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Key to the future.

According to Bailey Controls, advanced technology is key to the operation of Labatt's pilot brewery.

The brewing of beer is generally considered a fairly basic process. Beer has been produced for centuries, and today many people make beer in their homes. The difficulty in the industrial brewing of beer involves the high-volume production of a consistent, safe, quality product, preferably at the lowest possible operating cost.

At the Labatt's Experimental Brewery (also referred to as the mini-brewery), located next to the head office of John Labatt Ltd. in Ontario, Canada, having a flexible and reliable distributed control system is essential to maintaining a consistent flavor match with the main plant's brew for performing experiments.

The 3000-sq.-ft. facility produces two brews per week to conduct experiments for new beers, classify types of brews, test new equipment for the main plant and train equipment operators. The Bailey Controls Network 90 Distributed Process Control System, supplied by Bailey Canada, provides sequential and analog control functions for the entire brewhouse, including the cereal cooker, milling system, mash mixer, brew kettle, wort cooler, lauter tun, fermenters, filter system, beer storage tanks and clean-in-place (C.I.P) system.

A microprocessor-based system, Network 90 components can be assembled in configurations ranging from basic one or two-loop local control packages to high-level, plant-wide management and control systems.

Labatt's personnel use a personal computer with a color monitor as the operator station with Process Control View (PCV) software. The configuration is a combination of function codes and Batch 90 language. The PCV personal computer-based console monitors and controls 300 process tags. Five recipes are stored in the program, and changes are made as experiments are performed. Bailey reports that the system is capable of handling hundreds of recipes.

The Bailey PCV permits high-resolution interactive, color graphic process control and monitoring from a PC-based platform. The software offers advance logging, trending, archival storage and alarm management functions. Up to 1500 tags may be configured, monitored and controlled. The Labatt system is configured so the operator can change and adjust recipes from basic screen displays without having to make any configuration changes.

The facility's supervisor, Tom Goring, states, "The flexibility of the system allows us to change the parameters quickly, without dealing with computer programs. It lets us try different things and that's important in a test facility."

Batch 90 is a specialized programming language used to facilitate implementation of sequential and interlock logic. It uses concise, structured language statements, and fill-in-the-blank recipe tables to fully define batch recipes. Rather than download to instruments, Batch 90 downloads to function blocks in a Multi-Function Controller (MFC) module that mimics instruments. Function blocks and batch control logic reside in the same module.

The Bailey Batch language provides the Labatt operators with an overview of the status of the 15 vessels in the plant. A separate control sequence display is provided for each vessel to allow the operator to start and stop cycles.

The plant has seven fermenters which can be controlled separately and have their own recipes and parameters. Temperature signals are received from several RTD's on the vessels.

The batch software also performs the very important task of handling temperature controls while the PCV provides logging, trending and tracking.

"Temperature control is essential to a good brew," Goring says. "Being able to rely on accurate temperature readings has allowed us to concentrate on other areas and find solutions to other problems."

The integrated environment of Batch 90, as well as its simple control techniques, has enabled Labatt to use the system for on-site training. The PCV acts as a guide to the process and its user-friendliness gives immediate confidence to the new operators.

At the present time the facility is actively engaged in experimenting with new brews to meet consumer demand for a variety of beer products. According to Tom Goring and his mini-brewery staff, ease-of-use, accurate temperature control and improved operator interface are among the benefits provided by the distributed control system.

Goring also cites the flexibility to produce many different brews, a necessity as Labatt works to maintain its distinctive character while brewing beers in keeping with contemporary trends.

Bailey's Network 90 and INFI 90 control system can be used in food and beverage plants of all sizes to help maintain high product quality, reduce operating costs and provide useful management information.

Mike Ferski is Manager, Food & Beverage for Bailey Controls of Wickliffe, OH.
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Title Annotation:Labatt Brewing Company Ltd.'s Bailey Controls Network 90 Distributed Process Control System
Author:Ferski, Mike
Publication:Modern Brewery Age
Date:Jan 25, 1993
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