Quantcast

Automated Valves - Are They Worth It?

HomeBrewTalk.com - Beer, Wine, Mead, & Cider Brewing Discussion Community.

Help Support Homebrew Talk:

JonW

Well-Known Member
Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Dec 9, 2009
Messages
2,101
Reaction score
305
Location
Huntington Beach, CA
Has anyone tried connecting a manual ball valve to the end of an motorized ball valve? That way you can set the manual ball valve to the flow rate you want yet still get the automated ball valve for control.
That's exactly what I do. Take a look at pics of my rig from my signature links.

I have a return valve on each kettle that is used for setting the flow rate into the kettle. It works great for fly sparging. Also note that these flow control valves are located up on the kettle instead of down on the pumps. This makes it very easy to look at the flow rate and adjust it to what you need versus bending down, adjust, stand up and look, bend down, adjust... repeat.

I usually set the rates at the beginning of fly sparging and don't often need to adjust them.
 
Joined
Dec 19, 2014
Messages
5,360
Reaction score
1,539
Location
West Palm Beach
I use a ball valve to regulate the flow into the fermenter. It is connected on the exit of an automated 3 way which routes from the pump/chiller loop back to either the BK via the whirlpool arm or this exit. It also serves as my sparge runoff sample point. I just open it a little, grab some runoff drops, and measure with the refractometer.
 

kickflip_mj

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 8, 2008
Messages
1,116
Reaction score
120
Took the plunge, purchased 5 pneumatic butterfly valves to solve all my problems.
 
Joined
Dec 19, 2014
Messages
5,360
Reaction score
1,539
Location
West Palm Beach
Took the plunge, purchased 5 pneumatic butterfly valves to solve all my problems.
This is odd to me... why not fix the real problem related to the valves you have? If they are failing perhaps another brand/style is the better route? Adding another element (pneumatic pump, tubing, etc.) to solve a problem seems you will just introduce more items to integrate and fail? Just my opinion.
 

kickflip_mj

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 8, 2008
Messages
1,116
Reaction score
120
This is odd to me... why not fix the real problem related to the valves you have? If they are failing perhaps another brand/style is the better route? Adding another element (pneumatic pump, tubing, etc.) to solve a problem seems you will just introduce more items to integrate and fail? Just my opinion.
My brewery is already complicated enough. Ontop of that I want to get rid of threads all together. Everything on my brewery is hard plumbed tc, this would get rid the only thing I have to clean by hand. These valves are industrial grade, and will not lock up because of the sticky wort. Also, ball valves are gross, and they can't be properly cleaned in place.
 

kickflip_mj

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 8, 2008
Messages
1,116
Reaction score
120
My brewery is already complicated enough. Ontop of that I want to get rid of threads all together. Everything on my brewery is hard plumbed tc, this would get rid the only thing I have to clean by hand. These valves are industrial grade, and will not lock up because of the sticky wort. Also, ball valves are gross, and they can't be properly cleaned in place.
 

firkin

Member
Joined
Dec 11, 2015
Messages
13
Reaction score
4
Location
Prairie du Sac
I'm still looking for my optimal solution and looking to achieve the same goals of threadless and ease of cleaning. Where did you get the butterfly valves?

I was thinking of these ball valves: http://www.ebay.com/itm/252119500714

I'm thinking the proportional integral control would enable me to cycle them through different levels of opening to enable CIP cleaning. Couldn't find them TC, but the thought would be that I could upgrade to TC 3-way valves later and mount the ISO 5211 actuator from these onto the new ones...
 

kickflip_mj

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 8, 2008
Messages
1,116
Reaction score
120
Ball valves can be cleaned in place. You have to cycle them open and closed with hot PBW flowing through. Leaving them open or closed won't do it.
I do this and you forget that there are still threads. I also don't like thay liquid sits in the valve even after I cycle.
 

kickflip_mj

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 8, 2008
Messages
1,116
Reaction score
120
I do this and you forget that there are still threads. I also don't like thay liquid sits in the valve even after I cycle
 

kickflip_mj

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 8, 2008
Messages
1,116
Reaction score
120
I purchased 2 way phnumatic johnson actuators off ebay for 28 bucks each and 5 tc butterfly valves. But I have to fab the conectors rods and the mounts for each. It's a little work but we'll worth it
 

Gameface

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 13, 2010
Messages
2,108
Reaction score
683
Location
Salt Lake City
Ryan from Electric Brewing Supply (who is building my BCS-based control panel) suggested that I should avoid DC-controlled valves and go with 110v. Anybody feel differently about that?
I'm not sure what his reasoning is, but the majority of your system will be running off 110v AC (or two legs for 240v AC) and to get to DC you need an AC/DC converter. Just another part. If I could just run a wire off the bus without needing to go through a converter I'd prefer to do that if everything else was equal.
 

Namako

Well-Known Member
Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Aug 14, 2007
Messages
152
Reaction score
18
Location
Eagle River
i spoke with our account rep at johnson controls yesterday. There is interest at jc to gain more headway into the craft brewing and home brewing markets. He will present the idea of multi-piece valve bodies that can be disassembled for sanitation with a product manager. I suggested using tri-clover flange fittings (ie no threads) for all hot side/post boil connections and threaded for pre boil.

Just curious how many of you would be interested in automated 2-way and 3-way valve bodies that can be disassembled for cleaning.

Johnson controls offer quality, reliable products. However, they are more expensive than the examples offered here.
count me in for a few!!
 

mkosonen

Member
Joined
Jan 30, 2014
Messages
24
Reaction score
10
Location
Olympia
If you'd really like to remove disassembly from your cleaning process, you should consider using sanitary diaphragm valves. GEMU is one brand that makes them. They are commonplace in the biopharmaceutical industry (which is quite similar to brewing), and many high end commercial breweries. The problem is: price. Brand new they can range from $200-2000 depending on size and options. You also do need some infrastructure to manage them, namely an air compressor, electrical poppet valves to actuate them, and switches/processor to manage the actuation. However, for a true clean in place system, they are the best, hands down. They also actuate very quickly.

You can find them on eBay for pretty cheap, I've bought 20 or so of them in the last year for under 50 each (some as low as $6-10). They usually come equipped with tri-clamps already, no threads. Here's an example of a 3/4" 4-way HERE.

My system uses a bunch of them, you can see one disconnected from it's base [ame=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n5DhliV6Fso]HERE.[/ame]

And here's the whirlpool/fermentor transfer [ame=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7OSIQXEByeo]HERE.[/ame]

I'm not trying to dissuade you from using ball valves, but you must consider disassembly of the valves into your brew day to get them completely clean. In reality, it all comes down to how much time you're willing to invest; it took me a long time to weld/fit everything together (9 months of fabrication), but that early investment takes a lot of time and stress out of my brew day...

Cheers!

Matt Kosonen
 

kickflip_mj

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 8, 2008
Messages
1,116
Reaction score
120
I agree with Matt on this one. Spend the time and get quality valves. I made the mistake of cheap valves and now I have to go back and refab a lot of plumbing. Check out saunders, itt, and gemu valves on ebay. I see them all the time.
 

mkosonen

Member
Joined
Jan 30, 2014
Messages
24
Reaction score
10
Location
Olympia
I think it's funny that you posted about sanitary valves yet showed a video pumping wort into a wide open fermenter...

Just bustin' chops! Thanks for the info on these valves.
I figured someone would say something haha. I was demonstrating the process. Once I start chilling, the lid goes on the brew kettle, and the tube is already sanitized and in the fermentor. Good eye ;)

 

firkin

Member
Joined
Dec 11, 2015
Messages
13
Reaction score
4
Location
Prairie du Sac
Thanks for the advice Matt. I'm not sure exactly what I'm going to do with it, but I bought it...I do have compressed air, but have never worked with pneumatic control...
 

lewandowski46

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 9, 2015
Messages
134
Reaction score
34
Location
Phoenix
Somebody should reach out to johnson controls and tell them they should make an affordable 1/2" motorized sanitary butterfly valve and maybe a manual version as well. Similar to these but motorized and shrunk down to 1/2" or so. They are asking right? :D

http://r.ebay.com/sSSk2e
 

ClaudiusB

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 30, 2007
Messages
1,547
Reaction score
531
Location
El Paso
I'm not trying to dissuade you from using ball valves,[/url]

Matt Kosonen
What I like about the GEMU valves is the diaphragm design and very easy to replace. My pneumatic butterfly valves seals are pain to replace.
I use ball valves for water only, butterfly for wort.
 

kickflip_mj

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 8, 2008
Messages
1,116
Reaction score
120
What I like about the GEMU valves is the diaphragm design and very easy to replace. My pneumatic butterfly valves seals are pain to replace.
I use ball valves for water only, butterfly for wort.
How often do you change the butterfly seals?
 

mkosonen

Member
Joined
Jan 30, 2014
Messages
24
Reaction score
10
Location
Olympia
No such thing as a 3-way in this flavor, correct? So you would need to use two valves, yes?

-BD
That's correct, they make a 3 way base, but you need two actuators; it is essentially 2 separate valves.
 
Joined
Dec 19, 2014
Messages
5,360
Reaction score
1,539
Location
West Palm Beach
Thanks. Good to know about true sanitary valves.

Been thinking about the cleaning issue. I am not inclined to take apart my motorized ball valves after every brew but have written an automatic cleaning cycle which incorporates multiple valve opening and closing sequences (to get "behind" the ball), multiple recirculations, a large full volume, and long soak periods. These are done with 140 degree PBW solution. The process runs for an hour but I can easily make it longer. Will do this for a bit then take some valves apart and see how they look.
 

ClaudiusB

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 30, 2007
Messages
1,547
Reaction score
531
Location
El Paso
Thanks. Good to know about true sanitary valves.

I am not inclined to take apart my motorized ball valves after every brew but
Mine are only used for water and I filled the cavity with Haynes high temp food grade grease. Haynes CIP-Film grease wont work, melting point 120°F.

The zero cavity ball valves orangehero mentioned are in the same price range like new pneumatic butterfly or GEMU.
 

firkin

Member
Joined
Dec 11, 2015
Messages
13
Reaction score
4
Location
Prairie du Sac
You also do need some infrastructure to manage them, namely an air compressor, electrical poppet valves to actuate them, and switches/processor to manage the actuation.
Matt Kosonen
Matt, could you elaborate a little more on your recommended electrical poppet valves and switches/processor to manage the actuation? I did some research on the GEMU 4-port/3-valve manifold you recommended and it looks like the valve configuration on it will work well for me...just need to figure out the actuation.

Firkin
 
OP
B

BrewKaiser

Supporting Member
HBT Supporter
Joined
Feb 4, 2014
Messages
190
Reaction score
71
Location
Granite Bay
I've been doing some research, and have come across the Alfa Laval valves, but am hesitant to ask how much: "...If you have to ask, you probably can't afford"

http://www.alfalaval.us/products/fluid-handling/valves/Double-seat-valves/unique-cp-3/?id=170380

Anyone have any experience with these? True sanitary 3-way valves, but I'm sure interface with BCS/Arduino will be problematic.

I'm hoping Johnson can come up with something, but "if" they do, will likely take some time. For my build plans, I may just stick with manual 3-piece valves and silicon hoses until I can wrap my head around where and what I want automated valves for.

Anyone have recommendations for building out the BCS control panel with room for future expansion?
 
Joined
Dec 19, 2014
Messages
5,360
Reaction score
1,539
Location
West Palm Beach
Anytime they produce a video with a fancy Euro-voice... yes, it's gonna cost you!

Recommendations: Get the largest box you can, and drill holes and install panel mount connectors for all the inputs/outputs in can handle from the beginning. Wire them up later as you need them.
 

ClaudiusB

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 30, 2007
Messages
1,547
Reaction score
531
Location
El Paso
Matt, could you elaborate a little more on your recommended electrical poppet valves and switches/processor to manage the actuation? I did some research on the GEMU 4-port/3-valve manifold you recommended and it looks like the valve configuration on it will work well for me...just need to figure out the actuation.

Firkin
If you are installing more than one sanitary valve or plan on upgrading to more valves in the future you could go with an air manifold to mount the solenoids.
The manifold with solenoids shown is made by Festo my preference, many companies make them.
The solenoids are available for different activation voltages.
I use 24 VDC solenoids and a PLC to turn them ON/OFF.

The GEMU and other brands are available with built in solenoids too.

IDC 028.jpg


IDC 102.jpg
 

ClaudiusB

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 30, 2007
Messages
1,547
Reaction score
531
Location
El Paso
I did some re and it looks like the valve configuration on it will work well for me...just need to figure out the actuation.

Firkin
Forgot to post this picture.
This picture shows a larger than required manifold with blanking plates for future expansion.
I use this set up controlling the automated bottle filler.

Pneumatic-Valves.jpg
 

mkosonen

Member
Joined
Jan 30, 2014
Messages
24
Reaction score
10
Location
Olympia
Firkin,

I'm doing the same as Claudius to operate the valves, but I'm using Parker PS1-E23 solenoids in a din rail mount manifold. Mine are 24vdc coils that can be switched by a toggle switch or an Arduino micro controller in conjunction with a NPN transistor to amplify the output (for more automated operation in the future). You can find used pneumatic manifolds on eBay if you search that part number above. However, make sure the end caps are a part of it, that is where the air inlet is fed into the valves, and also has an exhaust port. The end caps should look like THIS. These three are operated by 240v however.

Claudius, your stuff looks amazing by the way!

Matt Kosonen
 

firkin

Member
Joined
Dec 11, 2015
Messages
13
Reaction score
4
Location
Prairie du Sac
Thanks for the help Matt!
I’ve been researching this because I’m not too familiar… I didn’t realize how complicated all the options are, but I’m learning and starting to understand those crazy diagrams ;-)

I’ve been searching eBay for SMC, Festo, and now Parker. But, not being sure what I’m doing makes this route harder, so tried shopping for new, though I haven’t found a lot of places to buy new online…

However, I did find, what appears to me, to be a slick solution from automation direct (Nitra). Probably more appealing to me because I found it easy to understand the options and configure online.

End plate with input - $56
http://www.automationdirect.com/adc...oid_Directional_Control_Air_Valves/CMV-C1X-4X

End plate blind - $24
http://www.automationdirect.com/adc...lenoid_Directional_Control_Air_Valves/CMV-C4X

2 modular valves (2 3-way valves in each) - $101 x 2
http://www.automationdirect.com/adc...oid_Directional_Control_Air_Valves/CMV-A1L-2A

DB25 connection cable - $40
http://www.automationdirect.com/adc...noid_Directional_Control_Air_Valves/CMV-ACC02

My understanding is that each of those 2 modular valves can control 2 of my 3 GEMU valves, so I have one spare to drive a future 4th. And I can always add more of those modules in the future to expand for up to 16 modules. Totals up to $322, new, and with 2-year warranty… Anyone have any opinion on this? I feel more comfortable with something new because this stuff is new to me and I want to get it right, but I don’t want to throw money away. Claudius’ Festo solution looks new…how does the price of something new like that compare to this $322 price tag?
 

ClaudiusB

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 30, 2007
Messages
1,547
Reaction score
531
Location
El Paso
However, I did find, what appears to me, to be a slick solution from automation direct (Nitra). Probably more appealing to me because I found it easy to understand the options and configure online.
Festo CPV10 & CPA series are like the AutomationDirect version
I have used a few CPA as the picture shows and it reduces the wiring time.

My understanding is that each of those 2 modular valves can control 2 of my 3 GEMU valves, so I have one spare to drive a future 4th. modules.
Each valve module is designed to control only one GEMU valve.
Claudius’ Festo solution looks new…how does the price of something new like that compare to this $322 price tag?
I remember paying a lot more for my Festo CPA10 modules with more mounted valve modules too.
Look for SMC or Festo if you need quality and millions of reliable cycles for commercial application or on ebay low cost Asian made which work well for home brewing.

FestoCPA.jpg
 
Last edited:

MrShake

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 23, 2006
Messages
1,313
Reaction score
14
Those valves you are showing don't have the manual operation option nor do they have the position indicator. You're referring to the earlier KLD version valves that had those features (and more expensive).
Actually, by manual I meant via a switch, not via the turn knob on the KLD versions... I have toggle switches that allow me to open and close my valves outside of the BrewTroller control routines.
 
Top