Flexitherm | Alfa Laval

Flexitherm

Flexitherm™ is an automatic pasteurization machine for beer pasteurization. Flexitherm™ uses a pasteurization method that eliminates microbiological spoilage, achieves the right pasteurization temperature and preserves the quality and shelf life of beer and other carbonated drinks over a variable flow range. This pasteurization method is tailored to provide optimal, efficient thermal treatment of beer to be sent to aseptic filling systems.

Máquina de pasteurización Flexitherm de Alfa Laval automática para la pasteurización de cerveza

Solutions for pasteurization of beer - Eliminate micro-organisms and preserve beer quality

  • Reliable pasteurization units (PU) control system for stable product treatment (PU variations within +/- 10% of target level during constant operation
  • Minimum site work as the module is self-contained and pre-assembled with automatic control
  • Designed for CIP, the sanitary and compact module requires low maintenance, minimizing downtime
  • Effective energy recovery up to 95%
  • State-of-the-art automated control system featuring process continuously refined control refinements

Using the Flexitherm™ module for pasteurization of beer ensures a low hold-up volume in the PHE for minimum beer loss. Low water and energy consumption save further on beer, while the glue free clip-on gaskets save on time and resources. The well-structured PLC software is easily integrated into an automated control system.

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Flexitherm™

Flexitherm™ is a well-proven concept for high capacity brewery processing. It cuts operation costs by recovering up to 95% of heat*.

Specification

Approximate dimensions and weight depending on capacity range:

For capacity = 40hl/h,
Dimensions (LxWxH): 3.2m x 2.0m x 2.2m

For capacity = 400hl/h,
Dimensions (LxWxH): 4.0m x 3.6m x 2.6m

*Compared to a traditional tunnel pasteurizer, it improves overall water consumption by up to 0.42hl/hl, and improves the energy usage ratio by 5MJ/hl.

Flexitherm beer pasteurization wireframe
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Flexitherm™ Mini

Designed especially for craft brewers, Flexitherm™ Mini lets you save several recipes in the same unit with individual settings for different craft beers. 

Specification

Capacity: 5-50 hl/h (3 different modules)
Dimensions (LxWxH): 4,000 x 2,000 x 2,000 mm

Virtual Reality

Flexitherm mini beer pasteurization wireframe

How it works

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Alfa Laval Plate Heat Exchanger for beer pasterurization 

FLEXITHERM is a plate heat exchanger (PHE): A system for pasterurization of beer which eliminates or reduces the number of live micro-organisms in the product. It reduces microbiological spoilage and improves microbiological stability and increases product shelf life.

Achieving the right pasteurization temperature with Flexitherm™

Flexitherm™ achieves the required pasteurization temperature through a combination of heat and holding time. Cold, unpasteurized beer is heated in the PHE to the desirable pasteurization temperature in two steps. Automatic adjustment of FLEXITHERM flow to cater for variations in filling machine demand. Avoid product recirculation and risk of over pasteurization.

Flexitherm beer pasteurization process chart
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FAQs

Can an Alfa Laval Flexitherm solve my product shelf-life and/or stability issues?

Yes, if the issue is related to the presence of living microorganisms in the beer and the contamination occurs upstream. If the stability issue is related to something else or occurs downstream at the filling line or packaging area, for instance, the Flexitherm will not be able to solve the issue. If it is a colloidal stability issue like those experience with German wheat beers, then the process temperature must be raised beyond the level that a standard Flexitherm can handle. If this case, please contact Alfa Laval Brewery Systems so we can review and recommend a solution.

 

Is it possible to use hot water instead of steam as a heating media?

The Alfa Laval Flexitherm works as a standard with steam. If no steam is available, it is possible to modify the Flexitherm (at an extra cost) and run it using hot water. The temperature of the  hot water must be at least 90°C in order to sterilize the interior of the Flexitherm.

 

Can the Alfa Laval Flexitherm solve my contamination issues?

That depends. Yes if the contamination occurs upstream, and no if the contamination occurs after the Flexitherm, such as at the filling line, final packaging line, or receiving tank.

 

What is the typical commissioning time for the Flexitherm?

The typical commissioning time varies, depending on the use of a buffer tank. Commissioning a Flexitherm without buffer tank and routing generally takes about five days on site. It takes about 10 days on site when the Flexitherm has a buffer tank and routing in front of a filler.

 

How does the Flexitherm perform if my filler requires a certain pressure and/or flow rate?

A standard Flexitherm pasteurization machine is equipped with buffer tank and routing to ensure that the pressure after the buffer tank is constant—regardless of flow rate. This ensures that the requirements of the filler are met.

 

Can I pasteurize milk with a Flexitherm?

No. The Alfa Laval Flexitherm is not intended for milk pasteurization. Please contact our Global Alliance partner Tetra Pack for this application.

 

When are the electrical drawings available?

The electrical drawings are usually ready and available for your use about four weeks after you place your order.

 

Why is the maximum allowed deaeration water temperature set to 15°C?

The deaeration water temperature should be as close as possible to the temperature of the beer. If the temperature is too high, the system’s temperature variations will be too large when switching back to beer.

 

Can I apply my specific Cleaning-in-Place (CIP) recipe to the Flexitherm ? Can I use lye and acid?

The Flexitherm can tolerate any standard brewery CIP regimes. This includes caustic and acid cleaning. All wetted parts that come into contact with the product are made of stainless steel and all gaskets are made of EPDM. To be 100% sure, if you use an oxidative or chlorine-based cleaning regime, Alfa Laval recommends a visual inspection of the unit’s interior to identify any risk of corrosion.

 

I’ve heard other beer pasteurization suppliers are introducing sterile gas filters for air and CO2 to their beer pasteurizers. Will Alfa Laval also be doing the same?

Alfa Laval is aware of that other beer pasteurization suppliers are offering craft brewers sterile gas filters. However, we decided to remove this option for the Flexitherm Mini for the sake of price and simplicity. Based on experience, we know that sterile gas filters are not critical features to prevent contamination. The sterile gas filter is available as a standard option on our core range and, upon request, we can also offer sterile gas filters on the Alfa Laval Flexitherm Mini.

 

Can I install the Flexitherm just after my separator?

No. A Flexitherm requires the feed beer to be constant and maintained at a minimum required pressure to ensure that the pressure within the system during pasteurization is consistently high. Without uniform high pressure in the system, there will be cavitation issues, pressure drops and CO2 breakouts in the system.

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