Jump to content
ADI Forums
middleofnowhere

Used dairy equipment

Recommended Posts

NorthStar    1

I use two milk tanks: one for mashing and one for mixing (where appropriate). Heritage distilling in Washington took a milk tank and ran pipes through it for steam; mine is not so fancy as I just pour hot h2o into it. They are meant to cool, but this insulation holds heat pretty well. You can always find the tanks on ebay.

I run mine with the original agitator. I don't expect this to last as it was not made to push 400lbs of corn around. Still, the attached motor does a pretty decent job.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
PeteB    45

Dairy plate heat exchangers work very well if you are cooling (or heating) wort and possibly a thin grains-in mash

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Concentric tube setups seem to be very hard to find these days, the few that the surplus outfits have in stock are priced astronomically, as much as new units. I've toyed around with the idea of building my own Copper in PVC or Stainless in PVC tube-in-tube, seems easy enough.

We have a 600 gallon Mueller, beautiful piece of equipment.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Skaalvenn    24

Craigslist typically has a lot of dairy tanks and sometimes at half the price of ebay.

There are also a lot of dairy equipment wholesalers out there.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Blackheart    10

I have a 450 gallon bulk milk chilling tank that is jacketed and has pipes in the jacket for cooling. Its a Meuller. I'm using it for a closed loop chill system for my mash cooling, but I'm sizing up in the next few months and am gonna see it gets a new home.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Has anyone looked to use glycol in the jacketing of dairy bulk tanks? I know the old muellers were initially built for freon, but is it safe to assume there is enough surface area to cool a fermenting mash using a higher concentration glycol running through the same system? If anyone has found older Mueller manuals that give dimensions , specs, etc. of the jacketing, I would be very interested. Cheers.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We have a 630 gallon Mueller that we converted into a mash tun, which uses direct steam injection, and water/glycol in the jacket.  We got the tank with the compressor disconnected, so it was evacuated.  Instead of bothering with the refrigerant, which would have cost a fortune, we took a gamble and tried straight municipal water - and it worked great.

We've fermented in the mash tun (doing double duty), and the jacket works just fine to hold fermentation temps.  Feed it from your chiller, and you'll have no problem keeping a fermentation cooler than you need to, or crash cooling if you need to do that.  Also remember, it's insulated, so if your ambient temps are higher than your fermentation set point, the insulation is going to work in your favor.

Surface area is tremendous, feeding this with 28f glycol, you'd probably need a minuscule flow rate.  If you ever open one up and look inside, you'll see the jacket area, it's relatively easy to measure and calculate - just assume the interior surface, and not the tubing.  There is no lack of surface area or cooling capability.  These things were designed to keep milk at 40f.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I can't be sure, but the jacket since initially set up for refrigerant, is of a low pressure design, do you need low pump pressure or pressure reducing valve.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

MG - What is your recommended glycol system maximum jacket pressure?

Our tank has a 7/8" suction line and 2 1/2" liquid lines - one on each side.  The "jacket" consists of embedded copper tubing runs across the long dimension.  It's two parallel runs, one on each side.

Just a quick glance at a refrigerant tubing mawp table - thin wall 7/8ths is 600psi, and thin wall 1/2" is 750psi.  I've got to imagine that a refrigerant line braze would be good to a couple hundred pounds.  I'm no refrigerant guy, but aren't suction line pressures in these tanks up near 50psi anyway?  I would imagine these tanks could deal with 15psi damn near forever (thermal stresses are probably a bigger factor than pressure).  Would imagine Schedule 40 would go before the refrigerant lines would, but who knows?

Not that I would recommend anywhere near these pressures.  Also, "Dairy Tank" is a very very broad category, each tank would need to be assessed on it's own.  Your mileage may vary, I claim no expertise of this subject at all.

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The tubing is where the the low pressure refrigerant would be expanded via a thermal expansion valve, so inherently this is the low pressure side of the system.

The tubing is circuited for a gas, so you would take that into consideration and see how it goes.

I have talked to someone who has done it, but it has been years back and it turned out ok for him but I don't recall who it was, unfortunately.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think what the other fellow did was to just use the inside of the tank for glycol storage from his chiller, others have been able to make the refrigeration work and used the tank to keep spirits cold (for chill filtration), the most common use I have bumped into.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks. Although I don't have a mechanical background, I find the idea of purchasing milk tanks from local operations and giving them a second life as fermenters, mixing tanks and CLTs in my setup exciting. I've even heard of breweries welding a setup stacking dairy tanks but I am not brave enough to stack 600 gallon tanks full of hot liquids that were never intended for stacking, no matter how much space I'm conserving.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I would think you would have to weld up frames around them to stack and pour a lot of concrete beneath...

These dairy tanks are meant to hold milk temps down after milking and came with either one or two 3 HP refrigerant compressors that expand cold refrigerant into a internal jacket. This jacket is low pressure and not meant for cold glycol, so using the jacket for anything other than refrigerant would limit you somewhat.

I used to sell OEM compressor units to the dairy people back in the 1980s, when there were many more dairy farms, so there are bunches of them around because they were mainly using R-12 refrigerant (it became harder to get when it was banned) until you got into huge ones that were probably using ammonia refrigerant.

If you find one that the compressor works, you may be able to switch it over to another refrigerant. Give me a call if you find some likely "suspects".

Mike

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We have a very large chiller available to us that is pushing too much to reduce to the flow through a 3/8" infeed (with a 1/2" outfeed) as is on the chilling unit of our Mueller tank.  We are considering puncturing the jacket to weld a 2" ferrule in and a 2" ferrule out (on opposing ends), but are uncertain whether there is a foam insulation or air within the jacket itself. We will take a chance on puncturing the tank to weld the ferrule but are curious if anyone has drilled into the jacket before and seen what is there. We obviously have no interest in running the glycol/water mix through the jacket if there is insulation present.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You'd be better off putting a flow control on the chiller exit between it and the tank.

One reason, you may damage the jacket itself- what is the rating in psi of the jacket. if it is only 15 psig, then you need to install a three way valve to bypass most of the glycol flow and a "flow setter" of you have multiple feeds off the process pump.

How large is the chiller= tons of refrigeration or the flow? and the pump?

Is your feed piping 2"?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
SlickFloss    2

You can very easily construct a facility out of used dairy for a fraction of the price of conventional suppliers with the right team of contractors (steam fitters, welders, plumbers, and electricians) if you're flexible with your capacity and can afford to wait to piece things together during construction......

Heres a dirty little secret every still manufacturer doesn't want you to know, a still is literally a batch pasteurizer (or a stem kettle) with a helmet on top hooked up to a condenser.........

a 1000 gal still can run you over 100k..... or with a ton of elbow grease you can make a pasteurizer/kettle into a 1000 gallon still for 15 k all in......

Other great places to look are places selling old naval/marine equipment (kettles from battle ships make great stills)

 

On 8/7/2014 at 11:40 PM, sailorman9 said:

Most of my distillery is used SS dairy equipment that has been modified for my purposes. This place buys cheese factories and sells the parts: http://www.ullmers-dairyequipment.com/

Sailorman Ullmers is down street from me! Are you in the WI guild?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

SlickFloss said

"You can very easily construct a facility out of used dairy for a fraction of the price of conventional suppliers with the right team of contractors (steam fitters, welders, plumbers, and electricians) if you're flexible with your capacity and can afford to wait to piece things together during construction......"

 

While this is a correct statement when it comes to most distillery equipment manufacturers , it is incorrect when it comes to my business.

 

I used to build a lot of stills from re-purposed equipment such as cooker kettles and dairy tanks.  I called this equipment my backwoods series equipment.  We found that we could produce our standard series line of equipment for less than what it cost to produce backwoods series equipment, so we produce very little backwoods series equipment these days.  

I have complete systems that cost my customers much less than having steam fitters welders plumbers and electricians re-purpose dairy equipment.  For example one of my 250 gallon electrically fired still pots costs less than $3,900.00  By the time you purchase the used vessel and pay your tradesmen from $65.00 to $150.00 per hour to make the changes, you will have at least $5,000.00 into that pot and yours will look pretty ugly while mine is beautiful and will probably function a lot better.

Also if anyone out there does want to turn used dairy equipment into distillery equipment, we can still do it for less, because my hourly fees for sanitary, welding, fabricating and boiler making, are way below the national average, because my business is in a very rural economically depressed area, so my labor charges for the Fabricators, welders, electricians and boilermakers that work for me are less than what you can get any where else in the US.  Also my people do superior work.  My 2 best boiler makers have over 50 years of combined experience doing sanitary fab work and welding.  Also there is of course the fact that my people build stills everyday.  We have equipment in over 18% of the craft distilleriesin the US and that percentage is increasing every day.

paul@distillery-equipment.com

http://distillery-equipment.com

http://moonshine-still.co

http://triclamp.co

 

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
SlickFloss    2

several things in response.......

I'm not knocking your business, but I can always build cheaper than I can purchase from you..... you just quoted me your best sweetheart deal, I employ welders and steamfitters who are on salary their labor is a sunken cost and the equipment is as cheap as I can source it- in the midwest that is cheaaaaaapppppp

 

Plus I don't make a margin on myself : )

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×