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ABB flowmeters help keep Macallan whisky at its peak 

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ABB flowmeters ensure correct flow rates and spirit strength in premium whisky production after move to new production site

Accurate measurement delivered by a range of ABB flowmeters is helping the company behind the world-renowned Macallan whisky brand to maintain its high product quality standards following its move to its new 187.2M USD distillery.   

The groundbreaking new Macallan distillery in Craigellachie, Speyside, is owned by the Edrington Group  and replaces the previous distillery that had reached its peak production capacity. With an increased production capacity of 30 percent, the new distillery will produce premium new make spirit with the help of a selection of highly accurate ABB flowmeters. 

The flowmeters were installed and commissioned by ABB channel partner JWF Ltd, which won the bid to supply a turnkey measurement solution for the distillery.  

 

 

"Because the site is quite remote, after sales service is vital for us. Quality and cost are very important, but support is critical, which is why we found the JWF and ABB offer so compelling. Both companies have already demonstrated that they will remain onsite until any issues are resolved.” 
Raymond Bain, Project Engineer, Electrical and Control for Edrington

The different stages of the whisky production process, which all need accurate and reliable measurement, require different types of flowmetering technologies. JWF used ABB’s range of electromagnetic, swirl and vortex and Coriolis flowmeters to meet these needs, as well its 261 series pressure transmitters. 

ABB’s WaterMaster electromagnetic flow meters are used to measure the volume of cooling water which is sourced from boreholes on the Macallan Estate. In another unusual application, additional WaterMaster flowmeters are also used to help ensure that the distillery’s distinctive 14,000m2 grass roof is not over-watered. A key feature of the distillery’s design, the rooftop meadow was created to blend in with the surrounding countryside.   

The distilling process itself employs 36 copper stills, which are exact replicas of the original ones used in the company’s old distillery. ABB Swirl meters are used in the actual spirit production as they can measure very low flow rates. Swirl meters were also the best fit as the raw spirit is not as conductive as water and therefore magnetic flow meters were not suitable. 

The ABB SwirlMaster FSS430 is the basic meter for volume flow applications. It offers excellent vibration compensation and enables user friendly intuitive operation. It is also flexible in installation, as it can cope with short inlet and outlet sections, reducing the upstream and downstream lengths of straight pipe run by up to 75 percent. 

ABB VortexMaster flowmeters are used to measure the flow of steam and condensate from the site’s steam supply to the distillation vessels. VortexMaster meters are ideal for cost- effective steam mass flow as they employ integral temperature measurement, eliminating the cost, space and potential measurement errors associated with using separate devices. 

During the mashing process, ABB CoriolisMaster FCB 450 meters are used. 

 

 

“During the process we also need to check how much spirit is being produced and ABB CoriolisMaster meters are the only ones able to provide a density measurement in addition to flow rate, indicating the alcohol content of the wort. We make spirit at 72 percent and need to reduce the strength to 67-68 percent. ABB’s Coriolis flowmeters help ensure the spirit is at the correct strength before loading for transportation.” 

ABB CoriolisMaster flowmeters employ DensiMass software for direct concentration measurement and FillMass software for filling application control. This makes them ideal for the loading of the tankers for transporting spirit to the bottling plant. 

Some 64 ProcessMaster FEP300 series electromagnetic flow meters are used for various process water applications, including wort flow measurement. The unit’s high accuracy of 0.4% of measured value, combined with ease of use, low maintenance costs and high longevity makes them ideal for standard measurement applications in a wide range of industries. 

Other products used in the applications include the ABB 261GS Gauge Pressure transmitter, which can be used in a wide range of process and ambient conditions due to its high corrosion resistance. A total of 78 of these are used in applications such as pressure measurement of the eight spirit stills, inlet steam pressure for the stills, cooling water line pressure and pressure and steam inlet pressure for the wash stills. Their large turndown ratio of 20:1 makes them ideal for warning if the stills are in danger of collapse, which can occur at pressures of below 25 millibar. 

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“The global prestige of the Macallan whisky brand means that literally only the very best will do when it comes to the performance of the equipment used in the whisky production process. Widely recognized for their accuracy and reliability, our flowmeters are perfectly matched to applications such as this where precise measurement is key to ensuring a high quality product.” 

- David Bowers, Product Manager Pressure and Process Flow for ABB Measurement and Analytics

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