There are valve manufacturers, and then there is Sherwood Valve. Sherwood is at the very top of the pile when it comes to producing valves for industrial applications — from medical gas implementation to pneumatic system operation. But what about the beverage production market?
This is what we’re going to be exploring in our latest article as we examine just why Sherwood has become such an important name in the beverage industry. Across the world, leading manufacturers and producers swear by their Sherwood valve products. Read on to discover more about why this is, and why you should consider Sherwood within your own operations.
Sherwood Valves’ Background
Sherwood Valve has spent over 100 years manufacturing leading quality industrial valves for all kinds of businesses in all kinds of fields. With a headquarters in Pittsburgh and two manufacturing centers within the USA, the company focuses on delivering superlative products made and monitored here in America.
The company’s reputation has grown substantially over the last century, and its valves are utilized by some of the world’s premier drinks manufacturers. As well as a staunch commitment to customer care and support, Sherwood Valve is a member of a number of different national and international bodies, including the Compressed Gas Association (CGA), the International Oxygen Manufacturers Association (IOMA), and the American Societies of Test Methods and Quality Engineers (ASTM and ASQE).
What Makes Sherwood Valves So Well Suited to the Beverage Industry?
While Sherwood is certainly a well-respected name in the industrial gases field — thanks to their long history of providing top-quality valves to businesses across a broad spectrum of industries — beverage production is a highly specialized form of manufacturing. As beverage production facilities are handling goods designed for direct public consumption, managers need to know that the valves they are using are designed expressly for this purpose, and for the gases that will be used in carbonation.
With this in mind, what makes Sherwood valves the right choice in this specific context — i.e., the field of carbonated beverage production? Let’s take a look at some of the aspects that make Sherwood the manufacturer of choice for some of the world’s leading beverage producers.
Sherwood produces a wide variety of valves, covering a comprehensive array of different gases used in industry. Different forms of gas require their own specialized valve, which is why Sherwood provides valves rated for CO2 — featuring the standardized fitting required to integrate with carbon dioxide hardware such as cylinders and pipe connectors.
The CO2 valve in the Sherwood Valve range is classified as CGA 320, with a 3/4″ fitting. Tapered thread models are available for use with specific types of cylinders.
Safety and Reliability
Pressured gases can be dangerous if they are not handled and stored correctly, which means all system components need to be strong enough to withstand high pressure and avoid any leakage. Sherwood valves are constructed using a heavy-duty forged brass, easily capable of withstanding the pressures associated with beverage carbonation.
The valves also include a burst disk or rupture disk — a pressure release system that serves as an important safety component. If the pressure gets too great within the valve, the disk will ease some of this pressure, averting a potentially dangerous situation.
Rigorous testing and assessment helps to guarantee the ongoing safety and reliability of the valve. This is how Sherwood has become one of the most trusted names in the industrial gas handling market, and in the beverage production market specifically.
The valve manufacturing process utilizes precision machining to ensure standardization during production. This means all finished valve products integrate seamlessly with network connectors and can be operated easily and simply. The testing and assessment described above is also important here, as it helps to ensure a high level of performance once the valve is deployed. Automation also plays a role — key aspects of manufacture and testing are automatic, so Sherwood is able to guarantee repeatable results and high performance when producing large batches of valves.
Metal-to-metal seals are another important feature, preventing excessive pressure on valve threads. This is designed to prevent seizing or locking within the valve, supporting effective operation even over the long term. When threads are torqued under pressure, they can lock in place, making valves difficult to operate or maintain — the seals are designed to avoid this.
Optimized O-ring and double O-ring seals provide additional operability. These O-rings reduce friction within the valve itself, helping to retain ongoing levels of performance, even after long periods of deployment.
Deployment Potential in Premix and Postmix Carbonation Models
The most obvious application for Sherwood valves within the beverage carbonation process is within a premix system. Premix refers to adding the carbonation to the beverage during the manufacturing process. All ingredients are added to the beverage and then the mixture is carbonated, ready for packaging and distribution. This is the common form of carbonation ahead of retail sales in stores, where customers can purchase readymade drinks that can be immediately consumed.
This requires the deployment of high-quality valves and other solutions within the manufacturing facility itself. Beverage manufacturers can utilize Sherwood valves rated for carbon dioxide as they add CO2 to the mix in a safe and reliable manner.
Carbonation can also be added postmix. Using this method, ingredients are added to the mixture in a concentrated form, creating a viscous syrup that is not ready for human consumption. While the syrup is safe to consume, it has not yet been diluted, so it will be unpalatable for the customer. The concentrated syrup is shipped to locations such as bars and restaurants where it is diluted with carbonated water, ready for consumption. This is a more cost-effective method of distributing beverages to locations where guests and customers will consume the beverage on-site.
While CO2 is not added at the manufacturing facility, Sherwood valves still have a role to play. Sherwood’s cylinder valves can be used for adding carbonation to the mixture at the point of sale, generally as part of a larger postmix machine. Alternatively, they may be used to add CO2 to the purified water ready for mixing. Regardless of the business and manufacturing model being used, CO2 still needs to be stored, managed, and then added to the mix at some point along the beverage’s journey to the consumer. As such, Sherwood valves are important components within the process.