conjunction with the IntelliTop control unit to ensure safe operation of the process. The IntelliTop monitors the valve position and gives continuous feedback to the control system for monitoring purposes. If the IntelliTop sends an alarm signal to the control system, the system will be set in a safe position to ensure the safety of product and personnel. There is also a clear visual signal from LEDs that are fitted to the top of the control head that easily identifies the valve position or fault mode. During maintenance of the valve matrix a lockout feature is available to protect maintenance and operation personnel from contact with cleaning chemicals or other harmful liquids. The mix proof valve matrix system gives brewers the best possible piping option for their brewing vessels. Not only does it have lower investment and operating costs, it also ensures the highest quality product with the lowest possible O2 content, which will result in longer beer shelf life. Brewers around the world are embracing this technology as it gives them many benefits over conventional systems.

Jeremy Hauser, technical manager at Pentair Südmo, a supplier of process components and solutions to the brewing and beverage industries, has been involved in the automation of beverage and food plants for the past 13 years. He has been very active in advancing mix proof valve technology to increase plant efficiencies and reduce downtime. A member of MBAA, he attends regional meetings and training classes. He holds a bachelor’s of mechanical engineering degree from the University of Illinois.

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