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Why AKO pinch valves?

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Pinch valves control the filling of beer barrels in a brewery

A brewery that specialises in the brewing of fine ale is still successfully using pinch valves from the VM series that has not been produced for a number of years. When modernising the plant or replacing faulty valves, the brewery relies on the replacement generation of pinch valves for the VM series: The more compact VMC series.

Around 2006, the brewery was looking for an alternative manufacturer for the pinch valves installed at the time because it was no longer satisfied with their quality in terms of their service life and reliability. The company was able to find a manufacturer in AKO Armaturen whose pinch valves have been an integral component of the filling process to this date.

After initially installing plastic valves from the VM series in 2006, the brewery switched over to the new generation of stainless steel pinch valves from the VMC series in 2011 that are still being used today. The fact that some pinch valves from the VM series – which is no longer being produced – are still in operation today demonstrates the durability of the valves from AKO. It has also not yet been necessary to replace the latest generation of pinch valves from the VMC series (which have been in operation since 2011) – despite the high demands placed on them with up to 2,000 opening/closing cycles per day.


Do you use valves in the food & beverage sector?
Pinch valves from AKO are also available in food-grade configurations!

 

Pinch valves with a sleeve made out of natural rubber with a light FDA and BFR-compliant inner sleeve (the inner part of the sleeve that comes into contact with the product) or an FDA, BFR or EC 1935/2004 food-grade EPDM sleeve are ideal for use in the food & beverage industries. They are compatible with standard cleaning and sterilisation techniques (e.g. CIP or SIP) and can be cleaned or sterilised in place. For example, the complete plant including the pipelines and installed pinch valves are completely cleaned every day after each shift at this brewery.

The installed AKO pinch valves are used to precisely control the flow rate of the beer that is pumped into the waiting barrels. At the beginning of every filling process, the pinch valve is 100% open so that the maximum amount of beer can pass through the pinch valve. When the barrel is nearly full, the sleeve – and thus the flow radius – is gradually made smaller by applying compressed air in order to ultimately achieve the precise filling volume.

Pinch valves have been used for more than ten years without the need to replace any components!

This is also one of the main reasons why the brewery has relied on pinch valves from AKO for more than 10 years: The simple and effective control of the flow rate. Another reasons is the low-maintenance and durable design of the pinch valves from AKO. Maintenance-relevant downtimes at the plant are thus minimised. Some of the valves at the brewery are still using the same sleeves that were originally fitted – even with up to 2,000 opening & closing cycles per day!

Pinch valves from AKO in filling systems for beer barrels
AKO pinch valves used as dosing valves in the filling of beer barrels
Pinch valves from AKO used as a dosing valve in a filling system for beer barrels
AKO pinch valves in the filling of beer barrels
VMC32.02X.50G.40 pinch valve as a dosing valve for filling beer barrels

Requirements:

  • Reliable operation in comparison to the previous valves provided by a competitor.
  • Ability to control the flow rate.

Goals achieved:

  • AKO pinch valves have proved to be more reliable and durable than valves supplied by its competitor. Some valves have been in operation for more than 10 years unchanged!
  • The closing of the sleeve can be finely adjusted by dosing the compressed air.

Medium:
Draught beer (fine ale)

Processing temperature:
Ambient temperature

Opening and closing cycles:
Up to 2,000 per day

Operating pressure:
0.5 - 0.7 bar

Control pressure:
1.0 - 2.2 bar
(depending on the desired flow rate)

Normal position:
During operating hours:
Closed
Outside of operating hours:
Open

Experience with pinch valves:
More than 10 years

Valve configuration:
Nominal size: DN 32
Series: VMC
Housing: Stainless steel 1.4408
Connections: Internal thread, stainless steel 1.4404 / AISI 316L
Sleeve: Natural rubber, food grade quality, light

Valve designation:
VMC32.02X.50G.50
VM032.02X.70.80 (discontinued model)

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