Tim Schrodt, Industry Manager Food and Beverage Endress+Hauser Messtechnik, Weil am Rhein, Germany
Oettinger, a company with a long-standing tradition of beer brewing, is a benchmark for innovative technology in the German brewing industry. The economical use of resources and environmentally sustainable production processes are among the company’s stated objectives. As a full-line supplier of measuring technology, services and solutions, Endress+Hauser supplies the process automation to help implement this business strategy.
Brewing giant Oettinger Brauerei GmbH has its second German biggest production center in the town of Mönchengladbach. This is considered Oettinger’s engineering and technology center, and was also where the foundation was laid for company-wide collaboration with Endress+Hauser as the primary supplier of measuring technology. This partnership grew out of consistent support and attention provided by Endress+Hauser’s dedicated sales engineer, who was always on hand with valuable application expertise and knowledge thanks to his specialization in the food and drinks sector.
Start-to-finish monitoring and documentation of the water treatment system ensures consistent quality of beer from the very first stage of production. Endress+Hauser sensors monitor the well level, temperature, conductivity and pH value of the water. The Memosens technology of the pH sensors guarantees constant measured value availability even in wet environments. Thanks to inductive signal and energy transmission, there is no need for moisture-sensitive metal contacts between the sensor and transmitter. In addition, a chip in the head of the digital pH electrode saves the calibration data and measuring point number, making quality assurance significantly easier. In areas where the use of glass is not permitted, the company can rely on the Tophit lSFET (ion-sensitive field effect transistor) pH sensor made from PEEK. A degassing column is utilized to degas the water. Here, defined amounts of CO2 are supplied to the system from below as a stripping gas in order to strip the water of undesired oxygen. Undeterred by variations in pressure and temperature, this task is the responsibility of the Promass 80F flowmeter (image 2). The CIP capability of the instrument also plays an important role in other CO2 dosing processes, such as blending.
The master brewers at the brewery are always open to innovative process improvements provided they exceed the usual quality standards. For example, the Oettinger progressive pressure boiling process (OEPDK) was developed for the wort boiling process to unlock potential energy savings. In this project, EngyCal RH33 BTU Meter forms the infrastructure backbone to control the amount of energy introduced, and to record the amount of energy consumed. Using the flow and temperature measured values from the warm water feed and return line, the BTU Meters calculate local energy consumption and transmit the data to the process control system. The Promag P is responsible for electromagnetic flow measurement while the temperature is measured with the modular Omnigrad TR25 thermometer. The Measuring technology forms the I&C backbone to the OEPDK process which guarantees an ecological and economical wort boiling procedure.
With modern plants and efficient technologies, the brewery continues to set new standards time and time again in the industry. Pentair’s BMF (beer membrane filtration) + FLUX system has been in operation at the Mönchengladbach site since the end of 2014. The new generation of this technology reduces energy needed for beer filtration. Endress+Hauser measuring technology for flow, pressure and temperature supports the flexibility and automatic operation of this facility that filters around 600 hl of beer per hour in a continuous process over two lines.
The measuring technology installed is also a mainstay of product safety alongside end-to-end quality control and the use of high-grade materials. The Promag H100 electromagnetic flowmeter has been improved to form a multiparameter device. Now the conductivity value can also be measured in addition to the volume flow and the temperature. In this way, Promag H100 can be used in the process to detect phase change between the cleaning agent and rinsing water, making it possible to identify any unwanted cleaning agent residue in the product long before the bottling process begins. The brewery supported practical testing of the instrument under real-life conditions. As a multiparameter device, Promag H100 eliminates the need to install a separate conductivity meter at various points in production. As an additional measuring point is not needed, this minimizes the risk of recontamination. The brewery places a strong emphasis on the hygienic design of process components. Over 35 EHEDG-certified (European Hygienic Engineering & Design Group) instruments are utilized in the plant to support this focus. Additionally, all hygienic connections commonly used in the food and beverage industry are used for the process connections.
Wastewater treatment, cost recording and energy generation
The launch of a new wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) at the Mönchengladbach site marked a milestone in the implementation of the brewery’s resource-efficient strategy. This WWTP not only eliminates up to 90% of the contaminants present in the wastewater, but also converts this material in the wastewater to biogas. This biogas is used as a source of energy in the boiler house alongside gas to heat the water. The Proline t-mass 65F thermal flowmeters (image 4) record the gas flow feed to the boiler furnace. Energy usage data is recorded consistently throughout the entire brewery, starting from this point and continuing, for example, with steam consumption measurement in the brewing house using the Prowirl vortex flowmeter. The RMC 621 energy manager provides the energy consumption data to brewery staff directly in kWh values.
A partnership based on trust In addition to the broad portfolio of process instrumentation products, the brewery also attaches particular importance to service and support. A solid relationship of trust has formed over the years through two-way knowledge sharing, particularly in projects. If problems occur, fast service and support is essential to keep the modern production plants running at optimum production capacity. As the reasons for incorrect measured values can be many and varied, the process managers at Oettinger are happy to rely on Endress+ Hauser’s application expertise. This application expertise also supports a lean spare parts concept that is being facilitated with the involvement of the plant contractors in the standardization of measurement technology. All of these reasons have resulted in Oettinger appointing Endress+Hauser the preferred full-line supplier for the entire company group.