Today, virtually every industry can benefit from well-processed data – even centuries-old crafts like brewing. Breweries are constantly under pressure from customers demanding high quality, the challenges of a changing market, competitors, and legal requirements. Digitalization plays a decisive role in their sustainable success. It enables tedious, recurring processes, such as sampling in the brewing process, to be not only more efficient, but also more conclusive. After all, the more high-quality data is collected and analyzed, the better planning can be done in advance and the faster action can be taken. Making data transparent is therefore of crucial importance. Endress+Hauser supports brewers with state-of-the-art sensor technology and continuously improved accuracy of instrumentation to make their processes more efficient.
The challenge: Complex monitoring of the fermentation process
During fermentation, the sugar obtained from starch during brewing is converted into alcohol and CO2. Only when most of the fermentable sugar has been converted into alcohol is fermentation complete. One of the brew master’s tasks is to recognize this point in time.
Until now, this has been done using a tried-and-tested method: at regular intervals – once a day, for example – a sample is taken from the fermentation tank, taken to the laboratory, and analyzed. The measurement results are then entered manually in a list. This documents the fermentation process, and the brew master can decide when the time has come for the next production step.
However, this is a time-consuming and not entirely risk-free process. For one thing, someone has to be physically on site to take the sample, and for another, the sample is altered on the way to the lab and through sample preparation and carries a risk (albeit small) of contamination of the fermentation tank.
Take samples, spindling, lab measurements, wait for the analysis, control or even optimize the process, and later do the same thing all over again.
How would it be if the critical values of the beer could be called up at any time? And even in real time and on a smartphone? Endress+Hauser makes this possible.
The solution: The Fermentation Monitor QWX43
Endress+Hauser is a leading supplier of measurement instrumentation, services and solutions for industrial process engineering. The company offers process solutions for flow, level, pressure and temperature measurement, analytical measurement, digital communications and process optimization. With the Netilion IIoT ecosystem, it creates digital services using the most advanced and secure internet technologies.
With the QWX43 fermentation monitor, Endress+Hauser has developed a multisensor system for monitoring temperature, density, viscosity and sound velocity. In breweries, it is used specifically in the fermentation process of beer to monitor sugar, alcohol and fermentation progress.
The Fermentation Monitor is installed directly in the tank in such a way that the measuring elements are located in the lower third of the tank, but still above the cone. The IP66/67-protected housing also contains the power supply and a web server that is connected to the user’s WLAN.
Through this connection, the QWX43 Fermentation Monitor sends sensor measurement data to the Netilion Cloud platform, Endress+Hauser’s IIoT ecosystem for industrial processes. Netilion brings the data directly to a PC or smartphone, where it can be analyzed and displayed in clear dashboards. Similarly, a notification can also be triggered when thresholds are reached. In addition, it is possible for developers to integrate their own applications or cloud solutions via the Netilion API. This can also be done across factories and around the world, improving efficiencies and driving innovation. Logistics optimization saves time, supports compliance and makes calculating results a breeze.
The restult: Sustainable, precise and efficient process contron and monitoring
The QWX43 Fermentation Monitor and the Netilion IIoT ecosystem help breweries focus on their craft in a sustainable way.
Accurate and repeatable measurements replace spindling and laboratory analysis. The parameters relevant to the fermentation process are updated every minute and can be accessed at any time and from anywhere using any Internet-enabled device (smartphone, tablet, PC). Time and effort are saved because the creation, storage and downloading of batches and measured values is also automatic.
Endress+Hauser offers breweries:
✓ Consistent beer quality
✓ Reliable measurement through process instrumentation
✓ Optimized use of raw materials