Outside the UK
Royal City Brewing Co.
ELEMENT pneumatic valves and actuators
The craft brewing industry is a unique one in which competitors in the industry help, share with and promote each other, developing a tight community-like network with shared knowledge and contacts readily available to all who are interested in participating.
Through this network, Cam and Russ from Royal City Brewing were introduced to Bürkert to see what could be possible through automation technology in the context of craft brewing.
The principles of repeatability through advanced temperature control, process efficiency in order to maximize a bare-bones start up and planning ahead / future-proofing for inevitable expansion were at the centre of the discussions. The group was able to come up with a five-year plan as it related to the projected growth of their brewery and the role that automation would play to help drive, manage and support that growth through those years.
Royal City Brewing were able to start with and plan around a clean slate. This allowed for cleaner and more seamless transitions between growth phases as the brewery continued to develop and evolve over those five years. Specific aspects of the project that allowed for these smooth transitions included the bus architecture of a modular and easily expandable AS-i backbone as well as brew house and cold storage temperature control beyond just the initial scope of controlling the temperature in the cellar vessels.
The impact of the early stage planning was realised as the facility began to grow and infrastructure expansion was needed. As has become the trend with craft breweries these days, a brewery is also a place to showcase branding and individuality as patrons are able to walk around the brewery to see the process up close.
Having a clean, high-tech fit and finish in the brew house is part of a positive brand image. The Bürkert Element series of pneumatic process valves were fit-for-purpose to deliver precise and reliable temperature control in a glycol / brewery cellar environment but also provided aesthetic consistency throughout the brewery. Furthermore, the multi-colour LED coding provided highly visible cues during proper operation as well as any sort of unexpected temperature conditions or process upset.
The round stainless design is also designed for wash down, effective cleaning and for longevity in damp environments such as those commonly found in a brewery.
The positive impact of the subtle level of automation that was integrated throughout the Royal City brew house and cellar was, and still is, clearly noticeable.
Effective implementation of the AS-i bus infrastructure allowed for the seamless and cost-effective integration of valves and control points on expansion vessels with respect to ease of installation, wiring, setup and logic availability. The result is a brewery operation that has the freedom to experiment on new beer recipes while retaining the consistency and repeatability of the brews on which their brand was built.
Remote monitoring options also allowed for a cloud-based observation of all brewery conditions on a tablet and real-time remote text / email notifications of alarms or upset conditions.
In the end, Royal City Brewing Co. was successful in striking a balance between automation and craft brewing that has proven to be a very beneficial investment in helping the brewery grow to meet the demand developed through the repeatable production of consistently great beer.