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Burkert Control and instrumentation for brewery applications

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BM Engineering Supplies distributes Bürkert instrumentation for a reason. Their extensive knowledge of fluid control systems is second to none. Craft ale brewers, Stroud Brewery, found this out to their benefit when some well-placed control equipment helped them quadruple their daily output without losing the award-winning flavour of their beers. 

Burkert control equipment

We could talk about the quality of our valves and instrumentation from Bürkert until the cows come home. Don’t just take our word for it though. We hear from Lars Frimert, Area Sales Manager for Bürkert, and Stroud Brewery’s Greg Pilley about how Bürkert instrumentation was the perfect ingredient to boost production. 

“Bürkert has vast experience in controlling processes, whether it’s pharmaceutical, food, or in this case, the brewing industry,” begins Lars. “We have provided control systems, and components, for big breweries, but also for microbreweries. When Greg from Stroud Brewery came to see us, and explained what his pains and his needs were, we listened hard, and we managed then to translate that to a visual control system that is easy to use and practical for this tough working environment.”

Level sensors aid brewing process

The system controls eight processes within Stroud Brewery. “There are three main ones,” says Lars. “The first is the strike temperature control, where we control the temperature from the cold liquor tank and the hot liquor tank going into the copper, where it’s been mixed with the grain into the mash tun. It’s very important that the temperature is correct, and with the help of our temperature probes and our control system, we control the speed of the motors to achieve that precision.”

The next is the run-off from the mash tun. “This was previously a very labour-intensive process, where you needed to have a look at the vessel continuously,” continues Lars. “We solved that problem by putting three level sensors in the vessel. The control system uses the information from those level sensors, and controls the run-off, so you never run dry or overflow. With that, the head brewer, or the brewers – they can walk away, and leave it on its own, and can do other things during that time.”

The third key process requiring control is the temperature control of the fermentation vessels. Lars explains: “They can’t be too high and they can’t be too low. The control system reads from our temperature probes what the temperature is, and adjusts that accordingly. We then either cool it, with the water from the chillers, or we heat it via a heating pad.

“To help future-proof this system, we put in a remote monitoring system as well, so Greg and his team might not need to be here all the time. Because the process is monitored, if something is going outside the parameters, there could be a SMS message sent to his mobile phone to alert him that he needs, maybe, to log in on a PC somewhere and investigate what’s happening or he can go down to the site, and do whatever he needs to correct that problem. I’m sure we will persuade him to take this option sooner or later.

“To give you an overview of what Bürkert has done here, in essence we have provided the hardware, the software, and the knowledge, to give Greg the flexibility and control to do what he does best: brew a great beer,” he adds.

Flow meters add basic level of automation

Running the original brew house at full capacity was an increasingly uncomfortable situation for Greg Pilley and his team at Stroud Brewery. “We were all working flat-out as a team and none of us found it very easy to have holidays without doubling the workload of somebody else,” he explains. “You couldn’t be sick and we certainly couldn’t afford to have any problems in the brewery, which is quite nerve-wracking.”

However, thanks to the new specialised instrumentation from Bürkert, Stroud Brewery can now brew four times as much beer in a single day as they did previously. All achieved with a basic level of automation that still provides them with enough hands-on control when they need it. 

“We haven’t gone overboard with it but what it means is that just by the use of food-grade level-sensors, flow meters, and an intelligent control panel, we don’t have to stand over the process continuously. And that’s enabled us to grow the capacity of our brewery without compromising on quality. So we’ve maintained our quality, and the beer is identical to what we brewed before – it’s just that there is more of it,” adds Greg. 

Speak to BM Engineering Supplies today about our complete range of Bürkert Instrumentation by calling 0141 762 0657 or email sales@bmengineering.co.uk.

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