Sub-Sahara’s leading industrial gas company African Oxygen (Afrox) has introduced a new design of a sulphur dioxide (SO2) cylinder head, specifically for the South African wine industry.

The new product allows the user to draw the gas from the cylinder in a vertical position, using a full length dip tube and represents a major advance in both safety and accuracy.

As explained earlier this year in gasworld’s July gas profile, sulphur dioxide is an important antibiotic and antioxidant agent in winemaking processes.

Fundamental to the wine industry then, the new Afrox SO2 cylinder couldn’t come at a better time.

The result of 18 months of research and development, the cylinder allows Afrox to provide a total solution to winemakers through a direct injection process into the vat, significantly boosting accuracy of measurement.

This safe and efficient process also facilitates the use of a variety of different cylinder packed sizes.

Jaco Coetzee, Afrox Product Manager Packaged Chemicals, says the new-generation cylinder (which also has application in the fruit juice manufacturing sector) is environmentally responsible - reducing emissions of SO2 to the atmosphere via on-site scrubbers and eliminating the conventional ‘bucket and chuck-it’ concept.

“SO2 is an important compound in winemaking, serving as an antibiotic and antioxidant that protects wine from spoilage by bacteria and oxidation,” said Coetzee.

“It also helps to keep volatile acidity at desirable levels and is a very important element in winery sanitation. Wineries and equipment must be kept clean and since bleach cannot be used in a winery, a mixture of SO2, water and citric acid is commonly used to clean and sanitise equipment.”

Meanwhile, Afrox and parent company The Linde Group are demonstrating a wide range of services to the winemaking industry in South Africa, with a suite of products that minimize oxygen exposure in the wine industry from the first harvesting of grapes through to the bottling and sealing of the finished product.

Services to the food & beverage industry don’t end there either: Afrox now offers its FoodFresh range of gases and gas mixtures for modified atmosphere packaging (MAP) processes in the food sector.

FoodFresh is available for a wide range of food categories, including meat, poultry, fish, dairy products, confectionary products, fresh fruit and vegetables, and cooked-chilled meals.

The gases are supplied on dedicated high capacity, high pressure steel cylinders providing longer cylinder life and fewer cylinder changeovers.

Cylinders are fitted with softseat handwheel valves to facilitate easy opening and closing.