Brewery minimizes downtime with controls update
Two obsolete PLCs were replaced by a modern controller while the original I/O was kept, thanks to a new control network gateway.
Founded in 1882, Brains Brewery makes the ale that satisfies any beer connoisseur, from those who prefer unique craft varieties, such as Calypso and Bragging Rights, to those who like more traditional ales like SA. Other brews include Brains Bitter, Brains Dark and Brains Black.
Based in Cardiff, Wales, Brains recently decided it was time to upgrade its yeast handling control process with a Rockwell Automation CompactLogix system. “The yeast press PLC-2 control system was 25 years old. Spares were becoming more difficult to obtain, and the hardware was starting to become unreliable,” says Keith Gorf, engineering manager at Brains Brewery. Since yeast is such an important ingredient in brewing beer, Brains decided to postpone the upgrade until after the Christmas period to avoid downtime. Mike Cooper of IAC Engineering, a UK-based system integrator, proposed using ProSoft Technology’s Remote I/O to Ethernet (AN-X2-DHRIO) gateway to allow the CompactLogix system to communicate with six originally installed 1771 Remote I/O racks. “The main goal of the project was to upgrade two PLC-2 controllers, replacing them with the CompactLogix system,” explains Cooper.
“The commissioning time was reduced massively because the existing remote I/O cards and wiring could be retained,” adds Cooper. “Only the processor and software needed to be added and commissioned, not the field wiring.”
“Using the ProSoft gateway allowed a quick installation time and no changes to plant control layout,” says Gorf. “The operators were able to carry on using the yeast room control system as they had always done. That means there were no retraining issues.”
The gateway reduced project cost by 40 percent since Brains did not need to rip out the old wiring, install new wiring and change out the I/O system. The system also retains the 1771 Remote I/O cards with the CompactLogix processor, so no additional spare I/O cards need to be carried, and none of the Remote I/O had to be rewired.
In addition, the Remote I/O-to-Ethernet gateway allows a great level of flexibility, so the different racks of I/O can be moved onto a network and controlled from different PLCs, if required. The ProSoft gateway also places the I/O data onto Ethernet, which can be accessed anywhere on the plant network at a higher speed, according to Cooper.