Distillery Reduces Running Costs

Jura Whisky uses steam in the distilling process

Name: Andy Jardine     Role: Engineering Manager

Business: Jura Distillery

Company Background:

The Isle of Jura, nestled off the West Coast of Scotland is only 60 miles from Glasgow but takes a wee while to get there.

One road, one distillery, one pub, one shop and one community; but with over 5000 deer, Jura is an island with a unique spirit.

A land where myths, legends, superstition and the craft of whisky making has been handed down from generation to generation.

Tracing its origin back hundreds of years, whisky-making runs through this island and its people. From 1810, when the first distillery was built to 1963 to when the distillery was reborn, bringing hope and good-fortune back to the island once more.

It’s often been described as remote and even George Orwell went so far to say it was ‘the most un-get-at-able place’, whilst he was writing 1984.

Isle of Jura, Jura Distillery, Jura Whisky

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Byworth went to the Isle of Jura to meet with Andy Jardine to get his perspective on business with Byworth; the benefits of better boiler life; improved efficiency; uptime and improved customer satisfaction, and of course, how the distillery reduces running costs:

1 – What were the biggest issues you had with your previous boiler?

“The 18-year-old boiler had repeated NDT failures, needed regular repairs and the boiler house looked rundown.

“If you have a days lost production that means you don’t have 8000 litres to sell in 10 years time. This was also one of the reasons for installing two smaller boilers in place of a big one.”

2 – Why did you decide on Byworth and two Yorkshireman2 boilers?

“I chose Byworth because the price was competitive, and the promise of improved efficiency was appealing. I liked the feel of the company and felt comfortable in the early sales process.”

3 – So how did you find the initial sales process?

It is important for customers to see the level of competence shown in the early stages of the process. In this case, it led Andy to trust the company:

“It was good, Stephen [Sales Project Engineer] was very knowledgeable and took a lot of time to explain each of the elements in detail to help me understand.”

4 – How did you find the initial buying process when you chose Byworth as your supplier?

Communication plays a big part in the whole boiler project:

“I was speaking to Stephen right through to when the order was placed and that all went well.”

5 – How was the project from start to finish?

“It all went very easily for me which is what I wanted because of my workload. When I place an order for something, I just want it to happen properly, with minimal input from me.”

6 – How was the time period of the project?

“It was pretty quick, six months from placing the order to commissioning which was good.”

7 – How did you find the installation process?

“I wasn’t here for the exciting part, I didn’t see the old one getting lifted out and the new ones lifted in. But the employee’s onsite said it was quite impressive, the way it happened – so it was a shame I missed that.”

With boiler houses often being less than generous, getting boilers in and out of tricky positions is a skill Byworth has honed over a number of decades.

8 – How did you find the pricing structure of the project?

“It was fine, it was broken down into the parts; it was clear.”

Buying a boiler is one of the largest capital expenditures a business is likely to have (0.5 million project cost for the 2 on Jura). However, the efficiency gained can save you thousands of pounds in ongoing operating costs for the lifetime of the plant, something which Andy is all too aware of (Jura is using 12% less fuel as a direct result).

Andy then discussed the non-monetary benefits:

“Having a well laid out tidy boilerhouse encourages the team to respect it and keep it well maintained”

Industrial steam boiler used in the Whisky distilling process at Jura Distillery

Stuart Logan, Jura Distillery’s boiler operator

9 – Was it a concern of yours to have a product that was manufactured in the UK?

“It was an attraction. It was part of the appeal of Byworth, the fact that it is a UK based family company, and I had a good feel about it.”

10 – How did you find Byworth’s engineering staff?

“Dave Tilleard [Chief Technician] and Jason Atkinson [Control Systems Engineer] were superb – there is a lot of knowledge there, experience and good technical ability.”

11 – Was there anything remarkable that stood out from our product/service offerings from what you have normally come to expect from our industry?

Andy states:

“I come from a controls background so even Unity [Byworth’s control system] isn’t black magic to me, however, the remote support stands out. i.e. Engineers being able to go in and keep an eye on things remotely – again it’s not black magic but, you don’t get the feeling that Byworth have fitted the boilers, then walked away; instead you know that they’re keeping an eye on them.”

12 –  How satisfied are you with the boiler since the installation?

“Like any big project, it was a bit troublesome to start with but again Byworth kept the pressure on to resolve the issues and since the remedial work was done, it’s been trouble-free.”

Not all projects will be trouble free. Byworth understand that it is how you deal with the problem that defines the customer’s experience rather than the problem itself.

13 – Have you seen any significant costs and energy savings?

“We’re already seeing about a 12% fuel volume reduction with the new boilers compared to the old one. That will convert to financial savings…the new boilers are already providing return on investment on the whole package.”

These figures were taken within 3 months of the new boiler being installed. Andy continues to track the fuel and financial figures and Byworth will return to report on those figures towards the end of the year.

“The figure I look at is the volume of fuel required to make 1 litre of alcohol that we make. This takes out the variation of fuel cost and production level to give realistic savings from just the new boilers compared with the old one.”

When you allow for variation in the fuel price, Andy comments:

“The savings we’re getting from having a more efficient boiler are less at the moment because fuel prices are low but if the fuel price goes back up to what it was then obviously the savings will be larger.”

“We’re already seeing about a 12% fuel volume reduction with the new boilers compared to the old one. That will convert to financial savings…the new boiler is already providing return on investment on the whole package.”

14 – Have you reduced your carbon footprint with Unity or the new boilers?

“Using less fuel reduces your carbon footprint and that’s multifaceted because using less fuel reduces carbon all through the fuel supply chain. The reduction means maybe 2 less lorries a month having to come to Jura.”

15 – Why did you invest in Unity? What was the appeal for the addition compared to just buying the Yorkshireman 2 boilers?

“For the total control integration, the hotwell and steam meters, water meters etc. The appeal also of having remote access and being able to monitor the boilers, for me and for Byworth.”

“The interface is easy and intuitive and the touchscreen encompasses ease of use and navigation.”

16 – Had Byworth not had Unity, would you have gone with another supplier?

“No, I think the boilers sold themselves.”

17 – What devices to you access Unity with? Laptop? Mobile?

“I use both my laptop and mobile!”

18 – Having access to trend data, has it drawn your attention to any changes in the condition of the plant?

“Yes. That is me being nosy and wondering why there is a change in the plant! Now I can phone up the distillery and say why weren’t you taking steam at 3 am!?” Andy may visit the site only 4 times a year, so this is particularly advantageous.

“It gives me more insight and control, whereas before I was not aware of all the issues they’d have.”

Unity - boiler house control on Jura Distillery's boiler

19 – What would you say are the main benefits of a new boiler to anyone that has a boiler older than 10 years?

“There is an obvious improvement in technology as we have seen in Unity and with the supplied burners becoming more and more efficient.” The overall fuel efficiency is something you don’t get with the old boilers.”

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