Cambridge Engineered Solutions, a Maryland-based manufacturer of metal mesh conveyor belts and filtration systems for food and beverage processing and industrial applications, identified a critical need to market and manufacture filter screens for craft brewers. As this industry grows rapidly in size and production, there's an increasing need for replacement screens used in European-made filtration equipment. As a result of Cambridge's outreach to this niche market, the company was able to quickly respond, specify, fabricate and install 18 custom Continuweld® replacement filters for Coastal Extreme Brewing (Newport Storm) in Rhode Island. Cambridge has become a dependable and cost-effective domestic supplier of premium screens for high-end filter machines across the U.S.
Newport Storm Brewing
Derek Luke, Co-Founder & Brewmaster
Based in Newport, Rhode Island, Newport Storm is a microbrewery launched by four friends and college roommates in 1997. They released their first beer in 1999 and opened a state of the art, 10,000 sq. ft. facility in 2010. This year, the 20-employee company expects to brew 4,100 barrels of a dozen types of beer. Coastal Extreme’s products – including its flagship Newport Storm brand - are sold in RI, Connecticut and Pennsylvania.
In May 2016, a Spadoni DCBL-80 Vessel exploded at Coastal Brewing’s Newport brewery destroying 18 filter leaves by warping the backing pan and filter cloth. Head Brewmaster Derek Luke went online to the Master Brewers Association website “Ask the Brewmasters” forum and inquired whether any members knew of a domestic supplier or source capable of quickly providing replacement screens for his Italian-made filtration system. In addition to wine, juice and olive oil processors, more than 62 percent of American breweries use different styles of filtration systems in their operations that are mostly made in Europe. Velo, Spadoni, Della Taffola and Padovan are the primary filter manufacturers. The various styles of filtration screens include: horizontal plate; vertical plate; plate and frame; cartridge; and bag. Cambridge fabricates multiple types of aftermarket OEM replacement screens and has produced the “Continuweld” framed filter for 75 years.
Cambridge’s Technical Engineer Spencer Lebaron, a 10-year company veteran and craft beer fan, routinely monitors industry forums to keep abreast of trends and techniques. He saw Luke’s inquiry on May 19 and immediately responded. Spencer introduced himself and sent the brew master literature on the company’s Continuweld replacement filter. After discussing Cambridge’s capabilities on the phone, Lebaron flew to Newport on May 27 to inspect the filtration system and offer Luke technical assistance.
Newport Storm was looking for: • Technical expertise • Production and turnaround time • Customer service • Product quality/craftsmanship • USA supplier • Company experience
Following Cambridge’s site visit to Rhode Island, Lebaron worked with his team to develop a production plan and estimate costs. On June 7, Luke received a quote for 18 replacement filters; they sent Cambridge a purchase order the same day. Because Newport Storm was a new customer, Cambridge had to tool a new die. With the die now cast, future screens can be ordered, fabricated and shipped within two-three weeks; less than half the time it takes for shipping alone from the OEM.
The filters were shipped on July 15. Eighteen, 18” diameter Continuweld filters with a 16-gauge backing plate and stainless steel mesh were installed on August 2 at Newport Storm. The specialty filter cloths provide excellent flow characteristics. Coupled with improved cake release, they offer a precise engineered solution. With proper maintenance, Cambridge Continuweld filters will provide many years of filtration for Newport Storm.
As a result of that initial “Ask the Brewmaster” forum posting, Lebaron was subsequently introduced to representatives of Flying Bison beer (F.X. Matt Brewing) and has fulfilled additional orders for replacement screens. Targeted digital ads on BrewersAssociation.org this summer have also led to recent brewery orders, including nine screens for NOLA Brewing Company. Cambridge filter screen clients in the Mid-Atlantic include: Dog Fish Head (Millsboro, DE) and Fordham Dominion (Dover, DE).