Hose Pump Helps Brewery Maintain Beer Quality

Watson-Marlow Pumps has supplied an SPX25 direct-coupled peristaltic hose pump to help maintain quality at one of the most productive breweries in Europe. Such was the success of the SPX25 that the Anheuser-Busch Inbev UK Magor Brewery in Monmouthshire, South Wales, now has six such models on site. Brewers use kieselguhr, a sedimentary rock/mineral, in the beer filtration process. Here a pump is deployed to dose kieselguhr in slurry form into the filter so it forms a 'bed' on a plate and frame filter.

However, the unreliability of the piston pumps being used can lead to significant opportunity to introduce dissolved oxygen (DO) into the beer. Paul Evans, technical-services line manager at the Anheuser-Busch Inbev Magor Brewery, said: 'Even the slightest traces of DO in beer can change its flavour, making it taste stale. 'This can be catastrophic for both our reputation and sales. 'It is critical for us to monitor the ingress of DO into our beers - we strive to achieve levels of less than 10ppb (parts per billion), which is incredibly difficult over the entire brewing process, where the potential for exposure to oxygen is high.

'Unfortunately the stainless-steel non-return valves on the discharge side of our piston pumps began to stick due to the corrosive nature of the kieselghur slurry. 'As a result we would end up maintaining or replacing the pumps, which would inevitably expose the beer to the atmosphere,' he added. With three filter mains on site at the Magor Brewery, Inbev decided to trial an SPX25 peristaltic pump supplied by Watson-Marlow. 'The peristaltic operating principle intrigued us because it seemed there would be no way to introduce oxygen into our process.

'However, the proof is in the pudding so we introduced an SPX25 model to one of our filter mains,' continued Evans. Described as the world's fastest-growing pump type, peristaltic pumps have no valves, seals or glands and the fluid contacts only the bore of the hose or tube, eliminating the risk of the pump contaminating the fluid or vice versa. At the Magor Brewery, extensive trials were completed with flying colours, an outcome that led to the acquisition of the pump, along with two further models for the other filter mains.

'Furthermore, the pumps are linked via an inverter to our PLC using a Scada interface so that we can ramp the speed up and down as required. 'We also find the running signal to be extremely useful so that if we come anywhere close to the 2,000 hours recommended by Watson-Marlow, we can change the hose as part of a planned and preventative maintenance schedule,' Evans said. The SPX25, which features a rugged hub with twin-bearing rotor at its core, combines the advantages of bare-shaft construction with those of a close-coupled pump.

The pump bearings absorb the forces occurring in the pump centrally, placing no load on the gearbox bearings, which means no coupling, no alignment and no heavy-duty base plate - resulting in less installation time, less maintenance and lower costs. Such has been the success of the filter mains project at the Anheuser-Busch Inbev Magor Brewery that the company has since acquired a further three SPX25 peristaltic pumps for use in a different operation on a similar application.


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