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Stainless delivers the brew

Stainless delivers the brew

Stainless steel has delivered the lifeblood for the evolving brewery operation  of one of Australia’s largest independent beer businesses.

Brick Lane was founded by 25 shareholders in 2017 with the vision to grow a sustainable, more inclusive, independent brewery focused on quality, flexibility, and sustainability. Delivering its own craft beer, ciders, seltzers and other drinks, Brick Lane extends its facilities to the wider brewing community, offering its brewing and packaging services to like-minded partners to encourage and support the growth of independent and craft beer in Australia.

Critical to Brick Lane’s success was the design and construction of a state-of-the-art brewery, combining global-leading technology with local stainless steel technical expertise and fabrication. Located in Victoria’s Dandenong South on a 5,000sqm site, Brick Lane partnered with German-based brewery equipment supplier BrauKon to deliver the original 50hL 4 vessel brewhouse in 2018, which was later expanded in  2020 with an additional 110hL 4 vessel brewhouse.

ASSDA Member and Accredited Fabricator Total Piping and Mechanical (TPM) was engaged both locally and by BrauKon to deliver the equipment installation and assembly, and process and service piping. TPM used 316L grade stainless steel to AS 1528 (Stainless steel tube and tube fittings for food processing and hygienic applications) pipe and fittings for the process pipework lines, and 304 grade AS 1528 stainless steel for the service pipework lines.

With most of the equipment supplied from Europe, the connections were delivered in DIN sizes, presenting some challenges in transitioning from DIN to locally sourced AS 1528 sized tube. TPM addressed this by supplying custom-made transition pieces.

TPM’s highly skilled team of welders performed all the hand welding of process pipework to AS/NZS 3992:2020 (Pressure equipment – Welding and brazing qualification), AS 4041:2006 (Pressure piping) and ASME Section IX (Boiler and pressure vessel code: Welding and brazing qualifications). TPM also deployed one of its specialised orbital welding machines on site which completed more than 2,500 welds alone. 

In addition, TPM completed the high-pressure steam installation, all of which were weld mapped, NDT and hydrostatically tested in accordance with AS 4041:2006. 

Brick Lane’s Head Brewer Jon Seltin said TPM’s quality in the pipe fittings and welding was exemplary. ‘Their approach to hand-selecting their labour force ensured workers with validated welding skills, experience, attention to detail, efficiency, and quality. In periods of high pressure and tight deadlines, TPM’s management and staff always remained courteous, positive, and practical, contributing to a great on-site culture.’

Brick Lane was the first Australian brewery to adopt thermal load wort boiling and crossflow filtration technology, reducing its energy and water usage, improving beer output quality and eliminating the need to use non-renewable filtration aids. With sustainability and efficiency at the forefront of its design, the brewery also houses a vapour condenser, which reclaims energy from steam produced during the brewing process.

2021 Major Cellar Expansion

A multi-million-dollar investment in equipment to expand the brewery saw the construction of a major cold-block rolled out in 2021, increasing the operation’s annual production capacity to approximately 20 million litres. The expansion saw Brick Lane further adopt world-leading technologies in yeast propagation, fermentation management, automated liquids handling, centrifugation, high-gravity brewing, thermal storage/energy recovery and keg packaging.

ASSDA Member and Accredited Fabricator Furphy Engineering was engaged to design, fabricate, test, and deliver thirteen stainless steel tanks, including ten 400hL beer fermenters, two 450hL bright beer tanks, one 610hL hot water tank, plus an upper-level stainless steel access platform system. 

Approximately 100 tonnes of stainless steel was used for the project, including grade 304 for the fermenters, bright beer tanks and access platforms, and grade 316 for the hot water tank. The material used was a mix of stainless steel sheet and plate from 2mm to 10mm, 250NB Sch40 and 300NB Sch40 pipe, and various sizes of AS 1528 tube. Stainless steel materials were supplied by ASSDA Members Atlas Steels and Vulcan.

The fermenters and bright beer tank were designed and constructed to AS 1210:2010 (Pressure vessels). The fabrication of the fermenters, bright beer tanks and hot water tank was undertaken using a plasma arc welding (PAW) process. PAW produces excellent weld quality with the introduction of minimal heat and with no removal of parent material required for weld preparation. This system was pioneered in Australia by Furphy Engineering in 2006, and today they operate five PAW machines for tank and vessel welding.

The cooling jackets on the fermenters and bright beer tanks employ Furphy Engineering’s Dimple-Q, a laser-welded dimple plate that delivers efficient temperature control and achieves brew cooling from the exterior. Dimple-Q is the only Australian made laser-welded dimple plate and is manufactured in-house by Furphy Engineering in Shepparton.

Jon Seltin said Furphy Engineering was an excellent local partner for the major cellar expansion, with the team proactively involved throughout the project cycle while seamlessly collaborating with other project vendors. ‘The quality of the supplied tanks was excellent and their on-time delivery during difficult COVID restrictions was critical for the overall success of the project. Their reliability coupled with their flexibility, quality design and fabrication capability are no doubt why they enjoy such a good reputation in their industry.’

TPM’s team of welders was brought back on-site to perform the mechanical installation of the Furphy Engineering supplied tanks. From the time of the original build through to the completion of the third cellar expansion, TPM has delivered more than 5,000 welds and installed over  5,000m of stainless steel tube.

Brick Lane continues to have its eyes set on the future, with its site well-positioned to grow with the Australian craft beer market while setting the benchmark for sustainability and efficiency in brewing.

This article is featured in Australian Stainless Magazine issue 75, 2022. 

Tina Belesis