Bratney Companies

Hops Pelleting Facility

Turn-key hops processing, pelleting and packaging plant.
Turn-key hops processing, pelleting and packaging plant.
bag house filter, cyclone collector, rotary airlock and screw conveyor feeding two hops mixers
bag house filter, cyclone collector, rotary airlock and screw conveyor feeding two hops mixers
Concetti open mouth bagging line with nitrogen flush system.
Concetti open mouth bagging line with nitrogen flush system.
Concetti open mouth bagging machine with form, fill and seal module.
Concetti open mouth bagging machine with form, fill and seal module.
Scott mixers in this Bratney designed hops pelleting plant.
Scott mixers in this Bratney designed hops pelleting plant.
Pelleted hops are packaged in a variety of open mouth bag sizes or tote bags.
Pelleted hops are packaged in a variety of open mouth bag sizes or tote bags.
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Bratney Companies collaborative approach to design-build construction was rewarded with a contract to design a turn-key hops pelleting plant. The greenfield project faced several challenges from coordination of many stakeholders, local permitting regulations and a complex, yet flexible process arrangement that allows for careful monitoring of the material as it flows through the system.  The processing line concludes with a Concetti packaging system designed specifically to fill a unique combination of both pre-made and form, fill and seal bags.

Bratney’s process design team started with the end in mind, developing an extremely flexible process flow that converts baled whole cone hops to pelleted hops.  The plant was designed to handle an initial capacity of 3 tons per hour with the ability to expand it to 6 tons per hour. Specific attention was given to three critical areas particular to processing hops:

  • hops are not free flowing so extra steps were taken in the design and installation of the material handling equipment, transitions and spouting to eliminate hang up points and prevent bridging

  • the process flow was done to ensure easy access to the process equipment and conveyance and equipment features were added to aide cleanout as the resin in hops tends to build up on contact parts and must be cleaned

  • great care was taken to prevent and reduce the hops exposure to both heat and oxygen, two items that are detrimental to the overall quality of the pelletized hops 

Bratney’s packaging division worked extensively with our packaging partner, Concetti, to develop a unique, automated system to package and preserve the quality of the pelleted hops in hermetically sealed polyethylene bags. The turn key packaging line included many features specific to the application including:

  • Concetti open mouth bagging machine with a form fill and seal option – one system capable of running both pre-made bags with a re-closable zipper and FFS bags from a tubular PE reel

  • Nitrogen flush system to remove oxygen from the bag before sealing, preserving the freshness, aroma and taste of the hops

  • Automated case erecting and closing system into which filled bags are placed by hand

Due to the complicated nature of the project delivery and the many stakeholders involved in the planning  and construction of the facility, Bratney’s construction management skills were tested often. Careful coordination and communication were required to ensure that the needs of all operations, architects, contractors and permitting authorities were met.

Project Scope – Turn Key Hops Pelleting and Packaging Plant

  • process design and engineering

  • project management

  • construction management

  • millwright services

  • equipment selection and supply

  • equipment installation

  • process line startup and commissioning

  • operator training

Project Details
  • Greenfield design-build construction project

  • Design started in December and the facility was operational for the following year’s harvest

  • 3 ton per hour receiving capacity, expandable to 6 ton per hour

  • Automatic Concetti bagging line with nitrogen flush system to preserve pelleted hops and option to run both pre-made and FFS bags

  • Integration of five different process equipment suppliers from various parts of the world

  • Considerable planning and coordination to keep project on schedule and budget

Equipment Solutions
  • Bliss milling equipment (hammer mills, pellet mills, pellet cooler)

  • Scott mixers

  • Carothers air systems 

  • Concetti automated packaging Systems

  • Anex gentle handling continuous cup elevators

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