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Robotics Case Studies

Automation Reduces Energy Usage for Brewery

JMP Solutions, Automation and Robotics Division

The Customer’s Challenge
A major North American brewery required JMP’s assistance on a project that was part of an overall strategy for reducing energy usage. The client operated eight compressors in the powerhouse. Five of the compressors were Vilter compressors previously provided with direct PLC control (on-off with priority and sequencing).

The remaining three compressors were screw type and used dedicated Frick controllers. No PLC control was available for these three compressors. There was no coordination on set-points or variable loading and sequencing. Compressors were often running when not necessary due to lack of overall coordination.

The JMP Approach and JMP’s Unique Value
This project brought the Frick compressor controls to the PLC 5/40, coordinating the other compressors. This required a custom communication driver, developed by JMP, which supported the controller protocol. The application used RS-485 serial communications.

Automation of the compressors included:

  • Load/Unload/Start/Stop commands
  • All alarms retrieved and displayed on HMI
  • Automatic and manual operation

The automatic operation uses a control algorithm developed at JMP in association with the compressor vendor. Automatic control considered energy usage and effective operating range of the compressor.

The Customer Payoff

  • Reduced energy costs for ammonia compression
  • Better control of the suction pressure of ammonia system. This was confirmed with a graphical analysis of operating pressures.

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