Matthias Schneider (1), Johannes Tippmann (2); (1) Lechler GmbH, Metzingen, Germany; (2) Technische Universität München Weihenstephan, Chair of Brewing and Beverage Technology, Weihenstephan, Germany


Fermentation and storage tanks used in the brewing process have to be cleaned at regular intervals by means of automation. Stringent hygienic requirements must be fulfilled in order to achieve consistent product quality, in cases where complex premium beverages, like beer, are produced, bottled and packaged. Cleaning in place (CIP) and industrial cleaning processes make an important contribution to this process and protect breweries from any incidents that could damage their reputation. Driven by the pressures of high costs, breweries must handle resources carefully. When the four elements of the “sinner circle”—temperature, chemistry, time and mechanics—are combined, the hygienic requirements can be met. In order to save on resources, the mechanical part of the sinner circle has to be maximized. Over the years, only two types of tank cleaning nozzles have been used in fermentation and storage tanks for breweries. These are the robust static spray ball and rotational tank cleaning machine. The impact of the tank cleaning machine is much higher in comparison with the static spray ball and, with respect to the sinner circle, savings are more significant. Despite this advantage, static spray balls are still the most common tank cleaning nozzle for cleaning fermentation and storage tanks because they are inexpensive. However, new innovative tank cleaning nozzles are now available. The slow rotation of these nozzles significantly improves the impact on the surface of the tank walls in comparison to static spray balls. The price level for this new nozzle is higher than the static spray ball, but lower than the tank cleaning machine. This nozzle has not been used in breweries yet, but in cooperation with TUM Weihenstephan, the performance of the new tank cleaning nozzle has been evaluated in fermentation and storage tanks. The purpose was to demonstrate that significant savings with fresh water, chemicals, temperature level and cleaning cycle time in fermentation and storage tanks can be made possible with newer nozzle technology. As a result, a series of tests in the pilot brewery of TUM Weihenstephan were conducted. During the test, the consumption of fresh water and use of chemicals along with temperature level and cleaning cycle time were all recorded. Two identical fermentation and storage tanks were used for the basis of the tests. One fermentation and storage tank was equipped with a static spray ball and the others with the new type of tank cleaning nozzle. As a result, the payback period for investing in a retrofit for an existing fermentation and storage tank in a brewery was determined.

Matthias Schneider received his Dipl.Ing. (graduate engineering degree) in mechanical engineering from Esslingen University of Applied Sciences (Germany). He began with Lechler GmbH in 2008 as an R&D engineer for computational fluid dynamics (CFD). Since 2012 he has had the role of key account management for the beverage industry. His customers are well-known companies like Krones, Ziemann, KHS, etc.