Case Study: Unitronics® Vision Controllers Boost Brewery Productivity

When owner and founder, Joshua Henry implemented his plans to create the first community-supported microbrewery in his area of Dover, New Hampshire, it was without doubt an impressive idea for all involved.

The 7th Settlement Brew Pub would access local community resources to deliver to the public a range of delicious beers that would be socially and environmentally responsible, as well as encourage sustainability for the local community.

However as with all growing businesses, a worthwhile cause alone wouldn’t be enough for success. 7th Settlement also needed to make sure that the brewing process and operation would be cost effective and efficient enough to deliver appetising community beers that could rank alongside some of the more established brands and ‘major players’.

How could this be achieved?

Choosing an Automation Solution

In order to achieve an efficient brewing process, owner Joshua needed to access and control temperature measurement in three 800 gallon fermenters, record batch data, log recipes, automate a circulation pump, a transfer pump and a 300,000 BTU (87.9Kw) boiler. He also needed the ability to monitor the system away from the brewery so that he could receive notifications of alarms or issues that required action.

So how could he achieve all this without the time consuming efforts of researching, purchasing and installing a number of various devices and systems?  There was a solution – Unitronics® all-in-one PLC + HMI.

Enhanced Control with Unitronics Vision Range

 In order to meet Joshua’s requirements, it was clear that the devices required from a reputable authorised stockist were the Unitronics Vision 120™ PLC + HMI and its larger sibling, the remotely accessible Vision 1210™ PLC + HMI.

1210 highres

Installed in a single central location, these HMI controllers allowed Joshua to gain complete control over his brewing process and provide even more benefits than expected.

With their user friendly sizes and clear display screens, the Vision PLC + HMI controllers easily supported the owner to control I/O, monitor temperature and history, store data for the entire process, regulate recipes and automate the necessary pumps and boiler.

Notably, the PLC’s ability for remote PID control of the glycol chill fermenter also delivered the added bonus of reducing wiring across the brewery.

Active Monitoring with PID Control Loop

The PID loop included in the automation control system is instrumental in supporting many automation systems to achieve control and efficient monitoring.

With 5 fundamental elements, the PID loop consists of:

  1. The process to be controlled
  2. An instrument with a sensor that measures the condition of the process
  3. A transmitter that converts the measurement into an electronic signal
  4. A controller that reads the signal to decide whether or not the current condition is acceptable
  5. An actuator functioning as the final control element that applies a corrective effort to the process (according to the controllers pre-set instructions).

This PID control system is supported by both Unitronics Vision PLC + HMI’s selected by the owner, with the Vision 120 possessing auto-tune PID with up to 12 independent loops, and the Unitronics Vision 1210 with auto-tune PID of up to 24 independent loops; more than enough for the smooth control and monitoring of the microbrewery.

Immediate Benefits with Unitronics Vision Controls

With the Unitronics Vision control system quickly installed and the PID loop efficiently monitoring and stabilising the brewing process, 7th Settlement received immediate benefits.

With the process simplified and easily controlled, product consistency and quality was expertly achieved, brew time was reduced and productivity improved.

By choosing Unitronics products, this customer found that each of their automation needs could be meet appropriately and even discovered that their brewing process could be run just as effectively and efficiently as many of the more established, larger brewing businesses.

By accessing the ideal automation control products with PID loops, many customers also witness the advantages of improved efficiency and increased productivity.

For advice on the right automation controls, Unitronics products or PID loop requirements for your system and application needs – simply contact your local automation experts, All Drives and Controls – 01543 478887