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Monday, September 20, 2021
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How far should automation go in the brewery?

In today's competitive environment, successful products will have optimal properties. To ensure this, it has become imperative to automate specific areas of a brewery, more or less according to the production demands on the equipment capacity.

For the successful brewer, control technology is one of the determining factors. Control is the primary interface for system users.

When we talk about areas of the brewery to more or less automate, we mean areas that require around the clock, relatively high, continuous use such as in the brewhouse, as well as primary processes that affect the quality of the products. The relevant control requirements must then be selected accordingly. For 8 to10 or more brewing batches, the specialists must be present which is not easy as they are not very numerous.

Less intensive brewery areas such as fermentation or storage cellar and bright beer tank cellar should be monitored by a PCS, active control is required only in the fermentation and cleaning processes, because personnel are available in the cellar in most cases, and can perform process-related monitoring activities.

Filter systems are relatively simple, for beers coming from the Lager cellar to filtration, product quality must be maintained. Manually operated filters should be equipped with instruments, at least, for turbidity detection, which can put the filter plant into a closed loop operation without operator intervention, as a function of the measured values. This process should then be recorded by a control system.

We live in a time of dramatic market and technological developments. This offers great opportunities for the innovative brewer. True innovation can only be introduced where those working have the necessary core competence. If control technology is not included here , then it should not be done by them  There are potential partners who deal exclusively in this field. Through this division of responsibility, the Brewer makes best use of his investment. Crucial to the success of a control concept , is the future reliability and security of its operation. It must be able, for as long as possible, to adjust to the changes in customer requirements before it needs to be replaced by newer developments. This requires the developer to have a broad overview of technological standards and a good feel for future trends.

With greater product diversity, quality assurance , especially, is a major beneficiary from automation. Once optimized recipes, are subject only to the quality of primary materials and not the production process itself so long as production in the key areas has been automated.

It is especially true in control technology, the fact that a chain is only as strong as its weakest link, specifically  the measurement and control technology, as an essential element of control, affect to a considerable extent, the overall quality of process control. The electrician is the real artist in the brewery, because so often, the reality is such that the purchaser buys on price, but no standards are taken into consideration and thus the plant electrician is faced, for example, with electronic flow  meters from  up  to seven different manufacturers,  each of which in turn has his own operating philosophy.

The data acquisition as a slogan, without evaluation, leads to little benefit for the brewer. High quality and costly measurement and analysis equipment fail to fulfill expectations, if an equally high-quality evaluation program is not part of a process control system. The data archiving is no longer an issue, as with the progressive development of computer technology, adequate memory is now readily available at marginal cost.

Various process control systems only superficially fulfill their functionality , because the  company that installed the system, often has too little processing know-how  to take advantage of the application of a brilliant specific batch operating system. Of course, the ergonomics of a system is decided by the acceptance or rejection of the user. How often already have process specialists for cellar or filtration systems  failed in  the programming of a malt silo and milling equipment or vice versa, because  they have  at some point failed to realize that  the PCS system developed for the cellar is not suitable for the process technology in the other technological areas of ​​the brewery?

Although we live in Germany in the beer paradise, there are only a small group of companies that can actually automate the entire production process, just as the brewer for a modest  investment  receives  the same performance and functionality.

Who has not bothered with all the terms such as UNIX, NT, COROS, OS / 2, BRAUMAT, OTAS, BOTEC, EXCEL, ACCESS, multi using  / multi tasking, redundancy, etc.

Of course everyone has the best system installed in his brewery! Network technology and bus systems, centralized or decentralized peripherals are, as a rule,  normal user requirements, which may be supported by a qualified staff member in his team, who can assist on the side.

Especially the network technology enables process control systems in the manufacturing sector to work in harmony with the hardware and software installed in the commercial division and that one can communicate with the other. Not only communicate, but one or other, in turn, can also give you the information required for an efficient operation. Just as opaque as the offers for process control systems, the same applies for commercial systems. It is the user, already demanding much, when the topic of automation is on the modernization agenda.

The only questions on which the hard pressed users must make compromises:

- What are the real advantages of one system compared with another in the production area of ​​my brewery (for the production of consistent quality and as is well known one’s survival) and who is the most competent partner? It must be not only one, but if there are several, the products of the suppliers must work together satisfactorily one with another.

- And the second question must be:

Can my commercial equipment communicate with the production level?

Need to automate labor intensive work processes, with consideration given to the additional quality control.

The aim of automation is to ensure continuous processes as well as the transparency of production using appropriate software, which in turn helps reduce labor intensity. Data collection and analysis must be clear, easy to use and be maintained logically.

Joachim Rüsse


m.a.p. GmbH


Dismantlement and Re-Installation
of brewery machinery and equipment
and malting plants.

Office address:

Flurstrasse 38
85402 Kranzberg

contact person:
Mr. Joachim Rüsse

phone: +49-(0)81 66 - 684052
cell phone: +49-(0)171 - 93 04 678

E-Mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.