Modern wine making and stainless steel go hand in hand: today stainless is practically the exclusive tank and piping material from fermentation to the storage of table wine. Rigorous product development further strengthens that relationship. Groundbreaking changes in stainless steel grades create new possibilities and significant cost savings, as demonstrated in cutting-edge tanks in southern Spain.
Process demands precision
Wine storage tanks have traditionally been built from two grades of austenitic stainless steel for the uppermost section and roof. A more corrosion-resistant grade is used to prevent pitting corrosion at tank tops caused by sulfides, which are added to avoid conversion of wine to acid. The two austenitic grades are used cold-rolled, with a smooth surface to allow for easy washing, and hot-rolled where structural purposes demand higher strength. But when Garcia Carrión, a leading Spanish wine producer and exporter, joined forces with one of Spain’s top tank fabricators, Martinez Sole y Cia, to build 66 new storage tanks at the Garcia Carrión production facility in Daimiel in southern Spain, that approach presented a challenge. Soaring nickel prices made tank construction quite costly.
Outokumpu’s Forta duplex proprietary grades – Forta LDX 2101 and DX 2304 – provided a solution. With lower nickel content, these Forta duplex grades deliver major cost savings, and corrosion resistance that is at least as good as that of the austenitic grades, and often better. Additional savings come from the high strength of all Forta duplex grades, which allows use of thinner gauges for lighter structure. In building the world’s first wine storage tanks formed from Forta stainless, Martinez Sole can use thinner, either hot- or cold-rolled coil, instead of thicker hot-rolled material.
Outokumpu is one of the few manufacturers, who provide 2-meter-wide and 72-inch-wide coils well matched to state-of-the-art product engineering. Extra-wide material means fewer welds and faster installation. In addition to 520 tonnes of Forta duplex material used in the roof and top tier of each tank, Outokumpu provided all of the austenitic steel for the project.