Graco believe that grape processing should be as gentle as possible. Grapes are the cornerstone of the winery business, making the grape processing critical to use the most reliable pump available. Diaphragm pumps are useful in the wine industry because they are easy to clean and maintain.
The diaphragm pumps can be run dry without damage and as they operate using compressed air, there is no danger of electrocution. Most importantly they are gentle on the juice or wine. For over 25 years, Graco have been manufacturing pumps for the sanitary food industry.
Their stainless steel piston pumps have been the workhorses of the wine-producing industry for many of these years. The last decade has changed this with the introduction of progressive cavity, lobe pumps, peristaltic, and centrifugal pumping technologies. While newer versions of piston pumps are a viable option for wine treatment, air operated diaphragm pumps have also recently found a place in many of the world’s wineries.
Diaphragm pumps are well suited for barrel work, filtration, pumping over, and bottling. Diaphragm pumps are ideal for moving juice. Graco’s line of FDA-compliant pumps can move up to 9,000 gallons per hour. Diaphragm pumps can also be placed on hand-carts, making them even more portable, saving the wineries time based on the many different needs and applications within a single winery. As diaphragm pumps are air-operated, they require a suitable air-compressor.
Graco’s FDA-compliant pumps are available in two types. Both have stainless steel fluid sections, but Graco also offers aluminum or stainless steel options for the air or center section. The second feature of the Graco diaphragm pumps is the air valve.
The Graco air valve features a patented slide-valve technology that is simple and easy to maintain. The repair kit features only nine parts and takes around 10 minutes to service. Other diaphragm pump manufacturers use a spool valve design that features far more replacement parts. The simple design of the Graco air valve does not require the entire pump to be disassembled in order to service the air valve, nor does it require lubrication.
With wine consumption growing globally, it is easy to get to the point where pumps have to work too hard to meet the winery’s production requirements. To resolve this issue, wineries have learned to oversize their pumps. If pumps are oversized for the application, they have to work much less, consuming less air which makes them more efficient, and they will be better suited to keep up with any changes in production needs or a growing demand.
Whether driven by quality, quantity or efficiency, wineries are always looking for better ways to get the job done. And like so many other elements of this business, pumps continue to evolve based on both technology and demand–making it possible for diaphragm pumps to potentially be the new universal pumps at wineries.