New recipes, more SKUs and
packaging advancements have heightened performance demands in beverage
plants. Processing automation systems offer beverage manufacturers a
technologically advanced way to keep up with ever-increasing production
Through a network of interconnected technology,
processing automation systems integrate field devices, input/output (I/O)
modules, controllers and human machine interfaces (HMI) for the benefits of
engineering, supervisory control and business integration. The systems are
scalable and can be customized to each manufacturer’s unique
requirements. Additionally, implementation of the technology has been
reported to increase productivity, add flexibility and extend
interoperability between plants. In addition, manufacturers with multiple
production facilities can link systems between factories.
“If one company’s plant uses our solution
and demonstrates a throughput improvement of 25 percent, it offers a
significant benefit to businesses that are global,” says Mike
Jamieson, market segment director for consumer product goods for Rockwell
Automation, Milwaukee. “Our solutions have delivery capability and
consistency across the globe. If you can ramp up speed in North America to
deliver more products, we can take that into your plant in Indonesia and
ramp up the number there.”
The systems also oversee more than manufacturing
steps, the connection reaches as many people as the company requires, says
Walt Staehle, Siemens Energy & Automation, Alpharetta, Ga.
“We cover everything from the shop floor to the
top floor,” Staehle says. “It’s all about connectivity
and interoperability. We help our customers connect the dots.”
Efficiency through innovation
Those dots can be connected with the help of
Siemens’ PCS 7 system, which is an abbreviation for Process Control
System. The solution combines aspects of two traditional systems,
Programmable Logic Controllers (PLC) and Distributed Control System (DCS),
into an easy-to-use system.
Traditionally, a PLC system monitors the manufacture
and/or assembly of products and allows an operator to monitor the process
visually as the process runs. It is engineered for simple batch, repeatable
production. PLC systems also have logic control that allows for high
On the other hand, DCS is designed for complex batch
manufacturing and is well-suited for facilities that require a high level
of flexibility and recipe management. As a combination of the two
interfaces, Siemens’ PCS 7 system offers the benefits of PLC’s
logic control, but with the functions of a DCS system, explains Ed
Montgomery, industry manager for brewing and processing automation
Siemens’ PCS 7 system can integrate automation
systems in the plant and field devices in a single platform with common
tools for engineering, visualization and facility-wide asset maintenance
management, the company says. Each PCS 7 system is engineered to the
specific scale requirements of a plant.
In addition, all Siemens systems feature hardware
standardization that lowers the need for highly
skilled technicians. Its ethernet switches are built with micro-memory
ability that transfers the micro-memory chip to a functioning switch in the
event of a switch malfunction, explains Tom Cook, industry manager for
beverage bottling and packaging automation solutions.
“We use the same philosophy for our PLCs,
ethernet switches and drives,” he says. “We have a new drive,
the G120 with micro-memory technology. It’s making things easier for
less technically skilled plant personnel.”
The systems also come equipped with diagnostics to
help plant personnel easily locate a malfunction. Siemens systems are
designed with as much visualization as possible, Cook says, which helps
less technical employees troubleshoot faster. This helps the line have
“quicker uptake to get back to production and creating
products,” he says.
A Siemens system, Montgomery explains, also offers the
benefit of all Siemens equipment.
“If we put in an ethernet backbone, we have
Siemens switches and other pieces,” he says. “If it breaks
down, it’s our problem and you can call us and we discuss the
solution. With other companies you have to figure out whose responsibility
is it? Is it the company, the switch manufacturer, the PLC maker or the HMI
maker? With a Siemens system we have a responsibility for the complete
In the event of a malfunction, Siemens’
customers can call a customer service hotline for help. The hotline is
provided free of charge for customers, which Montgomery says is often a key
differentiator for new customers.
Efficiency through collaboration
Rockwell Automation uses an individual approach with
each installation. When considering a new installation or product upgrade,
the company sends a consulting team made up of industry veterans and
Rockwell Automation’s technical team to develop a system based on the
plant’s unique needs. Rockwell Automation’s products are
customizable based on customer requirements, such as adding new SKUs, new
recipes, sustainability, running at higher speeds or scheduling plant
“Companies that invest in technology, whether on
the processing side or high-speed packaging side, need common tools and
products across companies,” Jamieson says. “From raw materials to finished goods, Rockwell offers the
hardware and integrated DCS processes and discreet factors like PLC for
packaging. Our development doesn’t take place in a vacuum, we make
sure to create solutions for the driving industry standards.”
Last month, Rockwell Automation launched its newest
partner device, Allen-Bradley’s ControlLogix family of controllers.
The new Allen-Bradley ControlLogix L64 Programmable Automation Controller
features 16-mg. of memory for data-intensive applications. The line can be
used in the ControlLogix redundancy solution and features larger storage
capacity for applications with various recipes.
The new ControlLogix controllers allow for more
efficient use of system capacity with the centralization of applications,
such as alarming, which in the past was shared by external devices like
HMIs. The alarms now are managed by the Logix PAC through FactoryTalk
Alarms and Events program instead of HMI.
Automation in motion
Processing automation systems are applicable across
the beverage industry, but breweries are of particular interest because of
their production methods. Both Siemens Energy & Automation and Rockwell
Automation have implemented their solutions for breweries.
Siemens offers a tailored version of its PCS 7
technology for breweries known as Braumat. Braumat offers solutions for
small breweries, such as Bell’s Brewery, Comstock, Mich. Last fall
the Braumat system was impletmented by Bell’s Brewery and has reduced
the labor required to control Bell’s 45 fermentation tanks, the
“We have considerably reduced our labor hours,
while increasing efficiency and eliminating variability and repetition with
the new system,” said John Mallett, production manager for
Bell’s, in a statement. “On our old manual system, we had two
or three people doing manual checks and logging information every day. Now
this is all controlled from one central location and can be done in a
fraction of the time, which frees us up to do other activities in the
Rockwell Automation partnered with Asia Pacific
Breweries’ plant in Tuas, Singapore, to increase its capability. The
plant produces the brewery’s Tiger Beer brand as well as Heineken,
Anchor and ABC Stout beers. Rockwell updated Asia Pacific’s control
system, which was running on outdated I/Os that were hindering the
brewery’s production speed.
In addition to a system upgrade, Asia Pacific also
required the upgrade to happen in one eight-hour period of scheduled
downtime. Rockwell Automation was able to replace the brewhouse’s DCS
system with outdated I/Os with a new system based on the Rockwell
Automation Logix Control Platform made with Allen-Bradley ControlLogix
programmable automation controllers and 1756 I/O. The controllers are able
to communication with the brewery’s existing DCS Modbus.
Beverage Industry’s November issue highlights the 100-year advocacy of the American Beverage Association and what’s next for CEO Katherine Lugar and a new plastics initiative, Every Bottle Back. This issue includes a special report on craft beer, an Up Close With feature on PRESS hard cider and what is sparking innovation in natural colors. Read more about how protein is powering up beverages and how warehouses are using WMS and WCS systems to streamline operations. As usual, the latest trends in new products, packaging and ingredients are highlighted.
Check back throughout the month for additional content.