Intelligent controller improves micro-brewery production
Over the last few years, the UK has seen a significant growth in micro-breweries as more hobbyists turn their past time into a business. Accessing an easy-to-use intelligent controller helps the production process and enables owners to check and control their batch production remotely.
One reputable micro-brewery with a reputation for creating unique hand-crafted beers and ales contacted IMOPC. They were looking to install a control solution to allow remote monitoring of their fermentation tanks. This would give them remote management to the process for maintaining production when no one was at the site.
They needed remote control of fermenting temperatures within the tanks as the brewery runs without staff for long periods. Previous issues with controlling and maintaining the preferred temperature meant that there were periods of time when the brewery production stopped. The customer also wanted to undertake as much integration as possible, despite having no prior experience in PLC programming.
IMO identified their i3Mini intelligent controller as the providing the optimal hardware to meet the customer’s needs. It offered the features the customer sought from an intelligent controller by combining a compact programmable controller with an HMI. Furthermor, data logging is easy to set-up using wizards within the programming software. Data storage is provided by an optional 2TB flash drive or sent over a network for further processing where available.
The i3CMini provided the needed remote access allowing the user to track important temperatures during fermentation, and see exactly what was happening within the process. They also receive remote alarms when the system needs attention and importantly, make changes to various settings to maintain production.
The i3CMini offers uses a free IEC61131-3 software programming package providing an intuitive way for users to program their exact requirement. One of the features included in the i3C Mini is a built-in Modbus TCP Ethernet port. In addition to Modbus TCP embedded Ethernet, other communications options include RS 232, RS485 and CANbus. The specification also includes a real-time clock, user defined function keys, optional modem.
According to the client. “The IMO solution has given me the ability to keep track of my brewing process from anywhere. This enables me to maintain optimal production even when not on site. Having very little experience of PLC programming before, I was able to undertake the programming myself using the intuitive software – with some help from IMOPC.”
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