Nowadays, there is an increasing trend towards the use of PLC control. After discussing with clients, we have found that everyone has a different understanding of PLC control. Some people believe that PLC means full automation, while others think that only PLC is suitable for their plant. There are also those who believe that PLC can do everything.
Most people have the following wishes when using PLC:
To achieve higher automation and smarter control in order to reduce labor or manual operation.
Comment: Different people have different understandings of the level of automation. A fully automated brewhouse design requires various electronic sensors (such as clearance inspection sensors, level sensors, gravity measurement sensors, foam sensors, bitterness sensors, pressure sensors, etc.) and various automated valves and doors. The investment in such a system would be expensive and unnecessary for a microbrewery.
The next level of automation that most microbreweries prefer is using pneumatic valves only (without other sensors). By replacing manual butterfly valves with pneumatic valves, the brewmaster can control the on/off of the valves on the control panel without having to move around the brewhouse. This reduces labor.
If you expect fully automated control via PLC, it is not realistic as it is too expensive, and it seems that only one company in the world can design it. If you only use the PLC program and touch screen, but the valve is still manual, then the PLC will not provide any advantage in reducing labor compared to PID. Therefore, PID is still recommended.
So if you really prefer PLC, we recommend using pneumatic valves for the brewhouse.
However, we generally do not recommend using PLC and touchscreen for the FV control panel for two reasons:
The fermentation control is easy and simple, and does not require PLC control as it does not add much convenience to the process. In fact, it may make the process more complex. For example, the touch screen has limited space and cannot display both the brewhouse and cellar on the same page. This means that we cannot monitor the temperature of each fermenter on site unless we switch the displayed page from brewhouse to cellar.
Temperature control in the cellar is crucial, and PID is safer than PLC. If one PID control malfunctions, the other PID controls are not affected. However, if a PLC program has a problem, the entire program has to be stopped and fixed. Therefore, PID is more suitable for the cellar.
But if you insist on having a touch screen for the FV control panel, we can combine them.