15 million dollars worth of stainless steel has been used to construct the largest rotary fermentation area in Australia.
The facility at Southcorp's Karadoc Winery in Victoria comprises 88 stainless steel red grade processing tanks, pipes and tubes, brine jackets and rotary fermenters.
Southcorp Wines Engineering Manager (Eastern Region) Geoff Leighton said stainless steel was preferred by the wine industry because it is "corrosion resistant, provides a stable environment for the wine, is easy to clean and maintain and has a long service life."
Grade 304 stainless steel was used for the tanks, with a thickness range of 2mm - 6mm, with the highest tank 1 5 metres tall. An extensive amount of 304 and 316 tube was also used.
ASSDA members Atlas Steel (SA), Alfa Laval, APV Valves and James Contract Supplies were all involved in the project.
The expansion brings the Karadoc site's total storage capacity to approximately 93 million litres.
The winery, which produces known brands Lindemans, Queen Adelaide, Kaiser Stuhl and Matthew Lang exports approximately 60% of its bottled wine production.
"The project has provided infrastructure to the district and significant employment opportunities in the areas of viticulture, transport and production facilities," Mr Leighton said.
Mr Leighton said while stainless steel met the needs of the wine industry, there was room for improvement.
"Stainless steel demand exceeds supply on occasions," he said. "It is not totally corrosion resistant and requires diligence in the specification and fabrication process."
The Karadoc project is one example of current growth in the Australian wine industry, which has brought with it exciting opportunities for the stainless steel industry.
Domestic wine production has increased five fold since 1966, from 156 million litres to over 800 million litres.
Vision 2025, a strategic plan by the Australian wine industry, aims to make the industry a global force by achieving $4.5 billion in annual sales of wine and 6.5% of the value of world production by 2025.
Results to date have been positive, with 1999 total sales estimated to be approximately $2.4 billion and 3.5% of the world export volume.
The number and size of fabrication firms in wine growing regions is expanding and as such, real opportunities to explore new applications and methods of design, fabrication and maintenance exist.
To assist the wine and stainless industries meet their objectives, ASSDA is conducting "Using Stainless Steels in the Food Industry" seminar in May and June which will cover fabrication, corrosion, welding, cleaning and sanitation issues for stainless steel use in the food industries as well as issues specific to the wine industry.
For more information on ASSDA's "Using Stainless Steels in the Food Industry" Seminars, please contact ASSDA on (07) 3220 0722.
1. Australian Wine Foundation (1996) Strategy 2025 - The Australian Wine Industry.
This article featured in Australian Stainless magazine - Issue 15, February 2000.