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Conical from China

CR

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Conical Fermenter from China

There are a few companies in China that make fine looking Fermenters
Blichman ( type) valves  and  high polish

I can get a 50 liter unit for $375.00 USD
Great I was thinking till I called Fed Ex to see what shipping was.
That was disappointing.  They want  near a Grand to ship it.
I asked about  ten units: $7876.32 right down to the penny.
OUCH~!!
I'll ask the manufacturer about shipping maybe they can do better.

If course If I'm the shipper stateside I will likely have to leave it with Customs for six months while they quarantine it for inspections and to make sure it's not  carrying Asian insects etc.  I looked into shipping exotic lumber from Borneo  several years back and that was pretty much the SOP and the shipper pays for those six months of warehousing.   However, if I un-crate and disassemble it they may let it in sooner.   Customs has some discretion.

Here's a pix of the one I'm not likely to pay the Thousand dollars to ship here:
http://s1002.photobucket.com/albums/af143/zydaco/?action=view&current=fermenter2.jpg&newest=1
Mind you, I have no abandoned the idea.
I'm just deeply discouraged at the Fed Ex numbers.
 

SOGOAK

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That thing is beautiful.  They must have someone here that has bought them.

 

CR

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Well the manufacturer got back to me
$75.00 to ship from China
Fed Ex wanted a thousand?  And these guys can do it for $75.00~??
Moma didn't raise no fool. I kin tell the durferrunce atween a grand and sebenty fibe dollauh. 

They have a 40 Liter and a 50 Liter unit. 
Shipping's the same
Same If I buy  a passle of 'em.


This is starting to look more and more do-able

I may be the proud owner of a SST Conical.

Of course I have more than one company vying for my money so one never knows I may get it cheaper still.

As an aside a "brew pot" from one company was quoted at over two Thousand.
I'm guessing because it's custom made and the conicals are a  standard stock item.




 

stouttanks

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Hi Karma,

I have imported things from China before and have found that there are a lot of other costs they aren't telling you about. If you don't do your homework, you'll have an unpleasant surprise.  The $75 would only be for the space in a container, but that is just the beginning.  You probably need a customs broker and customs bond.  Plus, there are "handling fees" on this end (they are not going to let you go onto the ship and take it off yourself).  Then you have to get it from the harbor to you (more cost).  Want to make sure you get it?  Then buy insurance, too.  Oh yeah, did they mention that there is a minimum?  While it won't be a thousand like FedEx, it will be many hundreds of dollars for just the one item.

Cheers,
 

CR

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Yah I  figured there'd be some king of fee to unload the container.
More the concern for me is  the  customs Kabuki dance.
Port Newark has been difficult to get on the horn while Customs is easy.
The Customs guys don't mind chatting the process out, but  the guys with the cranes  are like "Go away kid ya bother me."

 

sickbrew

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I thought those looked familiar.

Looks like a California Company is looking at selling these units and the companion brew kettles.

If their prices on corny kegs are any indication, this could be your vendor.

http://www.chicompany.net/conical-fermenters-257/

cheers
 

SleepySamSlim

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Just have to add my 2cents on this thread ---- Looking at the past decade and all the safety issues (lead etc) with products from China I'd have to really question the value of these fermenters. Especially since they are going to be used in processing a food product. Cheap labor no doubt is part of the low price ... but have to also wonder about steel quality and welding wire used. China remains the "wild west" of manufacturing - virtually a law-less environment.

Yeah American made conicals are more costly but are a known product and the manufacturer will be there if you have issues ... just saying
 

MaltLicker

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I've sourced hand tools from China and Taiwan and there are so many variables that you take for granted from known vendors and you have to verify everything from China, and as far as vendor/customer relationships, you want contracts.  As a sole consumer buying "one each" from them directly, you'd have no such protections.  Buying one from this US supplier at a slightly higher price would probably be worth it.
 

CR

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Yah I'd normally agree but the USA price  is like twice or treble the Chinese price.
Find me a good 50-Liter conical for under $500.00
This one is $350 + $75 for shipping. Add a couple hundred at dockside  for handling customs and duty and  it may tally $500.00 or so




 

MaltLicker

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But if it leaks, or just has a non-sanitary weld, and you must find and pay a qualified s/s welder, and/or then you find it is not really food-grade s/s or has some lead (or whatever) in it, you may have little recourse. 

The reason s/s is so darn expensive is that world-wide demand (including in China) is higher than supply. 

Might be worth first getting proof of the grade of s/s they use, or ask the US supplier for pix or references from a happy customer. 

My LHBS tried some cheaper Italian s/s pots and ate most of them for leaky valves. 
 

Maine Homebrewer

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If it turns out to be junk, what do you do?  Do you return it?  What do they give you back? 
It's not like you're buying it from K-Mart.  You can't take it back.
 

CR

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Chinese = crap
and
If it turns out to be junk, what do you do?  Do you return it?  What do they give you back? 
It's not like you're buying it from K-Mart.  You can't take it back.

OK, I get it.  You don't like the idea of buying things from China.

However,  Made in China does  not automatically  mean bad.
Once long ago, in another  universe, far away, the imprimatur "Made in the USA" meant that whatever you had, was most likely the  gold standard.  Those days are long gone.  I doubt they will return in my lifetime.
Meanwhile the Chinese are  making substantial headway.  They are hungry for advancement and success, and it shows. 


 

CR

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how very interesting.
Curious that they couldn't get a 10+ gallon brew pot.  Instead they have some liter size that's 9.2 gallons
But the prices are pretty appealing.


 

Maine Homebrewer

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Curious that they couldn't get a 10+ gallon brew pot.  Instead they have some liter size that's 9.2 gallons

9.2 gallons < 35 liters < 9.25 gallons.

OK, I get it.  You don't like the idea of buying things from China.

It's not that it's from China and China means crap, as much as that you can't easily return it easily if something is wrong with it.
Would you purchase a dozen of the things and sell them, risking the headache if one of your customers returns a bad unit?
If you do, let me know.  I might buy one if you'll give me a refund if it turns out to be cheap Chinese crap. 

If you buy one for yourself and it turns out to be cheap Chinese crap, what are you going to do?
 
A

avanoah

Yes i could do it. Yes its risky and hard nut to crack but i could do that.
 

CR

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If you buy one for yourself and it turns out to be cheap Chinese crap, what are you going to do?

Fair question and one that should I think lead to a "teachable moment."

First off:  A tank is such simple thing that  it is hard to imagine that a company regularly engaged in the business of making  the very think I'm looking at (a standard production item no special order)  would be unable to  produce a perfectly fine product.
It beggers the imagination that they would fail at such a straight forward thing.

They'd have to screw it up terribly to make a unit so bad that it was unusable.
Remember you can fix any bad weld that has those horrid little pores that trap bacteria with a good  quality high flow, low temp melt,  silver solder and a MAPP torch.  If you are fortunate enough ot have a nitrogen tank to flood the solder area it's even easier, but not necessary.  The key is low melt point, not that crap the sell at Home Depot.

Plus like any smart purchaser, I'd have the wisdom and forethought to purchase an insurance rider against shipping damage.
In the law,  unless you have an agreement stating otherwise, the purchaser  bears the liability of  damage after an item leaves the manufacturer's dock.  You can hold the shipper responsible, but you will have to go to court for that.  So  it is so much  easier and better to buy an inexpensive Rider from your  home owner's insurance company.  That way if your piece of equipment arrives crushed  like a tortilla, you are covered.

One could (and I might do such a thing)  I can also purchase a surety bond to cover the actual manufacturer's description of the product.  A surety bond  Is nothing but an insurance policy that guarantees a certain level of performance stated in the bond's terms. In a case such as this ( any manufacturing or construction application) the manufacturer's product description and engineering drawings would comprise the substance of the guarantee.  such a bond can even covering the date of delivery too. 
These things are not terribly expensive.

So in this case  such a  surety bond would  cover the risk of loss if the manufacturer fails to perform and keeps the  money or  delivers crap, or makes it from inferior metal not according to the specifications etc..    Surety Bonds are as common as pig tracks on a farm, in the world of manufacturing and  construction.

Who ever you get your home owner's insurance from will be able to set you up with these sorts of insurance products.

All  of your  perfectly reasonable objections about buying from China also inhere when buying anything from anyone who is not willing to offer you  an enforceable warranty on everything from the product to the shipping.  Those objections are solved by purchasing the correct insurance.  It's cheap easy and you are covered.


 

CR

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WYZAZZ linked me to these guys earlier on in this thread
http://conical-fermenter.com/products/
They have a 14.5 gallon conical for $400
and a 7 gallon conical for $275.00

they also have a very interesting  9.2 gallon boil kettle for $200.00 with a little cone in the bottom for your  whirlpool trub and waste
But they also make 19.8 gallon  one for $299

Kind of odd  they go from 9.2 to almost 20 gallons with nothing inbetween
I'm asking them about  a mid size kettle and if they can weld on SST  flanges
 

CR

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The folks at  http://conical-fermenter.com/ answered my  query
I had a bunch of questions I asked them  in numbered paragraph format which are quoted below:


QUESTION 1.) Can you make a larger brew kettle say: 14 or 15 gallons to facilitate 10 gallon batches? If so, what is the Up-charge? ( I notice you have a custom order $299.00, 19.2gallon kettle.)

***********NO ANSWER


QUESTION 2.) In your last e-mail, you spoke to the possibility of outfitting a brew Kettle with two or three welded on Stainless flanges threaded to 1" to accept standard water heater elements.
---------- (i) What would the Up-Charge be per flange?
----------(ii) FLANGE: The industry standard is 1" NPSM <http://www.plumbingworld.com/plumbingabbreviations.html>
----------(iii) I’d want them placed with the flange center line 1.5” up from the upper rim of the bowl (cone) in the bottom of the brew Kettle (assuming the flange didn’t interfere). I could fax you a sketch with a signed authorization if you need that.
----------(iv) I can send you a sample of the heater element in question. Could you work from that?

**************ANSWER:
They don’t want to quote this because they  have aesthetic objections to brewing electrically.  He said  that he thinks it’ll be problematic for cleaning.
PERIOD ~!!  I am guessing that it's just not worth his bother to go to his  Chinese Manufacturer and ask them to do it.
They must sell a lot of equipment to  be able blow me off like that I was talking about a 15  gallon Conical & a kettle.
Now I am unsure I want to do business with them.  They said they could do custom work and  they wont?



QUESTION 3.) What is your product warranty?

*************ANSWER:
“I don't have the ability to fix problems - my products are made to my specification and I inspect them before accepting them.  The welds overall are excellent.”

(((((( So there is no warranty. You get what they ship to you and  if it sucks, then it's your problem.)))))
--------------------------------- wow ----------------------------------------
Wasn't the idea of warranty and customer service the major reasons to buy in the USA?



4.) What grade of Stainless are you using and what is the wall thickness of the Kettle and Fermenter?

************NO ANSWER
((((((( He's got no way to know.  So long as it's shiny and magnets don't stick then it's golden? ))))))

5.) If a fermenter has a weld that turns out to have porosity harboring bacteria do you have a silver solder that can flow and fill pores or do you take it back and re-weld & grind all the welds?

*************ANSWER I am guessing that  the answer is the same as to the warranty question  #3.
He thinks it’s good enough  and that is all there is to it.  There is no warranty.  Nothing NADA Zip.


QUESTION 6.) I noticed you have a hose barb on the sanitary line from the Fermenter valve.
----------(i) what is the diameter?
----------(ii) are other sizes available?

************NO ANSWER

QUESTION  7.) Are you able to produce an inline type (Cold Plate) Heat Exchanger that can be boiled or baked in an oven to sterilize it, which will, when connected, chill the wort? Say 10 Gallons at 212 Deg F to 60 Deg F in 10 minutes?

**************ANSWER: 
He told me to use an immersion instead and that baking and boiling won't clean a plate type  chiller.
I think he just doesn't want to ask his Chinese manufacturer to quote a  One-Off and can't think his way through to making it a part  of his product line.
******************************************************

All in all he offered me not one single reason to do business with him.
Yah the fermenter is like $200.00 less than a Blichmann.
Yah the Kettle has a nice design and is cheaper than a Blichmann ( but I wasn't looking at Blichmann's kettle I was looking at a $145 Aluminum stock pot type kettle.
He advertises the ability to make custom but then when asked backed away from it entirely.
He pooh pooed the idea of electric brewing - (really weird) - speaking to me as if he is an authority on the topic without giving me any reason to think that he might be.

His exact words were:
"I am a believer in simple solutions and processes, so I would suggest you look into a propane type burner to put your brew kettle on.  Fewer fittings to deal with mean cleaner brew and easier cleanup.  You are also likely to get significant residue build up on your heating elements, which may damage them and/or be harbingers of bacteria."

Which (while polite enough)  is all nothing but pure unadulterated speculation (besides being just plain wrong).
I think it's really that  he  doesn't want to ask China to drill a couple holes.








 
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