Checking Equipment Quality
Generally, when comparing and contrasting each offer that a supplier provides, there
are many points that should be taken into consideration in order to ensure that the
best selection is made. These points can be divided into two categories: tangible
(material quality, type of fittings, welding quality, etc.) and intangible (production
skills, customer service, after sales service, etc.)
In this document, we will focus on the different aspects that we believe are of critical
importance when trying to select a supplier. We will provide you with key quality
factors that should be focused on to assess the quality of the equipment being
Type and Quality of Material and Peripherals Implemented
Throughout a System
1.- Stainless Steel 304 (SUS 304) is the standard material that should be used for
any type of brewing system and for those willing to pay extra for a higher quality
material, Stainless Steel 316 (SUS 316) can be used. But in the Chinese brewery
manufacturing industry, their main point of focus is to reduce the cost of production
while maximizing their profits. The manner in which they achieve this is by utilizing
cheaper material such as Stainless Steel 301 (SUS 301) and in some cases even
Stainless Steel 201 (SUS 201). The negative impacts this will have would be a
reduced life span and rapid rust formation. There have also been instances where manufacturers utilize SUS 304 for all interior
tanks, but use SUS 201 for outer cladding, tank legs, etc. The most extreme case we
have witnessed was the usage of carbon steel for the leg supports of the tank
(welded onto the interior tank) and decorated with a SUS 304 exterior. This would
give the appearance of SUS 304 but in reality is still carbon steel.
2.- Equipment fittings such as valves, piping, etc. are also critical points that need to
be taken into consideration. Below, I will provide a comparison between a lower and
higher quality butterfly valve: There is an evident difference between one valve and the other, the butterfly we
implement has more flow control, sturdy ergonomic handle and longer life span
compared to that of the competition. However, this higher quality valve also has a
higher material and production cost. The heat exchanger we are currently using is the best we can source in China,
which is a two phase chilled (water and glycol respectively) that is made of SUS 316 and possesses a very high cooling efficiency. In addition to this, all interior tubing is
Stainless Steel 316 that would allow to design the manifold to send the outflow of
heated water (phase 1, city water) into the HLT, Kettle, or any vessel where you can
place your brewing water for the next batch.
On another note, all of our system implemented pumps and motors are renowned
brands such as ABB. And we would be more than happy to utilize any specific name
brand pump per customer request.
As a final important factor, we self-manufacture our manifolds in order to ensure that
all welding have no points for contamination and can be sanitized 100% as well as
provide a maximum degree of flexibility with all of our designs. Our skilled welders
cut the pipes as evenly and smoothly as possible so that all welds can easily be
done (both inside and outside) and create customized connections.
Suggestion on inspecting the materials and fittings:
1) Ask different suppliers if the materials they are using is SUS304 or ask them for a
material parameter certification.
2) See or confirm what kind of butterfly valve, heat exchanger, motor, pump etc. they
will use for you.
3) See what they normally use or what kind of components they will use for detailed
parts such as the top manway on each vessel throughout the brewhouse, sample
valves, side/top manways for fermenters and bright beer tanks. (You should be
allowed to modify equipment that best suit your brewing process.)
In one words, you need to make sure what they will do for you on your own brewery
Craftsmanship / Production Skill:
A crucial aspect for a high quality system is the welding and polishing throughout the
production process. Improper welds and inadequate polishing, especially in the
interior of the vessels, can lead to improper cleaning and contamination as well as
impact the structural integrity throughout the system. Another important factor that goes hand in hand with craftsmanship would be the
equipment design. Different suppliers may implement different production protocols,
however, most of the Chinese companies will select economically inexpensive designs (minimize materials as well as labor.) An example of this would be the
cooling jacket that is used in the inner tanks of fermenters and BBTs.
Comparing and contrasting both cooling designs, the dimple jacket that we use has a
better cooling effect. The reason is that as the jacket is filled, it provides an even
cooling effect throughout the vessel, while minimizing flow rate by the individual
welds that are placed throughout the jacket. This in turn drastically increases the
cooling efficiency of the vessel but in turn this requires more labor, time and
On the other hand, the cooling band does not provide an efficient or uniform cooling
effect due to its unrestrictive flow and that the glycol increases in temperature as it
moves along the band. This will require a longer cooling time as well as having the
pump and chiller constantly on until the temperatures of the tanks reach the set point.
However, due to its simplicity, the production cost is relatively cheap and will also
drastically reduce the production time frame.
Also, sometimes when the cooling jacket is welded, the interior polish of the vessel
will be affected. In our current production method, the welding joint can be polished
after welding them together, which ensures that all interior tanks have a smooth
Suggestions on inspecting the production process:
1）Look carefully at the weldings and polish of the vessels, which is an indicator as
to the quality of the equipment being provided.
2）Clarify the design of each vessel and their production process, like the cooling
jacket design and installation as well as the welding process that is being
3）See the interior polishing, including tanks, piping line etc.
4）Clarify which components are fully welded and which are not.
Even before production, you should provide the manufacturer with a rough idea in
regards to your brewing process, like beer Gravity/Plato, amount of malt to be used,
For example: If we use 300-400kg malt for 1000L wort batch, but the gross volume
of the mash tun is just 1300L, we would be unable to obtain our targeted 1000L wort
Additional Points of Consideration
1) Making the control level clear, is it PID control (with simple digital meter) Or PLC
control, or manual controlled?
2) What kind of brand? Siemens touch screen or not? CE certified or not? Or any
other special required standard?
3) What kind of software? If that is Siemens S7, series 200 or 1200 or 300? Or you
need to tell what is more suitable or reliable to use in your place? Currently, S7-200
series PLC is mainly for China.
After Sales Service Suggestions:
1) What they will do on the installation on site?
2) Warranty policy and duration
Additionally, you must make sure, if the sales man you are contacting with is
professional enough, he/she should have a clear understanding of the brewing
process, or at least have a high level of familiarity with brewery equipment. In other
words, if the salesman cannot understand what your requirements are, how will
they be able to provide you with a functional brewing system that meets your