Automated brewery

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Brewing process made easier with PLC unit.

About the project

Allow us to introduce a unique project in the whole Europe - Smart Brewery. It is an automated miniature brewery built in the Balloon Hotel, Radešín, the Czech Republic. It is monitored and controlled with a system build upon our technology. It uses UniPi in combination with Mervis.

The main advantage of it all is the minimum personell required for running such brewery. Most of the monitoring and regulation handles one the system itself. One single person is required for running the brewery, which is its owner. Other big advantage is the reuse of heat energy within the heat distribution system of brewery and the hotel building.

The problem of small breweries is to brew each batch with the same taste and characteristics. In this system all measured data is saved to the database . Its analysis helps with making the batch similar, improve effectivity of brewing process and save some money in this expensive process.

The hotel itself is an automation project. Both the hotel system and the brewery system are interconnected and allow energy efficient operation. The heat produced during the brewing process is used in the hotel central heating and for water in showers.

About brewery

First operation April 2016
Maximum amount of batches per year up to 100
Sorts of beer Milk Stout, Brown Ale, Summer Ale


Heat energy distribution


The schema shows the cool and warm water distribution in the brewery system.

Hot water from the boiling room goes to the wort chiller, where the heat is extracted and distributed to the utility water (marked as PWH in the shema). To the wort chiller go two cooling sources - 1 from the well and 1 from the cool water tank. The water tank is used for tub cooling in the taproom and for both cooling curcuits of the fermenting storage tanks. The heat from water tank is extracted with a heat pump to hot water tank which is further reused in the hotel central heating and for shower water warming.

Rather then heat up water during each brewing process and then release it to the sewer the heat is reused. Even before the building of the brewery the hotel was improved with UniPi controller units achieving operation expense savings. Automation system made the brewing process easier and less expensive.

Technological description

In the hotel there are 7 UniPis of which 3 are used for the brewery regulation. Each part of the brewery was equipped with required meters and sensors - digital thermometers, pressure meters, electricity meters, ultrasound flowmeters etc. The relay-controlled parts in the project are three-way valves, pumps, chillers, shut-off valves of the cooling curcuits, heaters in the boiling room or even the lights in the room. Whole project includes over 150 data points, their states periodically measured and their stored to database. UniPi digital inputs for eample are used for pulse counting of flowmeters, where each rotation sends a pulse, or other meters and sensors.

Rack deatil with UniPi v.1 and extension modules

From the boiling room the brew goes to one of the 14 fermenting storage tanks in the basement, where it is cooled down and let to ferment. Each tank has two cooling circuits - in the top and in the bottom.  This allows to regulate the fermenting process with a better precision. Frequency changer regulate the pump speed (The communicate over Modbus).

The boiling room has two builing tanks with a ramp and control station

The  basement with the 14 fermenting storage tanks

Software

The system runs on Mervis. It allows local and remote overview and control of multiple controller units over SCADA (Supervisory Control And Data Aquisition). It has a HMI and web interface.

Control monitor with Mervis HMI (Human-Machine Interface)

Data froms sensors are stored in cloud database. Mervis database runs on 4 servers position on different places in Europe. The data helps helps with making the  new batch similar to the previous, which solves one of the main problems of miniature breweries. The data also gives overview over expenses and allows better production calculations.

Mervis programming is in accordance with IEC 61131-3 stanndard. The building of the brewery took 6 months yet the programming itself took  a week.

Future plans

It is planned to automate levers for valves into boiling tanks. The general goal is to make the brewery autonomous, with minimal required interaction od the personell.

Conclusion

Although the brewery is a fairly complex project with a lot of things to consider, the interconnection and automation made many things much easier. Expenses on UniPi and related technology required for regulation makes only 5% of the whole conctruction expenses. The brewery is in full operation from April 2016.