Craft beers have taken the world by storm, and Germany is famous for its unique traditional craft breweries. This revolution has brought greater choice for consumers, and greater challenges for manufacturers. Brewing has become a science, with the process taking anywhere from a few days to several weeks, with temperature impacting the flavour, and there is an increasing need for brewery businesses to be agile. This is set to increase in the coming years, with beer manufacturers maximising the benefits of IIoT technology and data analytics to improve quality assurance.
In a recent trial, SONEM Solutions took the opportunity to use its newly developed ultrasonic liquid sensor to identify and leverage the potential for its customers to optimise their brewing processes. Several ultrasonic sensors were installed on the plant in a medium sized brewery in Germany.
To ensure a high-quality beer, breweries give their beers additional development time during the process. This requires higher energy consumption and increased cycle times. For this beer manufacturers need reliable data. All too often, entire batches must be thrown away because of compromised data. Brewers then need support to get their systems back up and running to maximum efficiency.
SONEM Solutions set out to offer a solution to its customers that permits easier data management, regular model updates and state-of-the art sensor state monitoring. A joint case study was launched with IoT specialists, AIT and Moxa Europe, a leading manufacturer of industrial communication devices. Both companies are members of the Microsoft Partner Network. SONEM Solutions, Moxa, and AIT launched their joint case study in late 2019. “Due to the high sensitivity, multiple processes can be monitored and optimised within the brewery,” says Maximilian Sträb, marketing and sales manager at SONEM. “AIT is collaborating with Moxa to help SONEM Solutions drive digital transformation and to help breweries of any size optimise the brewing process.” AIT specialists developed a set of building blocks based on Microsoft’s Azure IoT Edge. The collected data was transmitted to an IoT gateway where it could be aggregated, analysed and further processed, before being transmitted to the cloud.
“Our technology opens up new possibilities to optimise and monitor production processes,” explains SONEM’s CEO and founder, Sebastian Minning. Due to the sensitive ultrasonic technology, a wide variety of fluids can be monitored in the production line in real time. Based on the molecular acoustics, different fluids can be clearly classified and monitored during the entire production process. The captured data set allows a detailed and diverse analysis.
“Our Smart Edge solution is based on Microsoft Azure IoT Edge and Moxa’s superior, reliable and highly robust IIoT connectivity solution, to ensure a high beer quality is achieved. We are helping craft breweries in Germany achieve operational nimbleness, assure quality, and increase their margins,” he concludes.
Moxa provides the hardware that connects the data with the cloud, with devices that are ideally suited to industrial environments, and are less expensive, smaller and more temperature resistant than old industrial PCs. Moxa’s Edge Module permits management and maintenance of the gateway itself. The collected data can be pre-processed on the edge side and then analysed and visualised in detail in the cloud.
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