Removal of Char from Whisky
Springbank Distillery in Campbeltown, producers of Springbank, Hazelburn and Longrow whiskies was established in
1828 on the site of Archibald Mitchell’s illicit still and today is in the hands of Mitchell’s great, great grandson – the fifth
generation of the Mitchell family to own and manage Springbank.
The whisky is still made using traditional methods, making the whiskies the most handmade in Scotland. 100% of the
process is carried out onsite (malting, kilning, mashing, fermentation, distillation, cask filling, maturation as well as
bottling & labelling). Fileder worked with Springbank Distillery originally to supply an RO unit along with sediment and
carbon prefilters for the water they use for reduction.
At a site meeting with the new Director of Production – Findlay Ross, it was mentioned that the traditional sheet filters
in the plate and frame set up supplying the bottling line were soaking up some of the whisky which was making it
difficult to hit the loss figures they strive to work to. In addition, the sheet filters were causing a loss in colour of the
final product due to the fine level of filtration (1-2μm).
Fileder presented the solution of replacing the plate and frame with the SPECTRUM Premier Pleated Polypropylene
cartridge at 10μm to reduce the level of final filtration and retain the caramel colour in the final product, as well as
retaining considerably less whisky than the sheets. This cartridge offers a large surface area and low pressure drop
and is made from 98% high efficiency sharp cut-off media. The existing prefilter to the filter sheets was a 20μm
string wound which was blocking very quickly. Fileder suggested swapping this basic technology cartridge with the
SPECTRUM TruDepth Premier spun-bonded filters at 50μm and 20μm as they are constructed from finer fibres and
feature deep surface grooves to maximise the filtration surface area, increase flow rate, lower pressure drop and
maximise dirt holding capability thus extending the service life.
The filtration cascade Fileder specified was initially installed on the semi-automated line and has now been replicated
on the faster automated line.
“I am delighted at the positive improvements we have experienced onsite following changing to the Fileder set
up from the sheets we used to use. We originally decided on the changes to reduce the losses in spirit we were
experiencing but the other improvements we have experienced would be almost reason alone to change and our
expectations have been exceeded.
The improvements we have seen are below;
- The cartridges are retaining minimal amounts of spirit and there is no leakage from the bottom of the trays.
Before with the sheets we were getting an average of 2.18L of wastage per run and now the worst we’ve seen
is 1.3L with the average being around 0.4L.
- Reduced filter change outs – previously we would have approximately three changeouts of sheets per 8-hour
shift and this took at least 10 minutes per change or longer if there were issues.
- Filter changes are easier and take less time.
- The space saving is impressive with the filter press apparatus and pipework removed as well as the sheet
storage area no longer being required.
- The spirit is cleaner than before – we were getting some dirty spirit left over which we were having to add back
into the VATs for distribution and re-filtering in the past.
- We have experienced significant cost saving both direct through less losses of spirit as well as indirect through
efficiencies as mentioned above.”