First published: June 2007
Brewer & Distiller Magazine
– Vol 3 Issue 6
A historic £1m investment at French and Jupps
The new kiln based and machinery by Edwards Engineering (Perth) recently installed in the historic bottle kiln at French & Jupps Limited, the Hertfordshire manufacturer of coloured malt products, has just successfully commissioned a million-pound rebuild of its historic malt kiln. The circular brick building, originally constructed in 1885 by the great-grandfather of the present managing director, at the time when the company moved to Stanstead Abbotts from Brentford, required substantial civil engineering works to combat the ageing process and restore in strength and rigidity.
As a listed structure, a sympathetic approach to the history of the building was demanded. At the same time, the reconstruction work had to ensure that the resultant facility incorporated mechanism and process control facilities compliant with the most modern malting practices. The resultant creation forms a unique combination of 19th-century building design with the 21t century technology. The new facility produces dedicated batches of kilned malt for the ongoing production of black, chocolate and amber malt elsewhere within French and Jupps’ Stanstead Abbots’ complex
Mechanical detailing and manufacturing aspects of the contract were handled by the well respected Scottish construction company. Edwards Engineering (Perth) Limited, who produced a superbly engineered stainless-steel kiln loader/stripper unit together with an integrated under-floor support framework and malt discharge system. In order to guarantee conformity with the dimensional constraints within the existing building structure and, in an effort to minimise ultimate assembly times, the decision was taken to test build and run the complete unit in Edwards’ factory in Perth and then stripping it ready for re-assembly at Stanstead Abbotts.
This allowed the Edwards site installation team to achieve an amazing six-week construction programme from an empty shell to a working kiln, inclusive of new conveying equipment into and out of the process area. It was decided at an early stage that the new kiln should be indirectly heated and Flucorrex A.G of Flawil, Switzerland was approached to produce a bespoke variation of its “Varinox” design. Ventilation air for kilning is provided by a conventional 110kW variable-speed centrifugal fan built by Halifax Fans Limited of Brighouse. Automated process control is an essential feature of a modern malt kiln and this was undertaken by the Hertfordshire control engineering company of Max Wright Ltd.
The kiln capacity is variable according to production demands, the maximum loading time is one and a quarter hours while the stripping action occupies no more than 45 minutes. The method by which the kiln is discharged limits culm deposits and the under-floor plenum will need to be cleaned, it is estimated, perhaps once every two months. Current production schedules call for a batch every 48 hours but with kiln burn times averaging 14 hours plus an hour for cooling, the entire process could be achieved comfortably within a 24 batch period, if the need arose.
In conjunction with the French & Jupps production team, the project, from inception through to final commissioning and hand-over, was managed by Dr, Grahame Kelly of the Gloucestershire-based engineering company, Stock Redler Limited. The new kiln provides an outstanding blend of the most modern of mechanical and control engineering expertise set within a structure which is itself a testament to the remarkable longevity of the Victorian design.