The Bavarian state brewery Rothaus AG operates in the heart of the upper Black Forest, one of Germany's most beautiful landscapes. It is one of the most successful and profitable regional breweries. The reputation of its 'Zäpfle' beer has spread far beyond Baden-Würtemberg. The 'Tannenzäpfle’ brewed in Rothaus is a cult beer throughout Germany – it has even been the subject of a long report by journalists from Spiegel-Online and the Financial Times.
This success is primarily due to the unique flavour of this premium beer - a result of the brewery's strict quality strategy. This demand for quality also extends to the technical installations. In fact the brewery has invested around €130 million over the last 15 years. Apart from the brewery itself, the fermentation, storage and bottling facilities have all been upgraded to meet the growing demand. "The Rothaus brewery is one of the most modern breweries in Germany", according to operations engineer Peter Aselmann. "Our systems conform to the state-of-the-art in brewing methods and brewing technology - from the extensive automation of almost all instruments to the integration of all key components into the central process management system. For instance, we can display and track the status of all production-relevant instruments and pumps on the monitor.
All instruments, pipes and pumps in contact with the product are made of stainless steel, as are the brewing, fermentation and storage tanks. This is because only stainless steel guarantees the required hygiene conditions for the production process. And this is carried out according to traditional brewing processes with cold fermentation and long cold storage.
The Grundfos Solution
"Being able to clean all parts of the equipment that come into contact with the product is essential in a brewery", explains Roland Walter, Mechanical Workshop Manager and workshop foreman. "Hilge pumps are all made of stainless steel, which is important to us. This is why we have been working with this manufacturer for over 20 years." Roland Walter also values the fact that "Hilge Specialists always design pumps to closely match our specific requirements. The proof is in their operating reliability, the pumps run for ages without any problems." Roland Walter is among other things responsible for repairs and maintenance and so, he is absolutely uncompromising when it comes to quality and service on the part of component suppliers: "We brew one of the best beers around. This will only be the case as long as our technology is of the finest quality and functions reliably."
Hilge beer pumps are installed throughout the production process to pump flavourings and beer and they are also used in the CIP cleaning plant. Roland Walter comments on this apparent pump monoculture: "The breweries used to stop production for certain periods. We used these periods to upgrade the technology. Those days are long gone so we select our pumps and all of the components on the basis of maximum service life. The experience of other breweries has taught us that focusing too much on price is often paid for in limited availability and durability. We focus on quality and reap the rewards in the long term."
Breweries, such as the 'Badischen Staatsbrauerei Rothaus AG', clearly demonstrate the thought processes behind Grundfos's introduction of an Industrial Division. This traditional brewery has installed around 140 pumps from the Hilge Euro-HYGIA® and MAXANA series plus several high-pressure pumps from the Grundfos CR series for condensate feed.
Most operators not only require industry-specific pumps (in this case beer pumps), they also require other types of pumps for secondary applications (in this case condensate pumps and dosing pumps for the detergents).
The reorganisation that has led to the Industrial Division accommodates the basic strategy of the Rothaus brewery and for Peter Aselmann and Roland Walter the unifying of the technical equipment is an important quality feature: "By standardising the key components we can keep our stock costs down and maintenance is considerably easier. Process reliability is a lot higher if the technology is standardised and there are fewer interfaces between equipment from different suppliers."