By: Gerald Dlubala
When it comes to pumps used in the winery, there’s a pump to match every size and budget, and usually, those two variables are the deciding factors,” said Ross Battersby, sales and equipment design professional for Carlsen and Associates, an industry leader in winemaking equipment and systems.
“But speed can also play a part,” he said. “Large scale wineries are usually more interested in that aspect, but for the smaller volume wineries, it’s best to use something that gives the user the ability to move it around the facility for different applications. Air operated diaphragm pumps like our Yamada series are popular for wine transfer applications because they are less complicated to operate, gentle on your juice and easy to maintain and service. Positive displacement pumps like our Waukesha 130 are winery workhorses. They are popular choices and loved throughout the wine industry because of their portability and versatility. By simply using a different diameter of hose, you can easily use the same pump for many different applications throughout the winery, including must, moving 30 to 320 GPM.”
Battersby told The Grapevine Magazine that Carlsen Waukesha’s positive displacement pumps are the best solution for all of a winery’s needs, including bottling, juice transfer, pump-overs, barrel work and must pumping. Positive displacement pumps consist of winged rotors, similar to interlocking ice cream scoops that turn and lock your fruit in and then push it out without causing any structural damage to the grapes. Pump speed is directly related to your desired GPM flow rate. Positive displacement pumps allow the operator to reverse the flow and pump wine back into the tank if and when needed. Battersby said this would be even more beneficial if your lines are configured in short runs.
“Carlsen Waukesha pumps are operator friendly, reversible, reliable and truly last forever with minimal maintenance,” he said. “Performing annual oiling and occasional O-ring replacement, maybe three or four times a year depending on the amount of use, you’ve got a reliable, multi-use, workhorse pump.
“But the important thing for operators to know for whatever type or brand of pump they choose to use, is that your enemy is cavitation,” said Battersby. “Cavitation occurs when the pump head can’t quite keep up with the pump speed, causing the pump to start extracting the dissolved gases in your product. It tends to happen whenever the winemaker’s only consideration in the pumping process is speed. It’s very noticeable when the hoses or lines at the end of the pump start flopping around like a fish while making a loud thrashing sound. This will eventually pit the stainless head or crack diaphragms on your pumps. It’s critical to match the orifices on your pump to the diameter of the lines that you use.”
Battersby said that when looking to buy a pump for your winery, two main features are critical—the number of gallons per minute, or flow rate, and the head pressure, or pounds per square inch. Flow rate is self-explanatory, but your winery layout should always be considered when looking into the head pressure and pounds per square inch capabilities of a pump system.
“We like to say that short suction provides the best delivery, so it’s best if you’re able to have everything close together for shorter lines and maximum pump efficiency,” said Battersby. “The longer your run, the more friction you have building up with your flow, making the pump work harder to move the wine. Add in the valves and bends in your lines, and it starts to take a bite out of the ability and efficiency of the pumps, especially must pumps. You have to take into consideration the highest head pressure your pumps will experience on your facility’s longest run. If you’re pumping up a high arc into a tank, there’s a lot of head pressure building up.
“Air operated diaphragm pumps can shut off against this scenario while still holding pressure. If those same lines shut down while using a positive displacement pump and you’re not there to shut it down, the pump will keep rolling and, in short notice, will blow a line. There are pump options to help with this, like a float switch that will shut things off based on the float level. You can also set cycle timers that will switch off and on based on what you set as an adequate cycle to pump the amount of liquid over you want to move.
“Because of these scenarios, we see a lot of tanks with their own dedicated and fixed base pump, usually a centrifugal pump, for pump-overs. They’ll have a screen over the pump and [be] programmed to do pump-overs unmanned, which is a godsend for wineries experiencing labor shortages. This worked wonders during all the recent wildfires, helping winemakers monitor and control their pumping functions from their iPhones. Winemaking protocols have changed a bit, so this type of slower, shorter bursts of pump-overs has become more common instead of one long pumping session.”
Like positive displacement pumps, centrifugal pumps are a reliable, long-lasting pump option for winery applications, complete with minimal maintenance needs and mechanical seals.
“Centrifugal pumps have gotten a bad rap in the industry,” said Battersby. “In the old days, they were only set up to run at top speed, somewhere around 750 rpm. The only way to change the speed was to use methods to baffle the flow, but then the pump would keep running and shear your liquid apart. Now we have variable speed controls to tune the centrifugal pump to the speed that’s appropriate for the process. Our Waukesha 200 Series Centrifugal Pumps have been very successful, mainly used in wineries for the pump-over process and juice transfers. These pumps can empty a tanker truck in about a half-hour. The centrifugal transfer pumps allow solid particles to pass through without harming or changing their structure that would cause product breakdown. Centrifugal pumps do have to remain below the liquid level because they don’t have the self-priming capabilities of other pumps.”
Gorman-Rupp Pumps Provide Performance And Serviceability
“We’re probably best known for our self-priming waste and trash pumps, used after the initial winemaking process is completed,” said Jeff Hannan, Product Manager-Centrifugal Pumps for Gorman-Rupp Pumps, a leading producer of waste and sewer handling applications in many industries, including wineries.
“Our pumps can pass three-inch spherical solids when needed, and they won’t clog or bog down during the process. When we came out with our modified T Series Pumps a few years ago, it changed the way wineries go about their cleanup and waste removal. Our Super T Series, equipped with our Eradicator Solids Management System, can pass two and a half inch solids using three-inch lines, and our four-inch lines will easily move three-inch spherical solid masses. Our Eradicator Solids Management system design is an excellent choice for an easy-to-operate, no-clog, self-cleaning pumping system.”
Gorman-Rupp’s Eradicator system incorporates an aggressive self-cleaning wear plate containing several notches and grooves, plus a lacerating tooth to break up solids and pass them through the pump as smaller particles, ultimately reducing clog-related downtime. The Eradicator system’s additional benefits include easy access to impellers, improved efficiency, fewer maintenance costs and lower life-cycle costs. Pumps equipped with the Eradicator system do not use consumable chopper blades and are available in cast iron or hard iron configurations. The Eradicator system can also be retrofitted into all sizes of current Gorman-Rupp Super T Series pumps that are already operating in the field.
“Our pumps are designed with removable inspection covers, wear plates and material covers,” said Hannan. “We’ve always included back cover plates for manual clog cleaning access, but those plates can get heavy, upwards of 100 pounds, so they weren’t very convenient to move and maneuver. Now we have a separate inspection plate, only weighing about 15 pounds for performing the same task, so you get the quick, pointed access needed without having to remove the entire backplate of the pump. Quicker cleaning means quicker resolution and more uptime, and that’s always the goal. This type of design was initially used to help municipal waste lines deal with those so-called flushable wipes that were not, and still are not, flushable in any way. Anything stringy like that can ball up and get hung up in the eye of an impeller, causing notches and grooving in the teeth and interior parts. The Eradicator system minimizes those issues. Then, with every rotation, the eye of the impeller is wiped clean so that there is no buildup on the impeller, and the waste can continue to pass through the system and lines.”
“No matter what type or size of pumps you choose to use, you need to look ease of maintenance, reliability and longevity statistics of the pump, and of course the reputation of the pump manufacturer,” said Hannan. “The maintenance and service needs of Gorman-Rupp pumps are minimal and easy. Clearances between the impellers and the backplate are easily adjusted externally through the use of adjustable and locking collars to get the pump’s settings back to original factory clearance. This is important because as the gap between those parts widens with use, pump efficiency goes down. Being able to check and adjust those gaps from an external vantage point is a big advantage in retaining pump efficiency and uptime.”
Gorman-Rupp offers full five-year warranties on their pumps, with many local distributors always willing to help and solve problems.
“Our pumps are pretty simple to work on and maintain, with it being common to now get 25 to 30 years of service out of them,” said Hannan. “Gorman-Rupp pumps are manufactured so that the important and normal wear parts can be replaced on their own without having to replace the whole pump. And our pumps can handle all situations, including caustic cleanup activities.”