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Old April 9th, 2013, 08:36 AM
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Default RO's and how it changes your entire operation

My operation was a money pit because I heat with oil and don't have a fee wood source. I would make $7,500.00 worth of syrup wholesale and spend $5,800.00 in oil to cook it. This year I made $7,400.00 syrup and spent $1,500.00. Yes I know I will have higher electric bill and propane for heat but not 4300 worth.
The things that also changed is the social aspect of the entire operation I cooked 8 hours a day during sap runs and now its 2 1/2 to 4 hrs every other day. Friends call up and say are you cooking today and now the answer is I started and will be done in an hr so hurry. Then your so busy watching the RO, evap and transfer pump to finisher you are hopping the entire time.
I also cook for 3 hrs and clean for the next 4. Im not complaining but it changed all aspects of the operation.
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Old April 9th, 2013, 02:03 PM
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Sounds like it was a good change. I would say by next year you will be much more use to it. I think any major improvement is like that. With the new gasification arch i am at almost 60gph and 2 gph of syrup. Its a big change with more to watch and worry about. Sat down a total of 5 minues in about 30 hours of boiling!
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Old April 9th, 2013, 02:18 PM
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I switched from a 30 by 10 setup with flat pans to my 2x10 raised flue "modern" system. Way, way more efficient, way way faster, way way more work to boil on. Friday night we had 500 gallons of sap to cook at the end of the day and Sunday was our big pancake breakfast event, where we actually have to limit how much syrup each person can buy so everyone gets some. Normally the breakfast, which is alway the first sunday in April is at the end of the season for us, but not this year. We hadn't made more than 16 gallons by Friday, so the pressure was on. Got up early Saturday, boiling by 7:00 and cooked 22 gallons by the end of the day, while bottling all of it and the other 16 in quarts. That was the most running around I have ever done while cooking. Never a dull moment, but man was that fun. I don't think I would ever want to deal with an RO. We are lucky to have a good wood supply, and I think if I ever want to get bigger, I'll just get a bigger evaporator. Like you say, people like to come hang out while you're boiling, and I'd hate to cut that down.
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Old April 9th, 2013, 04:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Haynes Forest Products View Post
My operation was a money pit because I heat with oil and don't have a fee wood source. I would make $7,500.00 worth of syrup wholesale and spend $5,800.00 in oil to cook it. This year I made $7,400.00 syrup and spent $1,500.00. Yes I know I will have higher electric bill and propane for heat but not 4300 worth.
The things that also changed is the social aspect of the entire operation I cooked 8 hours a day during sap runs and now its 2 1/2 to 4 hrs every other day. Friends call up and say are you cooking today and now the answer is I started and will be done in an hr so hurry. Then your so busy watching the RO, evap and transfer pump to finisher you are hopping the entire time.
I also cook for 3 hrs and clean for the next 4. Im not complaining but it changed all aspects of the operation.
I completely agree with this. I have even had time to go visit with other sugar makers while they were boiling. They give you a weird look when you leisurely walk in during the biggest run of the year and they are swimming and planning on 12-15 hour boils. Meanwhile back in the SH, the RO is chugging along.

Boil time is way down, wood usage is way down, but cleaning time is up. That is a change i can take!
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Old April 9th, 2013, 05:00 PM
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I agree that the RO is your biggest money saver in the sugarhouse. I don't see how it substantially changes your cleanup time. When our RO goes off I normally have about an hour's boiling time left. In that time, I flush the sweet from the membrane into the feed tank, do a 15 minute rinse and get the RO onto high temp wash - which maybe takes 5 minutes of my time to change filters and manipulate valves. By the time I'm done firing, filtering syrup, washing tanks, washing the filter press, loading the truck and the other odds and ends the RO is often shut off on high temp and it takes 30 seconds to get it on the long rinse cycle - which runs overnight while I sleep.
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Old April 9th, 2013, 07:03 PM
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Keeping the RO clean is the easy part. Its the syrup pans that need to be switched out mid day and a total clean at night. Now the flue pan is in need of power washing every day.
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Old April 9th, 2013, 07:22 PM
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Chuck, i heard of guys filling the pans with permeate to clean them out, have you at least tried it with the flue pan?
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Old April 9th, 2013, 09:24 PM
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Yes Mark Casper recommended it and I tried it. I liked the results but didn't have the tank capacity to have enough permeate to do it more than once. Next year I, going to add a few more tanks so I can use it for all my cleaning.
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Old April 9th, 2013, 11:59 PM
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Would condensate from the pre-heater and hood qualify as mineral-free water, the same as permeate?
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Old April 10th, 2013, 08:57 AM
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Default Thr ro changes everything

I Have to re think alot of things for next season. The ro changes everything . I have a bottleneck at clean up and canning time. I need to get the ro out of my basement and into the sugarhouse = addition. I have enough wood for next year ( left over} I am spending less time boiling but I alwayse felt that time in the sugarhouse was money lost .... If I can be hauling in more fresh sap then isint that money in my pocket. I was thinking about a way to flow permeate thru the pans and then down the drain at nite Foamy
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