- Pump has reduced manual labour and filter press downtime
- Improved environmental solution
- Plans to modify three further filter presses
A Bredel hose pump from Watson-Marlow Pumps Group has been installed at one of the Chinese brewing of facilities of Anheuser-Busch InBev to automate previously manual operations. The investment has led to reduced labour and downtime, thus offering considerable cost savings.
Since Anheuser-Busch InBev first entered the Chinese market in 1984, the company has established 36 plants and recruited around 25,000 employees. The Putian brewery of Anheuser-Busch InBev is the largest facility of its type in the Fujian province with annual beer output of circa 1 million tons. However, the method of production relies largely on manual processes with four plate-and-frame filter presses in service for the filtration of diatomaceous earth, which is still used in most brewing processes.
High labour content
The presses presented a certain issue to the company in that it had always proved difficult to collect waste diatomaceous earth after it was emitted into stainless steel boxes under the filters. From here it required two workers to shovel the diatomaceous earth into bags which were subsequently carried to a truck waiting to transport the substance to an appropriate disposal site.
Not only was the process laborious and time consuming, but because the process of shoveling the diatomaceous earth into the bags relied on human judgment, a quantity would always end up on the brewery floor. Once complete, workers would have to spend extra time washing down the area with water. This had a big impact on production planning and scheduling, particularly in peak season periods.
For a solution to the problem, the facility turned to Watson-Marlow Pumps Group, which already had 14 successful applications in the diatomaceous earth and PVPP (polyvinylpolypyrrolidone) dosing process using Bredel hose pumps.
Watson-Marlow application engineer suggested that the customer install a cone-shaped tray with a screw propeller underneath the filter, to feed the waste diatomaceous earth to a Bredel hose pump. From here the substance could be pumped to a collection tank stand outside of the plate. The truck would then be able to load the waste diatomaceous earth directly and transfer it to the designated point of disposal.
The proposal was readily accepted and implemented on one of the filter presses by Anheuser-Busch InBev, where it has proved a resounding success. The Bredel hose pump has saved the efforts of two workers and the associated labour time. Furthermore, the pump can be set to run at the same time as diatom unloading in the press, thus reducing filter downtime and helping to maintain production schedules. The pump has also reduced the impact to the environment in that there is no longer any requirement for cleaning water.
On top of these benefits, in one year of operation, there have been no maintenance requirements. As a result, the Putian facility of Anheuser-Busch InBev is now finalising plans to modify its three other filter presses on site.