Twisted Vine Brewery, a three-man operation dedicated to the art and science of brewing, creates unique, hand-crafted beer. In order to produce high-quality craft beer, the team at Twisted Vine was searching for a robust and reliable controller that would enable them to brew with meticulous attention to detail for a consistent, delicious end result. No one at Twisted Vine had experience with PLCs, so the control platform had to be easy to learn and use. Their primary goals were to monitor and control the fermentation temperature, to implement tools like the timers for tracking hop additions, and to monitor trends and outputs remotely. They also wanted a control system that they could expand as their business grows. Additionally, space in the brewery is very limited, so they needed a compact PLC, robust enough to be mounted next to the mash tun.
The Unitronics Vision1040, paired with a V200-18-E3XB snap-in I/O module, was able to accommodate all these requirements with ease. The Twisted Vine team programmed the Vision1040 to control a rotary phase converter, which powers a three-phase chiller, glycol pump and the glycol valves on the jacketed fermentation and conditioning tanks. They also rely on Unitronics’ complimentary data-logging and remote access software utilities; they monitor temperature trends remotely, turning temperature loops on and off as needed from anywhere with internet access. Additionally, with a NEMA4X/IP65 environment rating, the Vision1040™ is able to withstand the hot, steamy conditions.
5 Reasons Unitronics All-in-One is the PLC+HMI of choice for Brewers
1. Robust, industrial PLCs handle everything a brewery throws at them
- Brewing is often messy and controllers need to be able to get wet with beer, steam and other by-products of the brewing process
- In order to meet food safety standards, controllers must be washed down and sanitized
- All Unitronics PLC+HMI controllers are IP65/IP66/NEMA4X rated, great in wet conditions.
2. Unitronics offers a wide range of I/O options, including precise temperature control
- Temperature control is key to several point in brewing, such as convertng starches to sugars in the wort
- These processes need to be maintained within a precise, even temperature range to be effective without burning the mash; Unitronics thermocouple and PT100 inputs and PID functionality make this precision possible
- Other I/O from Unitronics make it possible to control functions like system on and off times or water additions.
3. Using PLC control and data logging make it effortless to create and recreate recipes
- You can program recipe parameters, like specific temperatures, run times and addition schedules, ensure a batch will be consistent with previous brews
- These parameters can be adjusted from integrated HMI panel to customize a brew as needed
- You can also log any changes and export data to record the settings for a particular batch of beer, a key feature for repeatability.
4. Automated monitoring frees up brewers attention to more pressing tasks
- Unitronics PLCs have a built-in alarm management system, allowing you to receive alerts on the HMI and by email or SMS message if a problem arises
- Unitronics offers software utilities that enable remote access and VNC capabilities at no added cost
- When you don’t need to watch each step of the brewing process, you have time for more creative and inventive brewing.
5. Unitronics PLC+HMI controllers offer an incredibly compact, easy to use design
- These all-in-one PLCs have an integrated HMI and onboard I/O, which reduces wiring and makes them easy to fit into limited space
- Unitronics PLCs are programmed in a single programming environment, which is simple to learn and to use
- Full software and support at no extra cost means that automated brewing is affordable, even for small breweries.