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  • bev tech

     fixbear updated 1 week, 4 days ago 4 Members · 10 Posts
  • fixbear

    Member
    October 23, 2019 at 5:19 pm

    I was just wondering on how many of you have worked on chillers and soda dispensing units.  A lot of us have worked on coffee makers and slush machines,  But the Beer coolers never get mentioned much.

  • ectofix

    Member
    October 23, 2019 at 5:56 pm

    All I’ve ever done is coffee brewers, cappuccino machines (those dispensers once popular in convenience store that mix powder with hot water) and a V-E-R-Y few select espresso machines. 

    I still don’t touch espresso machines since I don’t know enough about them.  A company tech support guy once told me that if I don’t know them, I shouldn’t touch them unless I get training because they can be dangerous.

    One of my former co-workers knew enough about carbonated beverages to own a refractometer for doing a brix test.  All I remember is that tool looked exactly like what I used in the military to test the specific gravity of lead-acid batteries.

    That’s as close as I got to that…

    • fixbear

      Member
      October 24, 2019 at 7:26 am

      Yea, they can have some serious pressures with the boiler.I’ve seen some at 15 bar when the coffee beans are ground too fine  One has to have a way of testing the relief, over-temp, and pressure regulation. Replacing heating elements can be a challenge on some. I still like the old E61 group head the best.  They seem to be automating them today to do away with a true Barista and the money they have to pay for one.  I got the bug when I was working in Washington on a consulting job during Desert Storm.  Saved for a long time to buy one for home after going through 4 cheaper machines.  They have some odd ball threads in them making it a pain to find fittings.

  • Ankorite

    Member
    October 23, 2019 at 6:50 pm

    I am a Draft Technician and I service glycol chillers, long draw, short draw, alternative beverage, and direct draw units. Along with the serving side of things I maintain automation equipment in a production brewery, de-palletizer, semi-automated canning line, date coder, keg racking and cleaning machine, and packaging machine. I integrated in an OEM labeler into the line to label the cans as they fly by. The canning line outputs about 30 cans a minute and stacks them on a receiving conveyor in six packs.

    My racking and cleaning machines manufacturer does not exist anymore so it has been my baby for the last 10 years. Including having the HMI fail and giving myself a crash course in PLC and HMI programing to mitigate down time (4 days in this case)

    My refractometer can do ethylene and propylene glycol along with battery acid so most likely its the same as your military one.

    Draft sciences are not terribly hard to grasp, mostly fluid dynamics and CO2/N2 solubility vs breakout. There are some magic numbers that make things easier, ideal pour rate is 2oz/sec so 8-10 seconds for a pint. There are also some good calculators in apps that make it easier.

    In the state where I live it falls on the beer distributers to clean and maintain the draft lines, so for a brewpub who self distributes they have to clean their own lines. This is either done with a static pressure pot or recirculating pumps and a 3% solution of caustic soda at a two week interval with a additional quarterly clean of 1% phosphoric acid. I ended up building my own cleaning system that can meet the demands of the lines I take care of as I was not impressed with the commercial options.

    If there are any questions ask away.

  • fixbear

    Member
    October 24, 2019 at 7:32 am

    How many of the Glycol chillers have you seen with the evaporator having a hole in it from vibration and rubbing on the spreader?  I found out the hard way not use a vacuum pump on one till it was flushed. Ruined a $700 pump.

    • Ankorite

      Member
      October 24, 2019 at 1:43 pm

      None yet thankfully. It had a hole from suction to the glycol side? Worst Ive had was a stuck liquid line solenoid valve that caused my glycol to slush up and clog the heat exchanger. It was found before it went critical and expanded, so no cracks.

  • landmineplayground

    Member
    November 7, 2019 at 12:15 pm

    My strong point was always working with the Starbucks espresso machines made by thermoplan, coffee grinders and all regular brewing equipment. I never really worked on beer coolers, glycol units or carbonated dispensers.

    • fixbear

      Member
      November 7, 2019 at 7:02 pm

      Do tell, I always wondered what was inside those machines.  Starbucks paid a lot of money to develop machines that don’t need the skills to operate that require a real Barista.  Like the real Italian espresso machines..  But I’m certain they still mineral up and need burr cleaning to keep functioning.  What’s worst is they don’t have a back-up machine in the stores if it breaks down.

      • landmineplayground

        Member
        November 8, 2019 at 7:11 am

        They are designed to be tech friendly. Once you open it up they have the machine set up with 5 different easy to remove “modules” and these include quick disconnect for water and electric.  They are set up as the grinding and brew chamber, water pump, the whole steam boiler, and electrical drawer.  but they are most impressive with all the sensors they have to keep a consistent product.  

        • fixbear

          Member
          November 8, 2019 at 9:59 am

          I figured that would be part of there design.  But any time you have a automation on that type of process it would have to have one heck of a computer board to monitor the sensors and make the controls work. Let alone all the redundant safeties for the two boilers.  Weighing, grinding tamping, and infusion is hard enough,  but cleaning  and flushing has to be a big problem.

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