Full-line supply brings savings to wine bottling plant
It started with boxes of wine – very big ones.
Every day, tankers bring 12-15 shipping containers from the docks at Avonmouth, UK, to Accolade Park, the largest of the global company’s European wine importing and distributing operations.
Each container holds up to 25,000 litres of wine. The Accolade Park site extracts the wine, bottles or boxes it, then ships it out for distribution in the UK and Europe.
The problem was that too much wine was getting left behind in the container bags.
“As you pump the wine out, the bags collapse,” says Julian Rainbow, the company’s Utilities and Process Engineering Manager.
The collapsed bags made it difficult to reach the liquid near the end of the pumping process. So the company sent out a challenge to different pump manufacturers: Reduce our losses. After a trial period, Grundfos won the bid with its Liquid Ring SIPLA pump range – the best performer of all the products tested.
Rainbow tells the story accompanied by Grundfos’ Ian Dure, Key Account Manager for Grundfos Industry, Water and Waste in the UK.
Dure says, “You were leaving behind 300 litres beforehand. What did we get that down to?”
“The best we had was 60 litres – the average is 100,” says Rainbow.
“So,” Dure says, “at a loss of about one British pound per litre, going from 300 pounds to 100 pounds, and with 12 to 15 containers a day, if you multiply the savings across each container, the cost of the new solution paid for itself in a couple of days, including the installation costs.”
“It was an excellent trial,” Rainbow adds. “Nobody else provided the same kind of technical support and background for the trial, and we were very pleased with that.”
One full-line supplier
At the time, Accolade was designing a new facility to replace the two, ageing plants in the area. “We were looking for ways to improve the company’s carbon footprint locally,” says Neil Wallburton, Engineering Manager. Part of this solution lay in finding energy efficient pumping solutions – from water supply and distribution to boiler feeding to processing and cleaning and all the way to effluent treatment.
“Grundfos suggested they could provide a lot more than just those tanker offloading pumps,” Rainbow says. “We liked what we saw with all their controls and modern designs. It gave us the best opportunity to make some savings from an energy point of view as well. And that’s why this site has predominantly Grundfos systems in it.”
In a tour through one of the tank houses, Rainbow spreads his arm out in a broad gesture. “Certainly wherever you look there are Grundfos pumps dotted around,” he says, adding that Accolade Park specified Grundfos throughout the entire process.
Dure says, “Our global manufacturing already supplies the leading OEM companies that would supply to this type of process – in this case Krones. This cleared the way for strong communication among all parties.”
Accolade’s previous plants used several different pump suppliers, he adds. That meant the factory needed to stock spare parts for all the different types of impellers, seals, motors and so on. The company also rebuilt its pumps annually for some applications. “We knew if we didn’t, we’d get a failure 18 months down the road,” Rainbow says.
Going with Grundfos as one full-line supplier has meant a large cut in costs for spares due to the large degree of interchangeable parts on different products, he says – not that the spares have been so necessary.
“In the two and a half years we’ve been running, the mean time between failures is huge, says Wallburton. “I can’t think of one instance where a pump has been at fault for a failure.”
In fact, of the 100 or so Grundfos pumps onsite, only one has needed replacement due to a bearing failure.
“We knew it was going to fail,” says Rainbow. “We had a window of opportunity to replace it, and it only took a couple of hours. The commonality of spare parts is very, very good. It could have been a whole different story, but it was fantastic.”
Wallburton adds, “If you think of the speed and scope of our operation compared to what we had previously, we’re running longer hours, seven days a week, at higher rates. The attrition on pumping gear is higher, yet we’ve only had one failure.
“It is quite a good success story,” he says. “From an end-user’s point of view, reliability has been absolutely excellent, maintenance has been minimal and the lifecycle costs to me are very impressive. It’s something I will take forward when I’m looking for speccing future equipment.”