2. Considerations for brewery automation

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

Engineering I
Thursday, October 8
10:00–11:15 a.m.
River Terrace 2

Incorporating automation systems into your brewery can yield a multitude of advantages, ranging from increased quality and repeatability, to increased throughput and productivity and reduction of waste and resource consumption. However, the selection and design of a brewery automation and control system may seem to 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 whole new world of terminology and buzzwords. Many brewers have the skills to develop the mechanical and process design of a brewery, as well as 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 the questions, “Why do I want to automate my system?” and “What do I want from my control system?” 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, and minimizing resource consumption and increasing sustainability. In addition, an advanced automation solution can provide seamless information flow from plant floor instrumentation up 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 difficult to decide how much automation is appropriate. Each facility is unique and so the control system design must fit the need. Control systems can range from very small semi-automated systems with minimal instrumentation, all the way to complete fully automation 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, including 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 to 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 25 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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