Seepex: Hop, skip now pump

Hop, skip – now pump.

Caledonian Brewery is a Scottish brewery founded in 1869 in the Slateford area of Edinburgh, Scotland. The Caley, as it is known locally, continues the tradition of brewing ale in a Victorian Brew house which remains relatively unchanged since it‘s opening.

Their range of beers is brewed using high quality malted barley, whole hop flowers and the last direct-fired open coppers in the U.K.

The starting situation
At Edinburgh‘s Caledonian Brewery they had a hop-handling problem. Originally, removing the spent hops involved an operator shovelling the product into a skip which had to be taken by fork lift truck out into the yard some 20 metres away. The product was then shovelled again, this time into a tractor-trailer. Additionally, with the temperature of the spent hops sometimes reaching 194°F the environment in the hop back was not conducive to the operator entering the area so the hops had to be allowed to cool before removal could be started. However, when fire doors were installed in the vicinity of the dump tank access was restricted and the opportunity to rethink the whole process was taken.

The solution
Bill Edmonds, Caledonian‘s Brewing Manager, recognised that it was very labour intensive and wondered whether the spent hops could be pumped away. After a visit from seepex he discovered there could be!

A seepex progressive cavity pump was installed and now the spent hops which varies between 90 and 200 pounds (dry) per mash, dependant upon the brew that used to have to be dampened with water before being manually removed are now pumped via a closed pipe work to an external location. Using the seepex pump has the added advantage of also considerably reducing the volume of the spent grains.

The benefit
Says Bill Edmonds, “The change has been tremendous. We used to have to hire many more skips and the job is never a popular one for my team. Now we save lots in skip hire every week and the labour saved has been dramatic.“

The lads used to have to rake out the hops two or three times a shift but with the seepex system a single operator starts the pump and only has to enter the tank to remove material that cannot be reached by the initial raking. “I‘m delighted, my team is delighted and, with all the savings on labour and transport, I guess my bosses must be delighted too!“

The spent hops are collected by the Edinburgh Botanical Gardens where the product is used as fertiliser mulch. With three or four skips a week now reduced to one – for the same benefit – one must assume that they are “delighted“ as well.

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