Which came first in the history of civilisation: bread-making or beer-brewing? Since the 1950s, scientists and scholars have been arguing about what really caused our early ancestors to start farming and settle down, rather than remaining as nomadic hunter-gatherers. Ferdie Fortuin, sales manager at Danfoss Drives South Africa says: “Whatever the answer to this chicken or egg question, one thing is certain: human beings have taken the brewing of alcohol very seriously for centuries. For example, the famous German Reinheitsgebot, or beer purity law, is over 500 years old and was originally introduced as a trade regulation law. Today it is praised as being an early food safety regulation, possibly even the world’s oldest intact law to regulate beer contents.” In the spirit and tradition of taking beer brewing and safety regulations seriously, Danfoss offers solutions for different processes throughout the brewing industry, where control is a key word all the way from mash to bottled product.
Danfoss has experience in brewery application systems worldwide. For example, the company’s variable speed drives (VSDs) are suitable for all processing control and monitoring, no matter what the specific protocols might be. “With our latest condition-based monitoring (CBM) technology, we can provide even more information feedback from a single drive that could assist with maintenance schedules in the breweries,” he continues, adding that a brewing company in the Netherlands decided to embrace Danfoss innovation to secure a more solid and sustainable future. The solution involved using Danfoss VLT drives with integrated CBM capabilities to achieve its goals.
With the European beer market expected to grow 15,2% by 2025, the brewery realised that, to meet demand, its production line had to deliver a consistently reliable and excellent performance. However, prior to Danfoss Drives’ input, it faced costly and lengthy disruptions whenever a machine fault occurred. Operations took place in harsh, wet conditions and all applications involved concealed motors, which were difficult to access when issues arose. Danfoss was tasked with helping the brewery to:
• Increase up-time.
• Lower overheads.
• Improve management of spare parts and stock.
• Access new levels of machine data.
• Boost application and system performance.
In August 2019, Danfoss Drives proposed that the brewery install VLT drives with embedded intelligence, connectivity and sensor capabilities. CBM signals were then integrated into the brewery’s maintenance system via edge computing. The brewery also received 4-20 mA vibration sensors from Hansford Sensors and Danfoss provided additional support with project scoping, commissioning and training, as well as hosting workshops to determine the best solution for the company’s needs.
The VLT drives also supported pre-existing communication interfaces and software such as fieldbus, local control panels and VLT Motion Control Tool MCT 10, meaning the brewery did not have to invest in a new parallel system as part of the upgrade.
“The VLT Motion Control Tool MCT 10 plug-in brought a tremendous improvement, enabling seamless commissioning with consistent parameter settings,” says Fortuin. Due to the efforts of Danfoss Drives, the brewery had the power to gather more critical application data in real-time than ever before and was able to optimise its production line while solving all its challenges and building a total value proposition. In addition, Danfoss Drives’ digital expertise enabled the company to later retrofit the rest of its drives with CBM functionality elsewhere in its facilities.
“This upgrade shows that condition-based monitoring is no longer a premium product meant for a few critical assets, but an affordable solution available for all − the result of Danfoss Drives’ innovative and forward-thinking approach.
Edge computing in the drive ensures smart and simple condition-based monitoring,” says Fortuin. “At Danfoss, we have the required experience and specialised application knowledge to act as a competent and trustworthy partner for the global brewing industry. It seems that humankind has been brewing beer since the dawn of time and it is Danfoss’ intention to continue assisting this process to the highest standards of efficiency and quality control,” he concludes.
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