Scottish brewer gains from innovative tank coatings

Louise Smyth

Innovative tank coatings have helped to restore a brewery to full production

It’s fair to say that a new age has dawned. Or perhaps ‘brewed’ would be a more accurate assessment. The rise of the micro-brewery has seen the increase in popularity of craft and world beers, with people searching for the perfect pilsner or the most appetising ale. Of course, breweries need to ensure that nothing sours the process of making their beers the best they can be. Everything from the finest ingredients and correct temperatures, right down to the condition of the tank coating needs to be just so.

The Importance of Tank Coating Condition

The condition of the tank coatings is paramount, to eliminate contamination. In fact, this was realised at a Glasgow-based brewery in the UK, where a vessel’s lining required a complete overhaul. The previous coating had started to flake, and the underlying substrate was left exposed. Therefore, an effective system needed to be installed to prevent metal loss or contamination of the beer batches. What’s more, any coating applied needed to have food/water-grade approvals for use in the high temperature as well.

Replacement Coating Longevity & Quality

The longevity and quality of any replacement coating was incredibly important. With one vessel already out of action, the brewery wanted to ensure that the chosen solution could meet the performance requirements. It could not afford the time for another maintenance period to deal with an inferior replacement.

Whilst searching for a coating that met the criteria, the brewery turned to Belzona, which had provided pipework maintenance solutions in the past. Douglas Potts at Belzona UK says: “The maintenance manager discussed the vessel lining issue and we were happy to propose our solutions for further testing. Sample plates were required to taint test the Belzona coating, whilst a “supply and fit” proposal from our application arm, Belzona Technosol, also had to go through vetting and approval. Our recommendation, Belzona 5892, passed with flying colours.”

How To Minimise Brewery Disruption

Overall the application on the vessel, measuring 3.25m (10.7ft) in diameter and 7.5m (24.7ft) in height, took two weeks to complete. But there were several ways in which disruption to the brewery was kept to a minimum. Using sponge blasting in lieu of grit kept dust levels down, which was much appreciated by the brewery as production was still in operation outside the vessel. This was further helped by tenting.

The hand-applied Belzona 5892 allowed the vessel to remain in situ for the application. This WRAS-approved system can be easily installed in two coats without the need for any specialist equipment. Finally, to get the tank back in service quickly, infrared heaters were employed to conveniently reduce the cure time.

Following the application, the brewery was very satisfied with the completed vessel lining, which is performing well in service. Potts adds, “What pleased the brewery most was that the solution allowed the vessel to remain in place, avoiding the costs associated with dismantling and transportation elsewhere. This was made more impressive with the necessary blasting being conducted without any unwanted disruption to other operations. By coating we have considerably extended the life of the vessel and we are already in discussions for future tanks.”

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