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TLV rings changes at Ringwood Brewery

24 March 2011

Steam equipment from TLV Euro Engineering was recently used at Ringwood Brewery

Founded in 1978 by Peter Austin, a man revered as "the father of British Micro-brewing", Ringwood Brewery currently produces approximately 40,000 barrels of distinctive beers including its renowned CAMRA award-winning Old Thumper.Today the company's commitment to, and investment in, plant, equipment, training and development continues following its acquisition in 2007 by Marston's PLC.

At about the time of the acquisition a new boiler house was installed, at which point Bob Mavin, the brewery’s chief engineer and president of the Brewing Engineers Association, took the opportunity to review available sources of specialist steam equipment.

“We had been talking to TLV Euro Engineering for some time and as the company was looking for an opportunity to supply steam equipment to Ringwood, we discussed the new boiler house with its engineers.

“We were subsequently offered a trial of TLV’s COS-R pressure reducing valve on a sale-or-return basis, and we haven’t looked back! When the first COS-R was installed its performance was absolutely superb, which gave me the confidence to order most of the new steam equipment for the boiler house from TLV.”

As several of Ringwood Brewery’s old style steam traps were failing – even though Ringwood’s own test equipment suggested otherwise – TLV was also invited to undertake a steam trap survey. Of the thirty traps on site, eight were found to be faulty, which was costing the brewery in excess of £3,000 in wasted energy per year.

“Having lost confidence in our own test equipment, we now commission TLV to undertake annual steam trap surveys, because even if they only identify one faulty valve, we’re still saving energy.” explains Bob, adding that a rolling steam trap replacement programme has now been initiated to enable Ringwood to continue increasing its efficiency.

Commenting for TLV Euro Engineering, regional engineer Mathew King says: “We have now supplied additional equipment for the boiler house, including pressure reducing valves, flow meters and steam traps, as well as some isolation valves. As well as our surveys, Ringwood also undertakes its own checks on all steam equipment on an annual basis and we’re delighted to report that they haven’t had a single TLV product fail in the four years since the new boiler house was commissioned. In fact, as other steam equipment fails, TLV replacements are ordered and installed.”

Steam is the most important heating medium in most breweries and, at Ringwood is used extensively throughout the process from mashing in, where malt is mixed with water and heated to produce sweet wort, to the wort kettle, where it is boiled for varying times and evaporation rates, depending on the beer type.

Steam is produced by the Ringwood boiler at 8 bar and reduced by one of TLV’s COS-R pressure reducing valves to 4 bar for the majority of the brewing processes. However, two other COS-R’s have been installed at locations around the brewery to further reduce the steam pressure to 2 bar for cleaning and sterilisation applications. Ringwood has also installed a TLV flowmeter to meter the main steam flow from the boiler house and help to correlate the gas-to-steam usage.

Commenting on the TLV steam equipment acquired by Ringwood Brewery, Bob Mavin says build-quality is first class and the company’s procedures for installation, operation and maintenance are carefully considered and thoroughly engineered.

He goes on to say that steam equipment has traditionally been heavy, cumbersome to handle and awkward to use, but TLV’s ‘industrial design’ approach fits aesthetically with Ringwood’s new building and, unlike most steam equipment, is pleasing to look at and use.

Summing up he says TLV has proved to be very professional in its approach and its engineers have been extremely helpful and are happy to offer advice, without being pushy.

Speaking in his role as president of the Brewing Engineers Association he acknowledges that guidance is so important when considering steam for process applications, as not all engineers have the knowledge or experience to fully understand that steam is a technology in itself!

“Like many engineers in brewing and associated industries, I have traditionally stuck to a single supplier for steam equipment.” he says. “However, we have now ‘bitten the bullet’, tried TLV and are delighted with the results. And I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend them.”

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