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Thread: Calling all GAI Filler/Capper users

  1. #61
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    Enterprise, Oregon
    Posts
    1,955
    Kyle:

    The starwheel: this usually takes at least two full turns to reset. Don't know why. If you can't easily turn the wheel by hand, be sure nothing is physically interfering with it. I've had broken glass, crowns, etc. clog things up, and it is possible to lower the filler head to where it interferes with the wheel.

    As for the cam post... I have no idea what or where this is. Perhaps you're using a different model/version from ours. Very confusing photo.
    Timm Turrentine

    Brewerywright,
    Terminal Gravity Brewing,
    Enterprise. Oregon.

  2. #62
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    San diego
    Posts
    6

    Issues with Filler Exit star and side column that holds pedestal cam

    Hey Tim,

    We've actually completely disassembled the exit star shaft and reassembled to no avail. Every time we start it, the wheel spins for a second, then the ball bearings start to dislodge and it stops spinning. Our second problem is that the pedestals are hitting the cam around the filler exit. We were able to remove the 1/2 screw on floor of bottler but unable to remove the screw from the column. George from Prospero is coming out today as we are 2 days down and no luck. Name:  Pedestal cam column 1.JPG
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  3. #63
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    Enterprise, Oregon
    Posts
    1,955
    What model of GAI is that? It looks very different from our 3003Bier, or maybe I'm just confused about what I'm seeing.

    Anyway, best of luck, and please let us know how it works out!
    Timm Turrentine

    Brewerywright,
    Terminal Gravity Brewing,
    Enterprise. Oregon.

  4. #64
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Location
    Portland, OR
    Posts
    17
    Quote Originally Posted by TGTimm View Post
    I just did the annual conveyor-belt tear-out and clean, which, if you've done it, you'll agree is a RPITA (if you haven't done it, do it now!). The closed bottom of the conveyor track is a truly bad idea. There are organisms growing in there that are not known to science, not to mention bottle caps and broken glass chewing the crap out of your nice linkbelt.

    Several times (while removing/replacing the belt), we've managed to get the belt jammed under the driven pulley, requiring re-wiring the gear motor so we could reverse it and get the belt un-jammed, then re-wiring it to go forward again--until the next jam. Broken glass and crowns love to lodge in this area, and the undescribed orgs lay their eggs and nurture their young in the gooey environment.

    I finally got out the 4-inch angle grinder and a cut-off wheel and simply cut the bottom out of the conveyor channel under the driven pulley. Q&D (very D), and replacing the belt couldn't have been much easier (never easy). No more junk lodged under there, either.

    The only problem with this mod is that a piece of UHMW plastic, meant to protect the belt, is anchored in this area. I left a flap of metal attached to the end of the plastic strip and wedged it against the up-flow end of my new cut-out. No problem.

    Here's a pic: http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2816/1...6ee01a15_o.jpg

    The flap of metal and plastic are at the left of the new opening.

    I just wish I could replace the whole danged channel with an open-bottom one!
    I am dreading this task... When I close the line down at the end of our bottling day I do a cold/hot water rinse on the whole thing. As per Andy's suggestion, I was using some Dawn Dish detergent to scrub the outside surfaces of our Monoblock. Our lord and master told us to run a Caustic through our line at some point too, so that happens every now and again. Finally, I spot-sanitize various parts of the monoblock using Alcohol, for where no other chemicals will reach (I'm surprised how much crap is built up in our corker vacuum lines!).

    A little of the following ends up in our main conveyor:

    Sour Beer (Rich with all kinds of yummy cultures, loaded with sugar for bottle conditioning)
    Cork Dust
    Glass
    Water
    Dish Detergent
    Caustic
    Alcohol

    I assume that we'll have a fierce mess on our hands when we clean our conveyor belt out...

    Does anyone have any tips they've learned about keeping the conveyor clean though? Any cleaning process they make sure to do at the end of every bottling session to keep the inevitable bio-hazard under some amount of control?

    -Richard

  5. #65
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Location
    Portland, OR
    Posts
    17
    Quote Originally Posted by Kyle View Post
    Hey Tim,

    We've actually completely disassembled the exit star shaft and reassembled to no avail. Every time we start it, the wheel spins for a second, then the ball bearings start to dislodge and it stops spinning. Our second problem is that the pedestals are hitting the cam around the filler exit. We were able to remove the 1/2 screw on floor of bottler but unable to remove the screw from the column. George from Prospero is coming out today as we are 2 days down and no luck.
    Kyle,

    That's rough stuff man. I hope George was able to help you solve the problems. Your machine looks like it's put together quite differently from mine too (though I appreciate the pictures; I had no idea where the "bike chain" was that Timm mentioned in an earlier post...apparently my machine doesn't have one).

    Grinding pedestals, broken bearings, improper spring tension...sounds to me like someone jammed and/or broke a bottle as it was exiting the filler. Every time glass smashes in one of these things, I encounter problems. It's only happened to us twice so far. The first time, our leveler crushed a bottle that was placed in the machine out of time. We had to bend our leveler's probe tube back to being straight before we could continue. The second time, our cager smashed a bottle because our star wheel was so far out of alignment (arrived that way...which I'm still a little miffed about). Had to re-align the star wheel and clean all the beer out of our cager using no water...

    Anyway, let us know how the fix goes!

  6. #66
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    Enterprise, Oregon
    Posts
    1,955
    Richard--

    Much of this machine seems to be designed to frustrate even the most careful cleaning. I've removed almost all of the "guards", the various SS enclosures around the monobloc and crowner drive cam. This makes it possible to get those areas much cleaner, and doesn't seem to increase exposure to injury as all the doors must be closed for the machine to run. In fact, cleaning the cam groove on the crowner (which collects broken glass mixed with grease) is very dangerous--you could easily lose a finger--with the guard installed.

    We run a caustic cleaning cycle through the bottler after every run. So far, we've had no problems due to this, and our bottles keep as well as the kegged beer.

    As for the main conveyor... the only way I've figured out to clean the danged thing is to remove the belt every now and again. RPITA. Cutting the bottom out of the drive end keeps the various and wonderful things you've described from accumulating there, but stuff still builds up under the return portion of the belt.

    Good luck, and I hope Kyle got his problem fixed--
    Timm Turrentine

    Brewerywright,
    Terminal Gravity Brewing,
    Enterprise. Oregon.

  7. #67
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    United States
    Posts
    21
    I've been meaning to post these pictures for a while and I figured today would be as good as any.

    We were doing a run a few months back of around 600 cases and just before the end something strange happened. The capper assembly completely stopped rotating. I switched the machine over to manual and still only the rinser and filler would rotate. All the gears under the machine were still turning, but the shaft wasn't rotating and moving the capper up and down. So I jumped on the phone with Prospero and they were stumped as well. The only thing left to do now was tear it apart.

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    Once I got the metal cam off, which is ridiculously heavy and requires two people to lift, I started taking the base plate off along with the center shaft when I finally saw what was wrong...

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    Somehow the force of bottles breaking occasionally and jamming up the capper had completely sheared off ALL EIGHT bolts from the gear that bolts to the shaft! We took the shaft to a local machine shop and used their lathe to get the broken bolts out, which I promptly replaced with aircraft grade steel bolts. Going into it I thought it would be a nightmare to take apart. Thankfully it wasn't too bad in the end. Total time to tear down and rebuild was around 4-5 hours. Hopefully this doesn't happen to any of you guys, but if it does that'll probably be your problem.

    Cheers,
    Nate
    Nate Jackson
    Packaging Manager
    Marble Brewery
    Albuquerque, NM

  8. #68
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    Enterprise, Oregon
    Posts
    1,955
    Nate--

    I mentioned this when we spoke on the phone a while back, but I'll reiterate: breaking glass in the crowner is more often a symptom than the problem. Make sure all the moving parts inside the crowner assy. itself (the big SS cylinder that moves up and down) are freely moving. In our case, the the lower portion of this assy. (pg. 76, f. 6, parts D,H,I & G) had frozen in place, which prevented the compensating spring and parts from compensating for the variation in bottle heights. This caused a failure cascade that broke numerous parts, fotunately, not including the bolts that broke on yours--I hope. I think I'll take a look at this area right now.

    I wrote up an account of R&Ring this assy. here: http://discussions.probrewer.com/sho...photo-tutorial
    Timm Turrentine

    Brewerywright,
    Terminal Gravity Brewing,
    Enterprise. Oregon.

  9. #69
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    Enterprise, Oregon
    Posts
    1,955

    Semi-annual reminder!

    Yep, folks, it's that time again, if you haven't recently: http://discussions.probrewer.com/sho...122#post118122
    Timm Turrentine

    Brewerywright,
    Terminal Gravity Brewing,
    Enterprise. Oregon.

  10. #70
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    Enterprise, Oregon
    Posts
    1,955

    Another wear part...

    ...to keep an eye out for. There are apparently several versions of the GAI 3003 Bier, so your parts may vary. The symptoms are bottles falling over and breaking at the output starwheel of the rinser.

    This is the table that feeds the bottles in and out of the rinser:

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    You can see the wear at the output side of the table. Here's a close-up:

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    This shows the depth of the wear:

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    We're wearing this part out about every three years, bottling about 50 bbl/week. The part costs about $300, and comes from Italy.
    Timm Turrentine

    Brewerywright,
    Terminal Gravity Brewing,
    Enterprise. Oregon.

  11. #71
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    Enterprise, Oregon
    Posts
    1,955

    Help!

    I recently noticed that the cam that drives the opening, closing, and inversion of the rinser grippers (part #12112=41300, diag.12112-41200) is coming loose. It moves slightly each time a bottle approaches the off-load side of the rinser.

    Has anyone removed this part? The main plate that bears the bottle grippers (#11112-41220, same diag.) has dozens of bolts going through it, and obviously must be removed to get to the parts I need to tighten. Which need to come off? Please don't say all of them!

    BTW, we recently had the cam follower that drives the crowner seize up in it's helical slot in the drive cam. Very loud and scary, but fortunately didn't seem to cause any other damage. I cleaned the galling off the cam follower and its slot with flapwheels on a die-grinder, and spoke to Richard at Pros. NY, who mentioned that it's possible for the follower to be out of square with the cam--there's a tiny bit of play when installing the follower assembly--so was careful to get it square when I put it back in. However, it looked to me like the clearance between the follower and the cam was too tight, so the follower was contacting both the top and bottom of the helical slot at the same time, preventing the follower from rolling and causing galling, particularly in the steep portions of the slot. Since I sanded the galling off, it obviously increased this clearance, and the problem hasn't recurred. God and GAI willing, and I now keep that slot well greased after ever run.
    Timm Turrentine

    Brewerywright,
    Terminal Gravity Brewing,
    Enterprise. Oregon.

  12. #72
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    Enterprise, Oregon
    Posts
    1,955

    Has anyone tried...

    ...exorcism? I figure that since the machine is made in Italy, it's got to be Catholic. Would hanging a rosary on the machine help?

    Having foaming problems on one head (repeatedly) that I've completely re-built twice in the last three weeks (replaced all rubber and cleaned), and can find nothing wrong with. And the crowner...oh, oh, the crowner....
    Timm Turrentine

    Brewerywright,
    Terminal Gravity Brewing,
    Enterprise. Oregon.

  13. #73
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    San diego
    Posts
    6

    Rinser Will Not Raise or Lower

    Hi All,

    So the issue we were having with pedestals was two fold. The pedestal cam the pulls the rollers down for entrance/exit of the filler was sheared off leading to our pedestals being to high. Also the pins that hold our rollers were completely worn down which greatly increased the grinding when the rollers hit the pedestal cam. We replaced the column that holds the pedestal cam, replaced the pins that hold the rollers and replaced the rollers.

    All is working great on the filler, until last week when we tried to raise the rinser for washing, "BLOCKED". We have tried messing with the motor and manually turning it, which will let us raise it enough to bottle. But we'll be stuck when we want to convert to 750s. Has anyone had any experience with this kind of issue?

  14. #74
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    San diego
    Posts
    6
    Quote Originally Posted by TGTimm View Post
    ...exorcism? I figure that since the machine is made in Italy, it's got to be Catholic. Would hanging a rosary on the machine help?

    Having foaming problems on one head (repeatedly) that I've completely re-built twice in the last three weeks (replaced all rubber and cleaned), and can find nothing wrong with. And the crowner...oh, oh, the crowner....
    This has been happening to us after we just rebuilt all valves and also rebuilt the pressure inlet block on top of the filler. We keep messing with it and can get it running smoothly but are losing a few cases with gushers at the beginning of the run.

  15. #75
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Location
    Portland, OR
    Posts
    17

    Same issue: Brute Force Fix for now

    Quote Originally Posted by TGTimm View Post
    ...exorcism? I figure that since the machine is made in Italy, it's got to be Catholic. Would hanging a rosary on the machine help?

    Having foaming problems on one head (repeatedly) that I've completely re-built twice in the last three weeks (replaced all rubber and cleaned), and can find nothing wrong with. And the crowner...oh, oh, the crowner....

    I've also got a filler head (head #8) that keeps foaming right at the end of the fill, leaving not as much liquid in the bottle as I would want. I've adjusted the fill height on all the heads to make sure that head #8 fills high enough, then I let the leveler take them all down to where I want them...It's a cheap brute force fix but it works. The only issue is adjusting the fill height too much (and thus the distance the filler nozzle enters the bottle) can interfere with the fan flow of the beer...so if you start seeing partial bottles coming off the filler and not liquid fanning out, lower the fill height back down a bit (this has to do with bottle shape and size...)

    Here's something else to try:

    After we get up and running, I'll manually open each of the filler heads while they are between bottles. It opens the re-uptake valve and you can hear the vacuum in the filler bowl suck some air into the head. This will help to get any residual who-knows-what out of the line and equalize the pressure in the whole filler system. I've had filler height problems disappear after performing this exercise on all the heads (though head #8 is still having problems)

    And one more thing:

    You may want to adjust the opening of the filler valves themselves, especially if the viscosity of your beer has changed. On mine, I have bolts fitted with precise .5mm stainless washers that regulate how much the filler head valve can open. More washers means the valve opens less (filler head valve is stopped sooner).

    I'd play with how many washers you have all around to see if that makes a difference (I intend to when I have the time).

    I hope that helps a little. If you do find a solution, post it up! Good luck (Don't bother with exorcism or rosaries...it makes things worse. We need to feed the machine demons and keep them happy, not try to get rid of them)

    -Richard

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