Top Areas of Factory Automation in Beer & Spirits Industry

Updated: Mar 4, 2021

The automated centralized system of manufacturing beer and spirits has a number of positives and learn the modern beer making process.

What is Factory Automation?

Factory automation and infrastructure is a phrase that is currently often used to define the procedure of integrating automation with the manufacturing process of making products.

With the introduction of artificial intelligence in automation in the manufacturing environment, the ability to make and assemble products is solely done by machines, robotic arms, and integrated assembly lines. All this is possible only because of the Specialized Industrial Sensors.

This environment is defined by their accurate coordination with the automatic machines that form a complete process. To add depth to this process of automation, artificial intelligence is used.

Many giant companies use system integrators like Rockwell to improve industrial production.

It is designed to reduce the time spent on managing equipment and procedures. The time saved can be utilized in the art of crafting beers and spirits.

Many companies are now making beers and spirits with the infusion of artificial intelligence in their systems. Also, many machine manufacturers have now started to assess modern automation technology.


What are the Benefits of Factory Automation in the Beer and Spirit Industry?

The most important benefit of factory automation is to reduce the risks that are linked to labor-intensive and dangerous work done by the workers.

This system is a solution for manufacturing products with automation in the beer and spirit industry.

Below mentioned are the benefits that you can experience:


Factory automation for the production of beer and spirits have increased the safety of the workers.

Since the entire process is now automated, the risk of laborious and dangerous work has significantly reduced.


This is another positive point that you can experience with factory automation. One of the challenges that the brewing industry faced was finding the correct separation technology.

The centrifuge technology adopted by the industry greatly improved product quality and increased production. Thus, helps in reducing overhead expenses.

Factory automation is simple to operate without having a human to stand and filter the beer all day.


This is another benefit that you can get with automation. While filtering, manufacturers want a particular flow rate based on the type of beer.

With IoT sensors this was possible, and it would give employees the leverage to multitask. The technology doesn’t require manual intervention. One can set it and let it run.

This is possible because of software like Zenon that visualizes the tasks, controls, and monitors even the most complicated networks.

Get More out of IoT Sensors

IoT sensors can help gather data for making smarter decisions. This data is then used in applications that make the production process better and smoother.

Hop is an ingredient that needs to be processed within 12 hours of being harvested. The IoT enabled sensors collect all the required details and ensure they are used in brewing in its best condition.

Brewing companies like Great Lakes Brewing Company and Finger Food use IoT to gather data and increase productivity by reducing production time loss.

Integrating IoT to monitor beer pour in bars can help save up to $12,000 every year. The sensors also help make inventory more precise by measuring how much beer is left in the keg.

Improved Quality of Production

Automation helps in drastically improving the quality of production since the process is not done manually, thus eliminating the minute chances of human error.


Modern Beer Making Process

The beer and spirit making process is mostly automated but still requires manual intervention like when the sensor reads a failure and shuts down.

Below mentioned are the three steps that are completely automated:

Centralized Brew System

This automated system controls the primary stages of brewing as it is collected and then exposed to heat.

Bottling and Canning Lines

This process is entirely automated, and it includes small but very important steps like eliminating oxygen within every bottle, the time stamp for shelf life, and putting them into holders and shipping boxes.

Barrel Washers

In some breweries, keg lines are completely automated, while in some a little manual intervention is required which still saves a lot of time. This makes the job simpler.


Today, the beer and spirits industry is using factory automation to a large extent, and here are some examples.

Example 1

University College Ghent and Ghent University in Ghent, Belgium have collaborated with The American company Emerson to work on the Belgium brewing industry.

They require automation technology as well as sensors on a pilot scale to produce beer.

Example 2

Emerson worked with a laboratory to create a Plantweb of IIoT technologies that are used in brewing automation.

This pilot brewery has a remote diagnostics system that enables the technicians to observe the system from Emerson’s office in Diegem, Belgium. This lab can invent, create, and test all kinds of recipes.

Digital automation technology is widely used in the modern brewing and spirits industry to provide a large variety of beers without any downtime.

The automation systems provide real-time detection of quality problems, avoiding the issues that could waste time and products, and reduce consumption of water and other resources.

Example 3

Sleeman team worked with a system integrator for Rockwell Automation, McRae Integration, to design and execute an automation system process to decrease risk, increase capacity, and give real-time production updates.

The Sleeman team wanted a single platform that would provide them insights in the line and in between facilities to continuously improve and meet their goals while making great beer.

McRae applied a phased approach formed around the PlantPAx distributed control system from Rockwell Automation.

This system includes reporting and a software that gathers data, tracks and records all the key processes to determine brew cycle trends. This allows the owners to make changes where required.

McRae customized the solutions, ideal for brewing applications that give control to the operators via web interfaces. They then worked with Sleeman’s team to install VMware virtualized servers.

These virtualized servers can replace four physical servers, thus reducing hardware expenses. Within 15 days of implementation, Sleeman saw a boost in production by 50%, from eight brews daily to 12 brews.

Brian O’Reilly, brew master from Sly Fox, in an interview with BetterBuys once stated that they have upgraded to a modern can filler system that has tripled their output with the same number of people working on it.

Sensor Application Example

A brewery in the US Midwest, ABB LM80 laser level transmitters were installed on a support beam off the ceiling. It was installed at a place that ensured the bins are moved, filled and emptied without damaging the transmitters.

The transmitters were installed in a way that the at a distance to the top of the hop bin was around 5 ft when full and 12 ft when unoccupied.

They tried using the ultrasonic transmitters and observed little success due to severe peak up and slump down in hop bins.

They even tried the open path radar type level transmitters, but failed again due to the same reasons as the Ultrasonic transmitters.

The ABB laser transmitters were chosen due to:

● Right measurement in all the angles of repose of hops

● Reasonable price

● Ease of installation and configuration

● A straightforward 2 axis mounting kit

● Dust tubes

● Fast delivery


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