How This Innovative Centrifuge Technology Can Offer a Better Customer Experience

What is “hermetic” and how does it affect beer quality?

Manufacturers say their separator or centrifuge is “hermetic,” but not all centrifuges are created equal.

Product quality is important to all of us, so it’s important to know how different kinds of hermetic designs affect dissolved oxygen pickup, temperature pickup, and retention of volatile oils, aromatics and flavors.

Older top-fed, hydro-hermetic separators or centrifuges are still very popular in brewery applications, but their design dates to the mid-20th century and feature a water seal. To achieve lower dissolved oxygen pickup, this technology typically requires de-aerated water and/or carbon dioxide. Hydro-hermetic machines are not 100% hermetic because they allow oxygen into the bowl, normally during every discharge.

Alfa Laval’s innovative bottom-fed design doesn’t allow oxygen into the bowl — it’s fully-hermetic. Once filled with liquid, bottom-fed machines are fully-hermetic and don’t suffer from high dissolved-oxygen spikes during discharges like traditional top-fed, hydro hermetic technologies.

Besides no oxygen pickup, bottom-fed machines also offer many other important quality considerations that affect beer quality and the customer experience.

Better Retain Aromatics and Flavors

As brewers, you spend a lot of time, money and effort to impart delicate hop aromas and flavors into your beer — shouldn’t you do everything you can to preserve these sensitive compounds?

With a bottom-fed, fully-hermetic machine, there is no place for those aromatics to disappear to and are less affected by oxygen pickup, temperature pickup and sheer stress compared to older top-fed, hydro-hermetic machines.

Lower Temperature Pickup through Lower Friction

Older top-fed, hydro-hermetic machines feature internal fixed pairing discs that naturally generate friction as the beer is pushed out the centrifuge. This friction converts mechanical energy into thermal energy and results in increased temperature pickup to your beer.

High temperature pickup in top-fed, hydro-hermetic machines is especially evident in low flow rates or high-solid applications like dry-hopped or heavy-adjunct beers.

Bottom-fed, fully-hermetic machines feature an outlet on the top of the machine at the center of rotation. Exiting through the center of rotation and with an impeller that spins with the bowl reduces mechanical energy and therefore friction. Bottom-fed machines offer lower temperature pickup — across the entire flow range — to better preserve the quality of your beer.

Lower Power Consumption

Reducing friction also reduces power consumption, as it takes more energy to push the beer through a fixed pairing disc (kinetic energy that is transformed into thermal energy of friction).

Bottom-fed machines on average offer 30% less power consumption that traditional top-fed machines (of similar size) by exiting through a spinning impeller at the center of rotation.

Power consumption savings could be reduced by as much as 70% in a bottom-fed, fully-hermetic design, when combined with Alfa Laval’s latest centrifuge innovation — eMotion™.

Better Customer Experience with your Brand

All these small but incremental quality improvements — lower oxygen pickup, lower temperature pickup, better retention of volatile oils, aromatics and flavors — help improve your product quality and ensure a better customer experience.

You work hard to ensure your customers have a consistently good, quality experience with your brand in an increasingly competitive marketplace — often struggling with factors outside of your control once it leaves your hands — but you can offer higher quality product and a better customer experience with the latest innovations in centrifuge technology.

Why settle for less than the best? Read more here.

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