A brewing solution with a single system helped a leading global brewer ensure the consistency of their beer’s quality
China has become the largest beer market in the world, serving up more than double the pints compared with the United States last year. This fact plays an important part in the global strategy of a leading company in the beer industry – they brew one in three cans of beers sold worldwide.
In order to expand its presence in the market, the company built three new breweries in China and strove to maintain strict taste quality control.
To ensure the "consistency of taste of every bottle of beer at every brewery," the company needed a mature, reliable and multi-functional automation platform that could enable the precise, systematical control over each piece of equipment and each step of the process and allow for simple, consistent operation and maintenance. Support for standardization was an essential factor.
Additionally, the new breweries had to stay consistent with the company’s other breweries around the world in the taste and quality of beer produced to expand their capacity with the increasing market demands.
This required the application systems to have steady scalability for at least five years and adopt technologies that remained advanced for 10-20 years.
Standardization Across the Brewery
After comparing multiple systems, the company selected a brew solution from Rockwell Automation based on their PlantPAx® distributed control system as the basic control system for the three new breweries in China.
The breweries installed the PlantPAx add-on interface (AOI) library at the controller layer, which included analog, digital input, output of pumps and valves, and loop control. They also used the PlantPAx panel library at the computer layer to provide a standardized interface for dynamic display, alerts, event and trend management.
The standardized presentation of logic and graphic objects ensured the consistency of information received by operators and their operations and simplified the training, helping achieve the standardized operation of equipment and personnel.
In addition to the PlantPAx capability in standardization of upper and lower devices, the standardized implementation of the engineering team of Rockwell Automation satisfied the strict requirements of the company.
The Historian in PlantPAx provided a single platform for data analysis and storage, and an integrated SQL server into the SCADA software package as one data source.
Additionally, the equipment-level standardized integration solution provided a variety of network topologies, including bus and star, based on different integration methods - with a Stratix 8000™ switch used as the backbone of information and control networks and Stratix 6000 and 2000 series switches used for equipment and production lines.
Cheers to Success
After one year of construction, one of the new breweries was put into operation. With the open network, the PlantPAx system provides a high level of compatibility with a wide range of automation technologies.
By leveraging EtherNet/IP™ networking technology, the network at control layer offers strong scalability and enabled sharing of I/O for a very convenient configuration. Boasting excellent scalability, the PlantPAx system could easily meet the demands of capacity expansion in the future.
The recipe management functionality and record tracking further optimized the process management, and the modular function extension simplified the design of spare parts and training, reducing the breweries' maintenance and operations costs while significantly contributing to increased efficiency and consistent high quality.
With the brew solution from Rockwell Automation, the company set a new record in feeding rate by completing the whole brewing process from feeding, saccharification to fermentation within only six hours and 24 minutes, nearly one hour shorter than the previous record.
Such high-efficiency operation of the three breweries have paved the way for the company's further entry into East and Southwest China and even countries like Burma, thus significantly expanding the company's market share in China.