Automated Brew House



Jan 13, 2012

Process Description

A fully automated 50bbl Brew house is capable of producing 400bbls (12400gal.) of beer per day. One Pentra Micro PLC controls the entire system via: 3 modulating steam valves, 78 air actuated valves, 11 pumps, 4 water modulating valves, an entire grain handling system, 3 gear motors, numerous pressure and temperature transducer inputs, 4 flow meters, 11 empty pipe sensors, and many more devices.

PLC Process Design

Pentra Micro PLC used: (1) FC5A-D12X1E


  1. Modbus TCPIP Master/Slave to another FC5A-D12X1E for CIP functions
  2. Ethernet to new 12” HG4G touchscreen
  3. Modbus RS485 to 11 Hitachi VFDs
  4. Ethernet to Control Room PC for SCADA operation via IDEC TCPIP protocol

List of Modules attached

  1. (5) FC4A-J8C1 - A total of 37 analog inputs used
  2. (2) FC4A-K4A1 - A total of 7 analog outputs used
  3. FC4A-HPC3 - Modbus RS485 comm. connected to 11 Hitachi VFDs
  4. Expansion power module
  5. (4) FC4A-N32B3 - A total of 176 digital inputs used
  6. (4) FC4A-T32K3 - A total of 186 digital outputs used

Features and Benefits of using the embedded Ethernet MicroSmart Pentra

  • Ethernet based interface allowed us to install a standard PC with internet explorer and use the built-in control and monitor features from the 12" HG4G. By NOT having to purchase a third party SCADA program, we saved the customer approx. $25,000.
  • Ethernet based connection allowed multiple interactions through only one port (i.e. touchscreen, programming, TCPIP Modbus link to another PLC) thus saving module space for more analog I/O.
  • Ethernet based connection allowed for easy remote connection to the PLC and touchscreen.
  • Ethernet based connection will be used for easily adding future touchscreens.
  • Ethernet based PLC processor was powerful enough to run the entire Brew House using only one MicroSmart Pentra PLC.

Simple diagram of design/system

Diagram of design/system


Picture of actual control panel with IDEC PLC and modules

control panel with IDEC PLC and modules

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