Kazumasa Kosuga (1), Toshihiko Nagaoka (1); (1) Asahi Breweries, Ltd., Suita, Japan

Brewhouse Operations

In recent years, we have launched more than 50 types of beer per year due to diversification of Japanese consumer preferences. To address these preferences, our domestic breweries engage in high-mix, low-volume production. To produce a large variety of wort, brewery workers manually add a wide range of raw materials during each stage of the wort production process (mash kettles, mash tuns, wort kettles, whirlpools, enzyme tanks, and hop hoppers). During this process, the following risks are of particular concern: 1) raw material type errors; 2) raw material quantity errors; 3) use of non-conforming raw materials, such as expired and non-conforming materials; and 4) failure to order the required raw materials due to an increase in the number and variety of raw materials handled. To avoid these risks, we introduced an input error prevention system that uses QR codes. The system consists of three stages: a) raw material ordering; b) raw material receipt; and c) raw material input. a) Raw materials to be ordered are searched and identified using the production plan and an input error prevention system stock list, and the materials are ordered (as a solution to 4 above). b) Upon receipt, raw material lot numbers and expiration dates are recorded in the input error prevention system, and QR code labels are issued. The labels are attached to the raw material containers, which are then stored in inventory. The system prevents acceptance of raw materials that are not included in material purchase order lists. c) Raw materials displayed on an input error prevention system portable terminal are input in accordance with the production plan. Portable terminals are used to read the QR codes on the material containers and those on the equipment into which the materials are to be input. The raw material type must correspond to that indicated in the production plan for input to be possible. When the predetermined quantity of raw materials is input, a signal is sent to a preparation process monitoring system, and the preparation process continues. If the QR code label of a non-predetermined material is detected, a warning is sent to the portable terminal, and the preparation process is halted. This system prevents the use of non-conforming materials (a solution to 1, 2, and 3 above). In addition, because work content information is displayed on portable terminals, even junior staff members are able to identify and add raw materials using the same procedures as experienced workers, and the management of work and material use histories is possible.

  Kazumasa Kosuga graduated from the Department of Electrical Engineering, Doshisha University and joined Asahi Breweries, Ltd. in 1999. Kazumasa worked at the Hakata brewery from 1999 to 2003, the Production Technology Center from 2003 to 2005, the Ibaraki brewery from 2005 to 2007, the Fukushima brewery from 2007 to 2010, Asahi Group Engineering Co., Ltd. from 2010 to 2013, and the Production Technology Center from 2013 to the present.