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Thread: Steam Control to Brew Vessels

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2018
    Location
    Alberta, Canada
    Posts
    1

    Steam Control to Brew Vessels

    We are in the process of designing the steam supply to our HLT, mash/lauter vessel and brew kettle and never having brewed on a steam system we were hoping to find out how other breweries have set up (or wish they had set up) their steam control and valving to each vessel to make sure we do not over-design and complicate the system.

    We have a 9 BBL system with a side jacket HLT, side jacket mash/lauter and bottom/side jacket kettle. The brewhouse control panel has PID controllers for the kettle and HLT temperature with on/off switches. No controller or pre-installed temperature probe for the mash/lauter.

    Our plan for valving is as follows (I have left out steam traps, pressure gauges, vacuum breakers, air vents, etc.):

    HLT: From steam drop, isolation valve -> actuated ball valve connected to HLT controller -> manual globe valve -> side jacket.

    Mash/Lauter: From steam drop; isolation valve -> manual globe valve -> side jacket.

    Kettle: From steam drop; isolation valve -> actuated ball valve connected to kettle controller -> split to each jacket -> manual globe valve on each jacket leg.

    The controllers would open/close the automated ball valves as required to meet temperature set points and the manual globe valves would be used to fine tune steam supply to each jacket and accessed from the brew platform. Is on/off control with manual valve for adjustment the standard set up for this size of system? We had originally planned on modulating control valves instead of actuated ball valves and manual globe valves. We could then place the modulating valve in manual and set the valve opening % to maintain temperature or boil off rate but believe that it might be overkill for such a small system.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Palau
    Posts
    2,026

    Maybe not ball valves....

    Ball valves are awful for continuous control purposes, so don't do that. Fine for on-off, but not for feathering with a PID. Most folks on a system that small would stick with pilot-operated solenoids (not the best), or angle-pattern pneumatic piston valves (much better) with simple on-off control. Actuated ball valves will work OK for on-off as well, but I really like those piston valves. HLT will not need your globe valve to adjust any heat. Simple on-off at full blast. Assuming that you use kettle for boil only and not cooking: Kettle will need a bit of adjustment to get your evaporation rate right, but should not need continuous adjustment from the brew platform, let alone a controller. Should be set and forget. Actually, set and monitor would be the right way to go--you get the picture. You don't need a controller to tell a valve what % to open if you can do it by hand. And lauter tun with no temperature probe won't need any heat if you do simple infusion beers. Why would you have a jacket on MLT without the corresponding probe/controller? Must you have heat? If so, you also need a mixing method. And if you have that and must have heat, then get a nice valve as it is the most sensitive control point for steam. For use with PID, I suggest Spirax-Sarco PM61-3NC. Rugged, reliable, accurate. Also don't forget about other critical elements like a keep-warm trap, strainer, and vacuum breakers & air vents at top of jackets. Good luck!
    Phillip Kelm--Palau Brewing Company Manager--

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Moab, Utah
    Posts
    586

    Setup

    Quote Originally Posted by PassBeer View Post
    We are in the process of designing the steam supply to our HLT, mash/lauter vessel and brew kettle and never having brewed on a steam system we were hoping to find out how other breweries have set up (or wish they had set up) their steam control and valving to each vessel to make sure we do not over-design and complicate the system.

    We have a 9 BBL system with a side jacket HLT, side jacket mash/lauter and bottom/side jacket kettle. The brewhouse control panel has PID controllers for the kettle and HLT temperature with on/off switches. No controller or pre-installed temperature probe for the mash/lauter.

    Our plan for valving is as follows (I have left out steam traps, pressure gauges, vacuum breakers, air vents, etc.):

    HLT: From steam drop, isolation valve -> actuated ball valve connected to HLT controller -> manual globe valve -> side jacket.

    Mash/Lauter: From steam drop; isolation valve -> manual globe valve -> side jacket.

    Kettle: From steam drop; isolation valve -> actuated ball valve connected to kettle controller -> split to each jacket -> manual globe valve on each jacket leg.

    The controllers would open/close the automated ball valves as required to meet temperature set points and the manual globe valves would be used to fine tune steam supply to each jacket and accessed from the brew platform. Is on/off control with manual valve for adjustment the standard set up for this size of system? We had originally planned on modulating control valves instead of actuated ball valves and manual globe valves. We could then place the modulating valve in manual and set the valve opening % to maintain temperature or boil off rate but believe that it might be overkill for such a small system.
    Its beyond me why so many people at large think they need motorized ball valves for any brewery application. They are mosty, fully uncalled for.
    Spirax Sarco, Magnatrol and others make general purpose Steam Solenoid Valves that are rugged and very reliable. We have Magnatrol brand in this plant and they run long.You have to Spec the right valve for your application.
    Spirax has all kinds of " Correct Piping Procedures for Steam " available in books and on line. As Phillip has stated Globe valves are generally for control and they can also tend to be restrictive compared to the same size gate or full port ball valve. For redundancy on your servo, go with gate or ball valves. Also you need a Wye strainer fitted with blowdown before you servo and you need to install blowdowns on your Steam trap bottom ports. If your boiler is distance away, a Gauge on your main header is helpful. On Steam Boilers and systems you are better off with steel valves as to bronze, but bronze can do ok. You need the correct chemical treatment for your boiler and your water and a proper blowdown schedule that monitors Conductivity, TDS, PH, Condensate PH, Chemical Level, etc. You also need someone with an " Operators " eye on the boiler every shift if possible, and they specifically need to know " what not to do " with respect to Steam Boilers.
    Warren Turner
    Industrial Engineering Technician
    HVACR-Electrical Systems Specialist
    Moab Brewery
    " No Cell Phone Zone."

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2019
    Location
    Lewes, DE
    Posts
    4

    Steam Control

    Quote Originally Posted by PassBeer View Post
    We are in the process of designing the steam supply to our HLT, mash/lauter vessel and brew kettle and never having brewed on a steam system we were hoping to find out how other breweries have set up (or wish they had set up) their steam control and valving to each vessel to make sure we do not over-design and complicate the system.

    We have a 9 BBL system with a side jacket HLT, side jacket mash/lauter and bottom/side jacket kettle. The brewhouse control panel has PID controllers for the kettle and HLT temperature with on/off switches. No controller or pre-installed temperature probe for the mash/lauter.

    Our plan for valving is as follows (I have left out steam traps, pressure gauges, vacuum breakers, air vents, etc.):

    HLT: From steam drop, isolation valve -> actuated ball valve connected to HLT controller -> manual globe valve -> side jacket.

    Mash/Lauter: From steam drop; isolation valve -> manual globe valve -> side jacket.

    Kettle: From steam drop; isolation valve -> actuated ball valve connected to kettle controller -> split to each jacket -> manual globe valve on each jacket leg.

    The controllers would open/close the automated ball valves as required to meet temperature set points and the manual globe valves would be used to fine tune steam supply to each jacket and accessed from the brew platform. Is on/off control with manual valve for adjustment the standard set up for this size of system? We had originally planned on modulating control valves instead of actuated ball valves and manual globe valves. We could then place the modulating valve in manual and set the valve opening % to maintain temperature or boil off rate but believe that it might be overkill for such a small system.

    Any steam system should have double block & bleed arrangements between the steam header & point of use. THis would be two full size gate valves in series with a TEE in between; this TEE branch would have another gate valve which could be small say 1/2" or 3/4". This way you can safely isolate each branch for service without shutting down the boiler.

    For steam, OS&Y gate valves are THE way to go. Most Ball valves can't take the heat due to the types of seals commonly used & ball valves that can take the heat are very costly. Also OS&Y gate valves can be serviced in-line, most ball valves are throw-away.

    For on-off control (like a/c or a furnace) you can use angle seat valves, they are relatively cheap and rugged (Burkert). For analog (PID) control use pneumatic operated globe valves, there are endless brands out there that are very good; Someone who knows how to calculate steam flow rates needs to size the globe valves as they come in both a body size (say 1" or 1-1/2") and also a Cv size (Valve coefficient) Over sizing steam control valves is a common problem that leads to problems with the boiler (priming/carry-over) and poor control. Also, I recommend EQUAL PERCENTAGE VALVE TRIM. Linear valve trim will work, equal percentage will work better in most steam applications.

    Seriously consider fully welded piping, butt-weld & flanges are best, socket weld is a decent compromise, threaded should be avoided were possible.

    On your jackets as you mentioned you will need air vents & vacuum breakers. Armstrong makes a TAVB-2 combo unit that is decent. The problem with these are they are expensive and don't last because they are intricate mechanical devices, you might want to consider a check valve for the vacuum breaker and a hand operated valve for the air vent, this could be a ball valve because it should be installed a distance away from the jacket and wont see extreme heat. Alternately the vent valve could be an angle seat automated by your control system but having the brewer interact with the steam system every heat up is not a bad thing.

    You might want to consider an automated globe valve on the mash tun.

    You should consider separate control valves for each jacket on the kettle (as if it were a separate machine), Teeing a circuit downstream of the control valve will leave you with no control on one of the jackets, most likely the lower jacket. In this scenario the upper jacket will tend to get air blanketed and the lower waterlogged. Of course separate steam traps are a must. I have seen this exact thing happen on a "German Engineered" very expensive 200 barrel system.

    As for control types, on-off should suffice for the HLT. I'd recommend modulating PID control for the mash. State of the art for kettle control includes a flow meter so you can control on energy input which is directly proportional to evaporation rate of the boil.

    Steam traps on your jackets should be F&T type. Use bucket traps on the steam distribution system.

    Sorry I'm late jumping on this thread but maybe These insights can help someone else out there.

    Cheers!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Palau
    Posts
    2,026

    Very good points....

    Excellent points by Brewstiller. Also don't forget to include a full set of PMs for all steam components. No matter how well-designed and how great the equipment, you will always need maintenance. Especially strainers and traps. And if you do go with an angle-pattern pneumatic piston valve, then get a quality pilot solenoid valve. If/when you troubleshoot steam issues this will help immensely. You want one that has a mechanical bypass to open the valve, and an LED that shows power to the coil. Good luck!
    Phillip Kelm--Palau Brewing Company Manager--

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