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Thread: Anyone have experience with Chinese bottling lines?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2016
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    Medellín, Colombia
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    Anyone have experience with Chinese bottling lines?

    Hey guys, I'm thinking about ordering some additional fermenters from Gavin (shoutout to Sungood) because the quality is just so much higher than anything I can get here in Colombia.

    If I'm going to pay for a container from China, I'd like to take advantage of the opportunity and upgrade our bottling situation (very manual).

    Obviously a Meheen would be the standard choice, but has anyone had any experience with a bottling line from China? Or at least heard promising TPO levels from any manufacturers out there?

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
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    Palau
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    1,917

    Be very, very careful...

    I have not heard one promising report of Chinese bottling line manufacturers. I've used quite a few from other countries and even good ones have their bad days. But for sure stay away from Gongda, or whatever they've morphed into these days. There's no such thing as a good day with that equipment.
    Phillip Kelm--Palau Brewing Company Manager--

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    Chesterfield, UK
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    1,691
    Unless you can see the Chinese kit in operation before buying, I would steer well clear - apart possibly from one produced by Lehui.

    Admittedly I have only seen a couple of bottling and couple of keg cleaning / filling lines, but they were awful - to the point where they actually were completely unusable and needed redesigning and rebuilding (or scrapping - which is what happened).

    The reason I reckon Lehui might be OK is that they have been beaten around the head by the big guys for a lot of their kit installed in China and SE Asia, so the quality of the brewkit I have seen is good - but I have not seen their bottling / canning lines. However, the cost of a Lehui tank in the UK is about the same as some of the better quality ones manufactured in the UK, so you might not be saving much.

    I have seen a couple of Italian ones as well - but the guys who have them have reported all sorts of niggling problems - not sure who the original supplier is as they have been branded by the local (UK) importer.

    Let us all know what you decide, and if eventually Chinese, how you get on with it.

    Cheers
    dick

  4. #4
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    Jan 2016
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    Quote Originally Posted by gitchegumee View Post
    I have not heard one promising report of Chinese bottling line manufacturers. I've used quite a few from other countries and even good ones have their bad days. But for sure stay away from Gongda, or whatever they've morphed into these days. There's no such thing as a good day with that equipment.
    Thanks Phil

    Quote Originally Posted by dick murton View Post
    Unless you can see the Chinese kit in operation before buying, I would steer well clear - apart possibly from one produced by Lehui.

    Admittedly I have only seen a couple of bottling and couple of keg cleaning / filling lines, but they were awful - to the point where they actually were completely unusable and needed redesigning and rebuilding (or scrapping - which is what happened).

    The reason I reckon Lehui might be OK is that they have been beaten around the head by the big guys for a lot of their kit installed in China and SE Asia, so the quality of the brewkit I have seen is good - but I have not seen their bottling / canning lines. However, the cost of a Lehui tank in the UK is about the same as some of the better quality ones manufactured in the UK, so you might not be saving much.

    I have seen a couple of Italian ones as well - but the guys who have them have reported all sorts of niggling problems - not sure who the original supplier is as they have been branded by the local (UK) importer.

    Let us all know what you decide, and if eventually Chinese, how you get on with it.

    Cheers

    Thanks Dick, probably won't buy anything from China after what I'm hearing from other people, but if something changes I'll post an update

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    Enterprise, Oregon
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    1,700
    You probably will never own a piece of kit as complicated or finicky as a bottling line.

    Will a Chinese manufacturer send a field tech out to help set-up and fine-tune the machine? Will you get a manual that's clear, concise, and easy to understand? How about parts? Change-outs for different bottle sizes?

    I realize that support and parts will be a problem in Columbia, but I'd look at something that many other breweries are using and have been using for a while. I'd look at a re-conditioned used machine long before trusting anything from China.
    Timm Turrentine

    Brewerywright,
    Terminal Gravity Brewing,
    Enterprise. Oregon.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2016
    Location
    Medellín, Colombia
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    Quote Originally Posted by TGTimm View Post
    You probably will never own a piece of kit as complicated or finicky as a bottling line.

    Will a Chinese manufacturer send a field tech out to help set-up and fine-tune the machine? Will you get a manual that's clear, concise, and easy to understand? How about parts? Change-outs for different bottle sizes?

    I realize that support and parts will be a problem in Columbia, but I'd look at something that many other breweries are using and have been using for a while. I'd look at a re-conditioned used machine long before trusting anything from China.
    Timm, your point is well taken. I definitely want to be sure that I can actually maintain the machine we buy.

    The difficulty is that it's illegal to import used equipment into Colombia. I have to buy something new. Used Meheens aren't exactly common here, but that's what the biggest brewery in my city uses. So at least I know they can keep theirs running. Looks like the best option is to save money until I can afford a Meheen and just throw manual labor at my bottling process in the meantime.

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