Craft Brewing and distilling is a blend of science and art. Vortechs Automation can set up sensors and controls to coordinate, meter, and record the science part so you can focus on the art of it. Whether it is a fully automated craft brewery or just one or two components in need of an update, Vortechs has a solution.

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For example, with the right user controls, you will be able to manage the brewhouse's hot liquor tank for optimum temperature without wasting BTUs; you can monitor and control glycol chillers to deliver perfect fermentation and lagering temperatures; and you can incorporate automation into manual processes like filling and packaging to reduce labor costs and improve quality. Plus, you will gain the benefit of total record archiving for all process parameters.

  • Process automation ensures quality control at each stage of your brewing batch, using the correct ingredients by weight or volume, the correct temperatures, and for the correct times.
  • Data logging of the inputs and outputs of those controls ensures repeatability from batch to batch, accurate scaling up or down, and accountability for customers or regulatory purposes.
  • Energy management means the components being controlled are operating at peak efficiency and at lowest energy costs. Energy management systems and conservation upgrades have been a core focus since Vortechs' very start.
  • Open-architecture provides you unrestricted access to the systems you purchase, unlimited upgrade opportunities and reduces or eliminates the specter of premature obsolescence. For our clients, open architecture also means complete control over their own facility and provides integration of the most advanced energy-saving products available - regardless of manufacturer.
  • System visualization puts a clear graphical representation of parts or all of your system right at your fingertips on any screen you need, be it on the brewery floor or the phone in your pocket.
  • Vortechs recognizes that breweries expect an aesthetic component not often associated with other production lines that are less celebrated by the customer base. Vortechs installs systems any brewer would be proud to show off to customers on tours or in picture windows.

Applications that benefit from controls integration:

  • Batching systems
  • Process heating and cooling
  • Conveying
  • Filling and Bottling
  • Fermentation and cellar monitoring
  • Clean-in-place systems
  • Bulk tank monitoring
  • Process optimization and OEE
  • HVAC control
  • Potable water purification system
  • 24-7 remote alert monitoring

Brewery nightmares avoided with integrated controls

Scenario 1: Unexpected glitch in chiller loop

A craft brewer executed a recipe with a knock-out temp at 64F and set the fermentation temp control at 68F as he usually does. When he came in the next morning, the temp was reading 35F. How could this have been avoided?

A text alert to the brewer's phone would have saved a lot of headaches.

Scenario 2: Finicky glycol sensors and solenoids

A craft brewery operates a 4 BBL system with a factory-equipped controller for the fermenters and brite tank, plus individual temperature sensors to manage solenoids for glycol valves. It also includes several different types of temp probes, but the individual temperature controllers are finicky. Sometimes, the brewer finds that glycol is flowing regardless of the position of the switch and the temperature of the probe. How does he troubleshoot this issue?

Those little temp controllers can be tricky to set up and calibrate. An integrated system would help the brewer manage the whole system.

Scenario 3: Where's the short in my PakTech applicator?

A craft brewer had an issue with a relatively new PakTech applicator. In just five months, he burned through a main cylinder position sensor every month. He confirmed with the manufacturer that all voltages are correct, fuses are properly installed, and everything is grounded. The manufacturer suggested magnetic interference, but the brewer's not convinced that's the issue.

We are great at troubleshooting, specifying and setting up sensors like these.

Scenario 4: Process Improvement via logs and trends

Some brewers involved in a group studying analytical testing methods are asking how to apply process archives to improve quality, increase throughput and reduce costs. Is there a way to use archival data to achieve these process improvements?

Process measurements that are logged and trended can help with this for sure. Getting a visual picture of the different data points at the same time helps one understand the process better and how they interact with one another.

Scenario 5: Temp stratification causing packaging issues

A craft brewery runs an open-air five-head filler connected to a brite tank with two side jackets and a bottom dish jacket, and it is experiencing temperature stratification during packaging. Since temperature is very important for foam creation and DO/TPO, this problem can upset up an otherwise smooth canning day. There's a manual ball valve on each of the three brite tank jackets supplied by a motorized ball valve which cycles with the RTD tank reading. Can the manual ball valves be adjusted to solve the stratification issue?

Why mess with manual valves when they have automatic valves in series? Three individual temp controllers/valves for the same tank can lead to stratification issues.