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Everything posted by MichaelAtTCW

  1. MichaelAtTCW

    Bottle Blower / Rinser

    Our MiniMax Closed Loop Rinser rinses bottles with your own spirits prior to filling, and runs on compressed air. We've done some in-house testing of just blowing bottles with compressed air. What we've found is that air alone—even if treated—isn't very effective. Even at fairly high pressures, it tends to just blow the particles around, but they still remain in the bottle. Liquid is much more effective at rinsing. If you want to just hook up air, you can use our Rinser/Sparger and get the 'Sparger Only' option. Typically it's used by wineries and breweries who want to sparge their bottles with inert gas prior to filling to prevent oxidation, however if you just hook up high PSI air to the inlet , it will just blow compressed air into the bottles. My warning remains, though. It's not as effective as a wet rinse.
  2. MichaelAtTCW

    Transfer Pump (small) 4 GPM

    Flojet says their G-Series pump must be oriented with the ports facing down. My guess is that this helps with keeping the ports drained fully at all times.
  3. MichaelAtTCW

    xpress fill reviews xf460hp

    We sell a 2 x 30" housing setup on a cart that can be used to go through a cheap pre-filter and more expensive final filter as @Skaalvenn suggests in a single pass. Most of the distilleries that we work with that filter are doing so in the 5-10 µ range, using the Graver QMC polypropylene cartridge. Then some go finer to an absolute final membrane filter like the ZTEC WB, if necessary. Some other distilleries have issues with colloidal haze forming, so they use a positively charged filter. Something like the GFC, or a plate and frame filter using DE sheets.
  4. MichaelAtTCW


    The reciprocating action of the pump can also create static electricity. The air motor should be composed of parts that are capable of discharging to ground. Pumps in our SimpleSpirits line adhere to this.
  5. MichaelAtTCW


    SCD is right on wanting stainless wetted parts. Some customers I talk to have trouble with using AODD pumps for mash unless you are religious about keeping them clean. Any gunk that gets stuck and "baked on" the ball valve or seats can prevent it from sealing properly, meaning you have to partially break them down to remove the offending debris. Otherwise the pump will chug and chug without moving anything. Some other styles of pump are less prone to this: FIP, RPD, or Peristaltic, for example.
  6. MichaelAtTCW

    Square Bottle Labeler

    We sell Ferrinox labelers with a square bottle upgrade. It's basically a tray with a pneumatic cylinder that pushes the square bottle through at a controlled rate to apply the label evenly. You can use the same labeler to do rounds or squares by just removing the pneumatic tray.
  7. MichaelAtTCW

    WARNING: Oak Wood Barrel Co.

    Getting a site shut down through Google is very difficult. The simplest tactic is to post information about the company with negative keywords nearby. "OakwoodBarrels.com is a Scam". That kind of thing. Post it on your blog, here, on other forums, etc. This thread is already the third result in Google when you search for "Oak Wood Barrels", and I'm certain that reading this thread has prevented at least some people from following through with a transaction. It's a dirty tactic, but effective as long as the sites you're posting to are considered trustworthy by Google and other search engines. A more direct option is to report abuse through OWB's domain registrar. Most domain registrars take abuse reports pretty seriously, as their accreditation with ICANN is on the line. Registrars always have policies about what kind of content they will allow registrants to host. Companies engaged in illegal activities are pretty near the top of the list for disallowed content. Oakwoodbarrels.com's domain registrar is ASCIO. ASCIO's abuse email is abuse@ascio.com, and their abuse phone number is +44.2070159370 The problem with a company like this is that as soon as oakwoodbarrels.com stops being viable, I'm betting they will pop up with a new name and a new website.
  8. MichaelAtTCW

    Pumps for High Proof Alcohol

    I'm interested to hear other folks' take on this. Requirements are usually set by local fire marshals or other local governing bodies rather than US-wide regulations. When you apply for permits to open a distillery you usually find out pretty quickly what you're required to use. Some folks we deal with seem to have a lot of free reign in choosing equipment. Others not so much. Some users have no one specifically dictating what type of equipment they can use, so they're left to make their own best judgments. The majority of folks I talk to just want the absolute safest (at the absolute lowest price ) Read up on Hazardous Location classification, if you haven't. Class I is most relevant to distilleries. Class I gets subdivided into divisions and zones. These divisions and zones say how often flammable vapors may be present, under what circumstances (normal use, equipment breakdown, etc.), and the zones that have the greatest concentration. So, once you have the classification you can purchase equipment that adheres to those classifications. Or, if you just want the absolute safest, you can go with Class I, Div 1 electrical equipment. Class I, Div 1 motors and enclosures are used in places like oil refineries or chemical processing plants where flammable vapor are present in sufficient quantities to represent a significant sparking hazard pretty much all the time. Of course, this equipment is also the most expensive because requirements to meet Class I, Div 1 are really stringent. A pump that might normally cost a few thousand dollars all of a sudden can top $15k if it's fully kitted out with a continuously purged enclosure, continuous fan cooling, thick-walled stainless bolted enclosure, etc. Air diaphragm pumps can sidestep the need to worry about Hazloc classification, but they can also present their own hazards unless specced properly. I see people assuming that all air diaphragm pumps are intrinsically safe because they don't use electricity. This is not completely true. Air diaphragm pumps could pose a sparking risk because they produce static electricity through normal usage. This is why we offer groundable air diaphragm pumps for distilleries. The mechanisms in the pump that normally build up static electricity can be discharged through the ground. Anyway, this just scratches the surface. I read in a recent ADI newsletter some advice from distillery architect Scott Moore, which I uploaded here. He recommends Class I, Div 2 electrical equipment in a classified area, particularly if proper ventilation is not available. But, as you can see from his "electric sombrero of death" illustration, it's a pretty nuanced subject. d9f54ab0-d8ec-4930-a02f-88ba5a60129f.pdf
  9. MichaelAtTCW

    INOXPA Flexible Impeller 10/40 Pump

    I assume you're talking about the EPDM impeller. Yes, it's rated for 5° more than Neoprene. The downside is that EPDM has much poorer mechanical resistance than Neoprene, so the tradeoff for 5° of head-room is rarely worth it. From one Jabsco distributor to another, I would strongly recommend against using EPDM as the default impeller material on your pumps solely for that extra 5°. We mostly recommend EPDM impellers for applications where the pumped material has poor compatibility with Neoprene rather than instances where the extra 5° is make-or-break. When you're pumping hot material, you'll go through impellers quickly one way or the other. Either because your product is at or near the maximum operating temperature, or because you're using an EPDM impeller, which has poorer mechanical resistance than Neoprene. Better to simply let your mash cool a bit before transferring it. Ours doesn't have threads inside the connection either.
  10. MichaelAtTCW

    INOXPA Flexible Impeller 10/40 Pump

    That's never a good sign! We've been selling the SQN 20 since the 70s, so we know that maintenance and readily-available spare parts should be top-of-mind when deciding on a pump. $200 savings up front isn't worth much if the parts are more costly and harder to find. Luckily the SQN 20 has easily available spare parts, and most customers go 5+ years before they need to do anything but change the impeller, which is not that expensive. A new Neoprene impeller is $77. Keep one on the shelf. I know Inoxpa. My main beef with European flexible impeller pumps is that they are generally a little more lax with their quality control than Jabsco. They are also generally made from thinner metal. The SQN 20 is made from cast and machined 316 stainless steel. Most of the European flexible impeller pumps I see are made from bent or pressed plate/tubing, so they're much thinner. Bending and pressing is fine for tanks, but flexible impeller pump heads are subject to a lot of axial force from the motor shaft. Wandering tolerances will lead to leaking or suction problems. I pulled one of the SQN 20 heads from our shelf and took a picture. See below. I think the difference is pretty apparent. It's burly little head. The motor on these pumps will grind themselves to dust before the Jabsco head gives up the ghost. My only caveat about flexible impeller pumps is that you must be extremely diligent about not letting them run dry, and if you are pumping hot mash your impellers will need to be replaced much more frequently. If you want to avoid these issues there are alternative pump options (RPD, peristaltic…) but none as inexpensive.
  11. MichaelAtTCW

    Quick connect/disconnects for hoses

    EPDM is similar in consistency to Buna, but is rated better with regard to ethyl alcohol compatibility. You'll find it seals way better than PTFE, which is usually reserved for low-pressure connections that have to rotate in-place (like racking arms). Your cheapest and sanest option will be to try an EPDM gasket before you write off Tri Clamp fittings. Particularly since 90% of the equipment you buy will likely use Tri Clamp for the liquid process ports.
  12. MichaelAtTCW

    Pumps for High Proof Alcohol

    We're introducing a new sanitary centrifugal pump coupled to an explosion proof Class I, Div I motor and NEMA 7 motor starter with a 316L head. It's all mounted on the carts we build. It's available in a high flow/low pressure or high pressure/low flow configuration. The high flow model pumps up to about 130 GPM at 18 psi, while the high pressure model pumps up to about 60 psi at 30 GPM. A few are already in the wild. Here's a picture of one: Hope to have more details up on our website shortly, but give me a holler if you have any questions in the meantime: 707-963-9681.
  13. MichaelAtTCW

    Connections on G70 pump

    We have the 3/4" barbs in stock and of course our price is better than Southernhighlander The G70 normally comes with 3/8" barbs. Flojet makes a special G70 assembly for us with 3/4" barbs, because this is what most of our customers want.
  14. MichaelAtTCW

    PP body for spirit transfer pump

    Yep. I think I recall having this conversation with you. You're not too far from us in Northern California, correct? Give me a call. I should be able to set you up with the documentation. 707-963-9681.
  15. MichaelAtTCW

    PP body for spirit transfer pump

    To ensure you're comparing apples to apples: part of the reason the G70 is more expensive is because it uses conductive materials that allow the pump to be fully groundable, thus granting it ATEX certification for safe pump operation in potentially dangerous or explosive atmospheres. Air diaphragm pumps have a lot of rapidly moving parts that can cause static build-up and discharge unless they're grounded, making them potentially unsafe if used around flammable products or vapors. Most air diaphragm pumps are not designed to be fully groundable. The ones that are groundable usually broadcast it pretty loudly by proclaiming ATEX/UL certification, or something like that. Groundable pumps are also usually more expensive than non-groundable pumps, as you've discovered. I'm sure Yamada makes some groundable pumps—they talk about having select ATEX and UL certified pumps here on their website. I'd be surprised if the Yamada you're comparing with the G70 is one of them.
  16. MichaelAtTCW

    WARNING: Oak Wood Barrel Co.

    I went to the address listed on their website. Here's what I found: There were no businesses here except for Ralph's Courthouse Classic Hot Dogs. Ralph would not sell me a barrel—although I offered him a very good price. He just has hot dogs. I would go back to Ralph for hot dogs, but I would think twice about buying barrels from a company that does business from Courthouse Square in Santa Rosa.
  17. MichaelAtTCW

    WARNING: Oak Wood Barrel Co.

    The address listed on the dirtcheapbarrels.com website is 570-598 4th St, Santa Rosa, CA 95401. That's our hometown! I'll stop by there tomorrow on my lunch break and let folks know what I find.
  18. MichaelAtTCW

    passivating stainless

    We use a TIG brush here at TCW for cleaning and passivating TIG welds. Ours is the Capital Weld Cleaner. It works great for us. It's very quick and effective, but unless you're doing a ton of cleaning/passivating it sounds like what Streven proposes would be more simple.
  19. MichaelAtTCW

    Distillery Pump, FIP vs. AOD

    I would switch it around just a little bit and say that flexible impeller pumps are better equipped to deal with solids. In particular they are better at moving large solids in suspension. Most AODD pumps have a manufacturer's specification outlining exactly how large of a particle they can accept without clogging. The larger the pump, the larger the solids it can accept. Typically, air diaphragm pumps are capable of passing solids in suspension no larger than 1/8 the size of the opening. So, if it's a 1" opening, the largest particle it can take is 1/8". A 2" opening may be able to pass solids up to .25", etc. Flexible impeller pumps can usually pass solids in suspension about 1/3 the size of the inlet, so quite a bit larger. They are, however, subject to the limitations that Tom mentioned, i.e. no high heat above 180 °F and no dry-running. Bear in mind that the 34 CFM requirement is only if you want to run the pump full-out at 43 GPM. You can run it at a slower speed and use less CFM. The math gets trickier, though, and you need to refer the pump curve. For example, you can run the SimpleSpirits 43 with 20 CFM @ 30 psi and still get about 27 GPM. You can run it with 10 CFM @ 30 psi and get about 17 GPM. Generally speaking, the larger the pump, the more efficiently it will use whatever air it has available. In terms of simplicity the Jabsco wins hands down. The head can be rebuilt in less than 10 minutes including a coffee break and there are only four parts: the impeller, the o-rings, the stationary seal and the mechanical seal. The impeller is the only one you'll likely need to touch in the first five years. With TLC and a spare impeller on the shelf they'll last you decades. We've seen it! AODD pumps are not simple. They usually take a few hours to rebuild the wet and dry sides and are more sensitive to over or under-torquing. but they are the best value if you're moving high proof. The pulsations can be an issue, but we've found that adding a pulse smoother tames pulsations significantly.
  20. MichaelAtTCW

    Proofing barrel and bottle filling

    We sell a lot of fillers to distilleries, so my experience comes from aggregate information. Others on here can (and I hope will) share their own individual experiences. Most commercial semi-automatic fillers are fed in one of two ways: By gravity as you describe, where the final product is in a tank that is above the level of the filler's reservoir. By a pump turned on and off by a level control. The Mori Filler we sell can be fed either way. I would say about 80% of the Mori Fillers we sell are built with a level control/pump. The remaining are fed by gravity. Usually people opt for the gravity version for one reason and one reason only: cost. Unless you designed your facility to use gravity to your advantage, it is much more convenient to leave your tank on the ground. The other benefit to using a pump to feed the filler is that you can run a final filter pass in-line just prior to bottling. You can't do that with gravity. As far as the safety issues you ask about, most of the Mori Fillers we sell to distilleries use a completely air-driven level control and pump system that does not require electricity.
  21. MichaelAtTCW

    Triclamp accesories

    This is good advice. I've seen a lot of people get tripped up by referring to tri clamp sizes incorrectly (e.g. referring to the size of the ferrule as the tri clamp size – calling a 2" tri clamp fitting 2.5") Attached is a good reference. It's a printable sheet that (as long as your paper/printer are set up correctly) prints true-to-size, so you can hold up a tri clamp fitting to get the size you need to order. Just put a big "X" over the 1" Maxi. They're not commonly used in stainless steel, as the sheet indicates. gvc_doc_00004(1).pdf
  22. MichaelAtTCW

    Pumps for High Proof Alcohol

    Rust, eh? What kind of pump was it? What material was it made from? We sell a line of groundable AODD pumps specifically for distilleries: SimpleSpirits Pumps. These are air diaphragm pumps, so they require the use of an air compressor to function. The very rough rule of thumb with air diaphragm pumps is that you want your compressor to be capable of generating your desired flow rate in GPM x .75. So, if you want to pump 50 GPM, you need an air compressor capable of generating about 38 CFM at your desired PSI. Alternatively you can get electric pumps with XP-rated components like this, but these get pricey very quickly.
  23. MichaelAtTCW

    FIP Pumps

    We've sold Jabsco FIPs since the 70s. They're workhorses, and reliable as hell. I love seeing a 30 year old pump come in that just needs a new impeller and o-rings to work good as new. Closest to the one you're looking for is our SQN 50, though it's 5 HP as opposed to 3 HP. We've sold a few Jabscos with XP-rated motors and drives. The XP components get pricey fast, though, and can add a 2-3x factor to the price depending on how many "trimmings" you need. This one had a continuously purged cast iron drive enclosure. I think it was for High West Distillery.
  24. MichaelAtTCW

    Bottling Equipment

    Someone recently described it as looking like the filler Darth Vader would use. Not sure if that's a downside?
  25. MichaelAtTCW

    Plate and Frame Filter Sizing

    Well… we do sell cartridge housings and the filters. From pretty basic/cheap housings where you can set them up in series, to cart-mounted 2x30" housings that can filter in series or parallel, to a full 2 x 30" system with integrated air diaphragm pump, like the one pictured right. I don't know much about the Shelco housings you link to. I do know that the style they sell isn't as popular in the beverage industry. It looks like the kind where the filter seal is dependent on how tightly you close the housing. That's pretty common for cheaper filtration setups, but in the beverage industry housings that have twist and lock bases are more common, as they tend to be more reliable. That said, we do sell the same style as the ones you link to for the cost-conscious. It's the polypropylene housing Silk City Distillers references above, also known as an Ametek housing As far as filters, we sell Graver filters. Ther cartridge filters are great – priced well and made in the USA. As I said, we sell a lot of them to distilleries. The number of filters you use and their micron rating depends on what you're trying to remove – large particles (floaties), sub-optical particles (haze), invisible particles (yeast, spoilage bacteria), or some combination of all of the above. Give us a call if you want to talk it over: 707-963-9681