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Experience with Manufacturer

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  • Experience with Manufacturer

    I've been in conversation with Chinese manufacturer rep, Gavin Zhang with SGM Machinery / Sungood Machinery about some FV, BBT, BK and MLT.

    Since we have been in contact, he has been excellent about returning emails, answering questions (lots of them), and has even taken the time to Skype me with some questions. However, there are a few red flags that have come up which are making me concerned, that he doesn't seem to explain, only 'yes' or 'no'.

    First red flag was the pictures he has sent so far are only drawings of the equipment (which is great), but he doesn't seem to want to send pictures of the BBT, BK, and MLT.

    Initially he stated the MLT didn't have rakes. Now the drawings do have rakes. However, this comes with no control panel to dictate any movement, speed or direction of the motors. Just 'yes' that is has rakes and a motor.

    The BK has a mixer with a paddle at the bottom. !!!??? I explained that we wanted a whirlpool....not a...mixer! I asked several times why they have a mixer on a boil kettle, but again, my only answer was, 'yes' it has a motor with a mixer. We all know why we whirlpool... Why would anyone have a mixer with a paddle at the bottom for this??? Oh, and 'yes' it has a it doesn't have any controller.

    I am posting here to see if anyone has had feedback working with Gavin. I'm not bad mouthing him, because he's been great so far. Some things just aren't adding up here and would appreciate any help you people may have as far as suggestions and advice.

    Did any of you have advice or ideas on what we'll be looking at as far as customs, taxes or brokers?

    We're looking to pull the trigger soon and need to make sure we're safe doing so with Gavin.
    Last edited by BrewDrum; 02-07-2014, 03:42 PM. Reason: misspelling

  • #2
    No experience with this vendor (we are not yet at the secure equipement phase).

    BUT...I do have previous international manufacturing/purchasing experience and recommend the following:
    1) Written contract spelling out everything (and I do mean "down to the last weld" everything). It won't totally cover you if you have issues, but helps
    2) Once the terms are agreed, visit the factory before executing the final agreement - this will be money well spent
    3) Use an escrow service. Partial, initial payments are common, but do not release the balance until your contract terms in #1 above are met.
    4) Visit the factory before equipment ships - lot less costly to have a defect repaired before it is shipped.
    and finally, work with a good customs expeditor!

    Depending on what you are buying and the cost savings, it sometimes works out to be a wash with buying local when you factor in the costs of the extra, but necessary, steps above (short cuts = headaches).

    Looking forward to hearing about your experience - regardless of what you decide.


    • #3
      Ken -

      Thank you for your advice and experience; definitely something we need to look deeper at. When i asked what kind of 'warranty' this comes with, I got, "We stand behind our work, don't worry."

      ......well, that makes me worry. And the motor and paddle on the boil kettle kind of threw it overboard for me. That makes absolutely no sense to me, unless I was making a dairy product. I was emphatic about it needing to be a whirlpool, not a stirring tank.

      Why would he sell a motor with rakes, and offer absolutely no controllers for this thing? I guess we could make one, but that's not the point. Frank Ma over at PBST has been very specific with his quotes, and includes controllers as well, but this is "factory direct".

      I'm just getting concerned. Thanks for your help, Ken. If anyone else has experience or suggestions as well, I'd love to hear it.


      • #4
        I've found that simply making changes to the drawings with a good pen is a great way of communicating. Cross out the agitator on the kettle, and draw in your tangential outlets.

        Picture is know the rest.


        • #5
          Natrat -

          Now, that would just make too much sense now, wouldn't it.. (edit: there was supposed to be a smiley there, but it's not appearing)
          Last edited by BrewDrum; 02-07-2014, 11:10 AM.


          • #6
            ...or does anyone have any experience in using their equipment? I guess the old saying is also, 'If it sounds too good to be true..."


            • #7
              Keep in mind that a lot of these Chinese manufacturers are not turn-key brewery manufacturers; they specialize in stainless tanks for various industries and have begun making brewery equipment only recently. It's possible that some sellers know nothing about the brewing process at all, but do know how to shape and weld steel. As some have recommended on this forum you can buy tanks overseas but buy moving parts/electronics made in the US/Europe.

              The fact that you're talking about lauter rakes and stir paddles implies that you're looking at tanks of a certain size. I have the impression that in the past Abany has specialized in "smaller" tanks so they may be in the process of extending their range to larger sizes. I would recommend that you have a solid drawing specifying as much as you can so there are no misunderstandings. You can have a contract, but I've heard that if it's in English it will have little weight in China legally speaking. Aside from going through a specialized attorney, the only leverage that we have is against their reputation.

              It does require a leap of faith to buy from these manufacturers. I decided to make the leap to get my brewery off the ground (I'm an American living in Europe) and buying European-made is out of the question, price-wise. I have one small tank made by Abany that I bought through a reseller, and have an order pending with Abany now; I plan on making a factory visit when it's complete. I can report back with my impressions once I see them, but that will be a couple months.
              Last edited by scotts; 02-08-2014, 08:22 AM.


              • #8
                I am waiting on my tanks to arrive from Gavin and his company right now. It is on a ship and should be here in two weeks.

                The process was pretty easy, I was a little bit leary on wiring over money and I actually tried to put a rush on the tanks and he wouldn't budge. Which is a good thing, considering they don't get their money until it is completed. The pictures of the system looks great and I talked to a few breweries on the phone that he gave me as a reference.

                We hired a custom broker DB Schenker USA to deal with things. I am honestly unsure of the whole process. I know there is a paperwork mix up at the moment, but Schenker is dealing with it. I will let you all know when we get it! We are getting a 4bbl mash, boil and two jacketed fermenters.


                • #9
                  Both of your input is golden, and I am.very interested in hearing your thoughts on quality. We're looking at 15bbl, two vessel brewhouse. I did call the client list but it seemed that nobody was over the 4bbl size.

                  Thanks for your response and wisdom. I'm definitely watching!

         I wonder if the rakes would support the weight of wet grains, or if it was made for softer products like dairy.



                  • #10
                    I just visited a brewery (who told me that he wishes to remain anonymous for the moment...he's on here, and he can reveal himself...I won't) who took delivery of their Abany system recently. I have been asked to help get it set up, but I don't have time at the moment...we got him someone though.

                    My impression was that the tanks were relatively good. Everything seemed polished, but all the gaskets and fittings were very dirty. I'm not going to say it looked GOOD, but it didn't look BAD. I think it will brew some good beer, eventually. Actually, the mash tun looked pretty ok, other than the grain out door, but I have a bee in my bonnet about those, so...

                    I don't have pix, sorry. And I won't recommend one, but I don't think it's a huge gamble to buy from Abany. There are other firms with better reputations that have equipment that is far inferior, IMHO.

                    Sorry for all the teasers...I wanted to let you know about the one I saw, but (dude, you know who you are) is a bit shy on this...

                    Hope that helps :-P


                    • #11
                      Thank you,Natrat

                      Thank you for your suggestions,
                      When our guys set up the fittings/valves on the tanks,due to their hands are not very clean,so lead to the gaskets are not clean as well.
                      BUT we have mentioned this issue,so we have decided to send the EXTRA clean gaskets to our Customers for free together with their goods.

                      Any bad or good experiences/suggestions will be very welcomed!It will help us to improve our quality,service.
                      Thank you,Guys

                      Please E-mail me at any time

                      We Specialize In Designing And Fabricating High Quality Tanks/Equipments For The Brewing Industry!


                      Great Quality,Affordable Prices,24hours After-sales Service!
                      The Brand You Know,The People You Trust,The Quality You love!


                      • #12
                        Fantastic feedback, and Gavin did let me know why the initial drawing had motor and paddle on boil kettle. Issue resolved.

                        Natrat, are you able to disclose what size the brew house was? I'd really like to hear from someone who has used something larger than 7bbl. PM me if you need to.

                        Thanks all!!


                        • #13
                          One more question..

                          I received another quote from another manufacturer that is using aluminum silicate for the hot side of mash tun, boil kettle, hlt and for combustion chamber.. I thought stainless was the way to go on this??


                          • #14
                            aluminum silicate is the type of insulation used for hot vessels. it is also called mineral wool
                            polyurethane foam should be used on cold vessles


                            • #15
                              got the tanks

                              We finally got our tanks. They look great! The welds are nice and there is no reason for us to believe there are any issues. It took about 45 days longer to get the tanks than we initially thought, so give your self some time. Gavin was great, and I have no issues recommending doing business with them. We plan on placing another order for larger tanks soon! Click image for larger version

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