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Thread: Meheen users unite!

  1. #16
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    Nashville
    Posts
    863
    More Meheen user questions...

    I'd be interested in hearing what you guys do for your sanitation and cleaning of the machine. Here's what we have come up with, but I'm not entirely satisfied with it:

    Sanitize: Turn off the air pressure to the machine. Hook up the beer hose to our Mini-King keg washer, and use its sanitizer pump and reservoir to pump chlorine dioxide through the bottler with the fill tubes down in bottles so that the sanitizer has to flow out the off-gas tubing. Do that for about five minutes and then let it sit while we get ready to bottle.

    Cleaning: Turn off air pressure to the machine. Run hot water through the bottler in the same way as sanitizing. Then take the acid wash that we used to clean the brite tank we just emptied, and pump it through the bottler in the same way. Finish with a water rinse and let the machine air dry with the tubes up.

    What are your procedures? I don't use the Meheen sani and clean cycles because we blew out the tygon tubing from all the pressure our pumps put out, and we don't have a good way to regulate it.
    Linus Hall
    Yazoo Brewing
    Nashville, TN
    [url]www.yazoobrew.com[/url]

  2. #17
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
    Posts
    33

    SS filler tubes

    Quote Originally Posted by lhall
    The stainless tubing from McMaster Carr is working great. I found that if I honed out the ends of the tubing to make a more even transition for the beer, it helped with foaming in the bottles.
    How did you get the stainless steel filler tubes to work in your machine? On ours plastic fill tubes run inside ss off-gas tubes on the filler head. The two outside off-gas tubes are used to check for fill height by way of comparing resistance against the value set on the fill knob. I've always assumed that using stainless tubes would cause the filler to "see" full bottles all the time. Am I missing something? I hope this make sense!

    Cheers!
    --Neil

  3. #18
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    Nashville
    Posts
    863
    Neil,

    We didn't see any changes in the operation of the machine when we switched to the stainless tubes. The capacitive sensor on our machine, a 1995 vintage, measures the capacitance of the off-gas chamber. It takes a reading before the bottles are filled, and then when beer gets up into the chamber and the capacitance changes, it shuts the fill valve. I don't think the construction of the tubes makes any difference with this machine. I'm not familiar with newer models, maybe it does.
    Linus Hall
    Yazoo Brewing
    Nashville, TN
    [url]www.yazoobrew.com[/url]

  4. #19
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
    Posts
    33

    SS fill tubes

    Thanks for the reply Linus. It appears that our machine senses for fill level differently than yours. Ours simply measures conductivity between the two outside fill heads.

    By the way, this is a great thread. I especially like the idea of a "pimp-my-meheen" forum. They are good machines and because they are relatively simple they are easy to modify. So, with that in mind has anyone set up the infeed of their Meheen for automatic bottle feed from, say, a twist rinser?

    Cheers!
    --Neil
    Alley Kat Brewing Company

  5. #20
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    Nashville
    Posts
    863

    more updates

    Well, we finally hit the mythical 50 cases an hour rate yesterday. It took a few changes though:

    1. I found an engineering firm here in town that was willing to barter for beer, and had one of them take a look at the Meheen computer program. I had noticed several places in the cycle where I thought we could speed it up. He found that there was a three second program delay between when the bottle push plate began moving forward and when the capper head began to come down. Our bottles are under the capper head after a maximum of a second, so this was wasted time, plus we had to be much more careful with our fobbing while the capper head was waiting to come down. The engineer was able to take this delay timer down to 2.0 seconds, which over a day's run really adds up. BUT before you do this, you must also reduce the delay timer on the cap push plates by the same amount - the cap feed plates are extended when the bottle push plate starts to move, and if you reduce the capper head delay timer without also reducing this cap push plate delay, the capper head crunches all of your cap feed plates. Yep, found that out the hard way. Once the capper head is coming down sooner, you can also reduce the delay for the filler head coming down by the same amount. Now we have reduced the cycle time by 1 second in the program, and we can also fill the bottles faster since the capper head is coming down before the bottles have a chance to foam over much.

    Changing the program sounds drastic, but it really is a simple PLC to link to and change. Just make sure the engineer copies the original program so you can go back to it.

    2. We were having problems with varying fill levels, and I found that there is a tiny stainless spring inside the fill head on each side, that contacts the two outside fill tubes. These springs had been broken off on our machine, probably whenever we had a bottle feed mishap and jammed the fill tubes up. I replaced these springs before the last bottling run, and our fill heights were much more consistent. It still didn't matter that the fill tubes are stainless instead of plastic (see previous posts).

    Now, if I can just figure out a way to prevent cap jams and upside-down caps, it will be just about perfect.
    Linus Hall
    Yazoo Brewing
    Nashville, TN
    [url]www.yazoobrew.com[/url]

  6. #21
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
    Posts
    33

    cap jams and upside-down caps

    Quote Originally Posted by lhall
    Well, we finally hit the mythical 50 cases an hour rate yesterday.

    Now, if I can just figure out a way to prevent cap jams and upside-down caps, it will be just about perfect.
    Congratulations on the 50 cases per hour rate! Now if the machine would only reliably produce that amount in an hour. On a really good day our bottling line runs at about 85% efficiency. A more typical day is about 75% efficiency with the majority of the down time being from the capper. I have been thinking of rebuilding the hdpe part of the capping head (the cap receiver?) to make it a bit wider so as to eliminate the 1/4" space between the cap feeder and the receiver. I am also thinking of making the cap receiver a bit deeper. It seems that our caps jam and get flipped upside down when they occasionally hit the little lip between the cap feeder and the cap receiver. Has anyone tried modifying the hdpe cap receiver on the fill head?

    Cheers!
    --Neil Herbst
    Alley Kat Brewery

  7. #22
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    Nashville
    Posts
    863
    the guys at Avery told me that there is a way to retrofit the capper head with a newer Meheen models capper head, so that the cap is pulled in by magnets and the pusher plates are not needed. I'm going to look into that next - they did say it was expensive, but worth it.
    Linus Hall
    Yazoo Brewing
    Nashville, TN
    [url]www.yazoobrew.com[/url]

  8. #23
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    United States
    Posts
    30

    the magnets work

    Linus

    brad here at Real Ale, we upgraded our unit about three to four years ago and it works great. I assume that your unit has cap pusher cylinders that at least for us never worked properly. One always pushed faster than the rest and then the problems of the cap pusher plates getting pinched by the crowner when things went awry. If i remember if was only about 600.00 dollars to upgrade the system. We had to send our crown sorter back to meheen to do the upgrade, i'm not sure if that is still the case but you should plan for the machine to be down about a week while it is in shipping and at dave's shop

    best of luck with the meheen machine

    brad farbstein
    real ale brewing co

    p.s. my guys have just formed a band called "Rage Against the Meheen"

    i will post some of their music when it is available

  9. #24
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    Hastings, MI, USA
    Posts
    260
    "Rage Against The Maheen" just made me blow beer out of my nose!
    "By man's sweat and God's love, beer came into the world" -- St. Arnold of Metz

  10. #25
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    Nashville
    Posts
    863
    Sounds like a collaboration on a music video is called for... there are lots of musicians and production people here in Nashville that will work for beer... just think, on a big screen at the GABF this year, "Rage Against the Meheen"
    Linus Hall
    Yazoo Brewing
    Nashville, TN
    [url]www.yazoobrew.com[/url]

  11. #26
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Louisville, KY
    Posts
    957

    Indexing issue...

    So we have been running our Maheen for a little over a year. It is a 6 head 05' Maheen. In the last week we have really begun to have an indexing problem. After watching it I have isolated the issue to the area where the bottles come off the ramp and fall into place for the ram to push. I have been looking at the side rails that hold the bottles on the table and the spacing. My thinking is that the vibration of the maheen has loosened the bolts that hold them in place, and there is now too much space for six bottles. But after reading hear I think I am also going to give the ram and ramp a real good cleaning and lubing. Anyone have any other ideas on what to look for on indexing issues?

    Thanks
    Last edited by BrewinLou; 05-17-2006 at 03:18 PM.
    Joel Halbleib
    Partner / Zymurgist
    Hive and Barrel Meadery
    6302 Old La Grange Rd
    Crestwood, KY
    www.hiveandbarrel.com

  12. #27
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    Nashville
    Posts
    863
    Hi Joel,

    We just give the ramp a good cleaning with PBW or caustic, let it air dry, and then spray it down with food grade silicone spray, which we get from Grainger down the street.

    Also, the flow controls for the ram may have loosened up, make sure that the locking nut hasn't backed off.

    We have a 4-head 1995 version, if you get fed up with your new 6-head we can trade? What do you say? I'll even throw in a couple cases of low fills to sweeten the deal.

    Cheers,

    Linus Hall
    Yazoo Brewing
    Linus Hall
    Yazoo Brewing
    Nashville, TN
    [url]www.yazoobrew.com[/url]

  13. #28
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Louisville, KY
    Posts
    957

    Indexing return of the bottle crusher.

    So, today I removed the ramp. Cleaned all the scuz off it, the ram and any other part down there that was filthy. Caustified and sanitized the entire area. The ram was pretty dirty, lubed up the under the ram and the alignment rods. Reset the whole Maheen in relation to the conveyor on the other end that was slightly out of alignment. Realigned the ram (it was slightly out of wack). Reattached the ramp teflon rubbed the entire ramp and ram. Ran a couple sanitizer dry runs to make sure everything was set true. Hooked it up and ran 3 rows of bottles and then WHACK!!! You know the sound. The bottles that are being filled are fine it is the next row to be filled, they pop out of index. I am very happy with where the ram leaves the bottles which leaves me with very few variables. The ramp itself, the ramp distance from the fill head, the rails that hold the bottles on the ramp. Of these I think the ramp distance is the most suspect. But I tried adjusting it. If it is too close it pushes the bottles under the fill head too far and you get the bottle crusher. I marked with a permanent marker where the ramp was before I removed it. That actually was a quarter of an inch off from being square with the ram. The ramp itself is a little concave on the leading edge but I just can't see that being a problem.

    Thanks for the offer Linus but I think we have enough short fills around for a while.
    Last edited by BrewinLou; 05-17-2006 at 03:52 PM.
    Joel Halbleib
    Partner / Zymurgist
    Hive and Barrel Meadery
    6302 Old La Grange Rd
    Crestwood, KY
    www.hiveandbarrel.com

  14. #29
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Louisville, KY
    Posts
    957

    Thanks Guys.

    Thanks for all your help guys. I got my Meheen back to it's happy 67 cases per hour. Looks like it was a combination of lakadaisical maintenance and some loose adjustment screws on the ram piston. I was so happy that I was not crushing bottles I had to play Welcome to the Meheen. My favorite Pink Floyd song.
    Joel Halbleib
    Partner / Zymurgist
    Hive and Barrel Meadery
    6302 Old La Grange Rd
    Crestwood, KY
    www.hiveandbarrel.com

  15. #30
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Tulalip, WA, USA
    Posts
    39

    Cool Pink Floyd...

    "Welcome to the Meheen" is your favorite??
    What about "Wish you were Beer"?
    It is on the same record, y'know...

    ;-)

    Steffan
    Aldergrove Brewery

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