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Thread: I built a completely automated keg washer for under 1K... any interest out there?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2015
    Location
    New Hampshire
    Posts
    9

    I built a completely automated keg washer for under 1K... any interest out there?

    While we are still firmly in "startup" mode, cash is tight & lean operation is the name of the game. Part of this was reducing the labor component of keg washing so our guys can focus on more important aspects of the operation.

    It took a little over two months, but we built a completely automated keg washer based off of a Raspberry Pi. Here are the basic components:

    - Raspberry pi board, Arduino board.
    - Two 1HP pumps, for cleaning and sanitizing.
    - Manifold built from stainless tee's and couplers
    - 8 automated stainless ball valves

    At time of writing, it has washed a little over 300 kegs and performs flawlessly. We're in a situation where we need to upgrade it's capacity, so I'll be running a test next week to see if it has enough power to wash two kegs at once. My hunch is, it does. It's working so well, in fact, that I am considering building another so we can wash 4 kegs at once. The cycle time is 8 minutes, so a keg every two minutes is some fantastic throughput for a small brewery with an investment of $2k.

    So this brings me to why I am writing - is there any interest out there for making these available for purchase? I am not looking to profit off of these, but we can have a circuit board printed if there is enough interest to spread the cost among a few people. It's more cost effective to built one more with another raspberry pi/arduino board, but if we were to run a larger batch, it would be significantly easier to outsource this to a real manufacturer.

    The end user would be responsible for assembly the manifold (pipe tape and ability to follow step by step instructions) as well as purchase their own pumps, etc. If there was incredible interest, I could look into purchasing components in bulk to save money.

    I could supply the source code to make adjustments to timing, etc, but would not be able to offer tech support. That being said, we would ship the boards with known working code. Here is the current keg washing procedure that has worked well for us.
    - Keg is hooked up, uses pressure in keg to blast out any beer.
    - Blasts n2 briefly to purge any remaining liquid.
    - Hot water rinse, 30 seconds. Blast our with n2.
    - Short hot water rinse, another blast.
    - 3 minute PBW cycle w/ 1HP pump, blast of n2 to purge all liquid.
    - Another double rinse cycle.
    - 30 second sanitize cycle w/ other 1HP pump
    - Blast of n2 to clear keg of sanitizer.

    Downfalls vs. a "real" automated keg washer
    - Very little input to change cycles on a keg-by-keg basis (although easy to change the system's source code)
    - Relies on a 3-bay sink OR stand with buckets of solution. Need access to a drain and water supply.

    Video is uploaded, click here.

    Any thoughts?
    Last edited by Nobl; 02-18-2017 at 12:12 PM. Reason: Videos up, page 3

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2016
    Location
    Frederick County, MD
    Posts
    6
    I'd be interested!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    Florida USA
    Posts
    1
    I would be interested also


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2014
    Location
    Norfolk, VA
    Posts
    63
    Thinking about doing something like this myself. Would love to see pictures and source code for the Raspberry Pi.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2015
    Location
    New Hampshire
    Posts
    9
    I've been getting some great feedback both here, private messages & emails, so we'll march forward with this. I'll get a video together tomorrow to show how the system works.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2017
    Location
    Concord, NC
    Posts
    2
    This sounds great! I'm interested as well.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2016
    Location
    Durham, NC, USA
    Posts
    12
    Count me as interested, also.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2015
    Location
    Maynard, MA, USA
    Posts
    6
    This sounds awesome. Please share the video when it is live


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2016
    Location
    Jameson, SK, Canada
    Posts
    164
    I'm interested.....

    I wish you woulda been around this time last year, before I built my manual one!!!

    -J.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2016
    Location
    Plymouth, New Hampshire
    Posts
    7

    Keg washer.

    Very interested!

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Berkeley, CA.
    Posts
    10
    Interested as well!

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Berkeley, CA.
    Posts
    10
    I'm interested but would using only one pump change the design of the board?

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jun 2016
    Location
    Valders, WI
    Posts
    2
    Interested enough to see a prototype and build sheet. Sounds like great work!

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    Sarver, PA
    Posts
    13
    I'm also very interested!

  15. #15
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Spokane, WA
    Posts
    22

    Awesome project

    Just a quick note: We built our own manual keg washer when we started and the pumps you link to are the ones we used. The heated caustic ate the plastic impeller within a month or two.

    It's great to see the Raspberry Pi being used in more brewery projects.

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