M-7: Considerations for brewery automation

K. MCENERY (1); (1) McEnery Automation, St. Louis, MO, U.S.A.

Engineering
Thursday, June 5 - 4:00 p.m.-5:45 p.m.
Level 4, Grand Ballroom

The selection and design of a brewery automation and control system can be an overwhelming undertaking. For those who are not directly involved in the world of process automation, there are seemingly endless options and possibilities and an entire new world of terminology and buzzwords. Many brewers have the skills to develop the mechanical and process design of a brewery, and even have a basic understanding of electricity and controls, but may not have the experience to put it all together. Before one can begin the process of control system selection, it is important to answer two questions: why do I want to automate my system, and what do I want from my control system? You may have come to the realization that your process and operation is laborious, time-consuming, and subject to inconsistencies. Perhaps your existing control system is antiquated or obsolete, limiting your ability to expand your production capabilities. Process control automation can help you save money by minimizing labor and time consumption, increasing the quality and consistency of your product, reducing waste and scrap, minimizing resource consumption, and increasing sustainability. In addition, an advanced automation solution can provide seamless information flow from plant floor instrumentation to your MES system. This enables you to put real time, actionable information into the hands of decision makers quickly, helping you to respond quickly and cost-effectively to production issues as well as market demands. Even after deciding that it is appropriate to incorporate a new control system, it is still quite difficult to decide how much automation is the appropriate amount. Each facility is unique, and so, the control system design must fit the need. Certainly, a one-size-fits-all approach won’t work. Control systems can range from very small semi-automated systems with minimal instrumentation, all the way to complete, fully automated systems with extensive instrumentation, recipe management systems, reporting capabilities, and MES integration. What level of automation is right for you? Several key factors must be weighed when answering this question, which will help in selecting control system technologies, components, and features. These include safety considerations, initial system cost versus total cost of ownership, current needs versus scalability and expandability, flexibility versus complexity, and long-term support and maintenance considerations. A careful analysis of these factors will help to guide you through the implementation of a system that will address your needs today and well into the future.

Kevin McEnery is a senior process control systems engineer with more than 27 years of experience, including nearly 24 years of experience in the brewing industry. He has provided consulting services, including strategy definition, requirements definition, system analysis, and design of numerous batch and process control systems across a wide variety of industries. He has led numerous process improvement projects in all areas of the brewing process, as well as packaging and utilities. Kevin holds an electrical engineering degree from the Missouri University of Science and Technology and is a registered professional engineer in the state of Missouri. Kevin is the owner and chief technology officer for McEnery Automation, a systems integration company that focuses on process control. He is proud to be a member of the MBAA St. Louis District.

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