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[Music]
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>>Alexi: Today, I’m fortunate enough to be in Fort Collins, Colorado,
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home to the New Belgium Brewing Company,
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one of the largest and most successful microbreweries in the United States.
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New Belgium is unique not only because of its high level of automation, but also because
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of its commitments to green practices and environmental stewardship.
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Of course, New Belgium makes great beers, like the popular “Fat Tire Amber Ale,”
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but it does so operating in the most eco-friendly ways possible. Let’s take a closer look
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and see how New Belgium does it.
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To handle its extensive automation needs, New Belgium relies on Opto 22 SNAP PAC Systems.
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The Opto hardware controls the facility's brewing processes, water treatment facilities,
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sustainability efforts, and a lot of the building management.
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To find out more, I had the opportunity to sit down and talk with Igor Valuyev, the Chief
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Electrical and Automation Engineer here at New Belgium.
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So first things first, where did the names “New Belgium” and “Fat Tire” come from?
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>>Igor: As far as the name of our flagship product, “Fat Tire”, our founder Jeff
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Lebesch, used to be an avid home brewer. When Jeff traveled through Europe, he traveled
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through Belgium on a bicycle and fell in love with Belgian beer culture. At that time mountain
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biking wasn’t very prevalent in Europe so people were asking him where did he get this
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weird-looking bike. He came back home, brewed a beer, and decided to commemorate his trip
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and called his beer “Fat Tire,” so that was a part of our culture, Belgian beers,
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New Belgium Brewing Company.
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>>Alexi: New Belgium’s founders created a company list of core values and beliefs.
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Producing world-class beer was one of them of course, but high on the list was environmental
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stewardship and honoring nature at every turn of the business. And we’re not talking just
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a few recycling bins here and there. We’re talking about a company-wide dedication to
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reducing their impact on the environment. Igor, can you tell us a little bit about the
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energy management practices that you have here?
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>>Igor: Everything that we do, everything that we engineer around here, we try to keep
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environment in mind. Just as an example, we’re sitting at this table. This table is made
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out of recycled wood, recycled tires, and old FED EX tubes as legs. That’s just one
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of the daily examples. But from the controls and automation perspectives, we are proud
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to be the first wind-powered brewery in the United States. Whatever it doesn’t come
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from the wind farm comes from our co-generation unit. It’s also controlled by the Opto 22
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system. Our brewing system is one of the most efficient systems in the world. We are also
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right now involved in a joint partnership with our local utilities to work on load shedding.
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That allowed the local utility
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to save a lot of resources on building substations throughout the area.
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>>Alexi: Going green is of course good for the environment, but it’s interesting to
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see that it doesn’t have to be bad for the bottom line. For example, you save over $3,000.00
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a month in your electricity bills. Where do you find that savings?
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>>Igor: The process water treatment plant is taking our waste stream, which is very
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biologically intense, and those little bacteria multiply, they eat up the biological particles
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and produce methane, which in turn we collect and with giant balloons on our property, and
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burn this gas with our co-generation unit, thus producing electricity and shaving our
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peaks at the same time.
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>>Alexi: Making beer seems like it’s a very water intensive process as well. How have
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you reduced your water consumption?
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>>Igor: By being able to first of all monitor our water consumption. And currently we are
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at one barrel of beer to four barrels of water, which is a very, very good number in our industry.
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And automaton helps because we can make our processes very precise. By doing so we can
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make usage of our water more efficient.
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>>Alexi: I understand you have over ten thousand points of I/O. What types of things are you controlling?
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>>Igor: Literally, with our ten thousand points of I/O, we control everything throughout the
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brewery. From the brewing processes to CIP’s, to filtration processes to building processes.
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And steam generation, our cold glycol generation, our process water treatment facility and
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our utilities, some of our IT processes interacting with our UPS systems. The goal of
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the system is to keep the temperatures, the pressures, the flows, the times at a very
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precise rate, as well as being able to adjust recipes on the fly. There are numerous PID
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loops throughout the facilities. There is a lot of discreet control, a lot of pumps,
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valves, sophisticated metering devices. We also have some interfaces to our lab and quality
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measurement system. So all of that together comprises a successful brewery like we are.
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>>Alexi: Right, and these are complex PID loops. You’re often doing cascading PID loops?
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>>Igor: Yes, there is certain devices that require, they’re actually high-speed devices,
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for example our “Variomill,” which allows us first of all to make the product better
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but also makes it safer, so as we’re milling, we're adding water, which basically we’re eliminating
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dust, which makes our process much safer.
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Our SCADA system, our HMI, is Wonderware InTouch and the system kind of has a dual purpose.
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One purpose is for the operators to interact with it so we try to basically replicate whatever’s
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in the real world, and that system is also used for education to people who go on the tours here.
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Currently, the Wonderware system is communicating over Opto’s OPC Server, using Ethernet through
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the PAC system. Pretty much, everything that the control system has, is brought into the,
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at least the Data Historian and stored in something like a Microsoft SQL Server Database.
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From there, this data is being consumed by our ERP, by our Track and Trace system, by
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our KPI modules, by the lab systems and all those databases are integrated, so it’s
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very cohesive system all together.
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>>Alexi: I understand the bottling and packaging system is controlled by a more traditional
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PLC system. Do you have any plans to have that system talk to your other systems in the facility?
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>>Igor: As a matter of fact, we are currently working on a project that will establish communications,
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seamless communications, over Ethernet between Rockwell, Allen Bradley system and Opto 22
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PAC system. So far, we’ve done factory acceptance tests on it and the results were very favorable
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and we succeeded passing factory acceptance tests for that particular project. Our packaging
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hall is 100% Ethernet based. It’s also, we are using a lot of wireless technologies
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from Cisco that allows our maintenance personnel to troubleshoot our systems without any wires.
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More and more control systems are integrated with their IT systems. And in our case they
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are. They are truly integrated with our IT systems all the way to the ERP system that we have.
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>>Alexi: You recently finished a conversion process where you converted legacy Opto 22
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equipment to the newer SNAP PAC systems. Why did you do that and how did the process go?
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>>Igor: Opto hardware is very unique. First of all we are using, you know pretty much
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looking at New Belgium, you can look at Opto’s history. We are using from the very first
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generation of I/O that Opto 22 had offered, the Optomux system, all the way to the most
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cutting edge I/O that Opto’s offering right now, the PAC System. And you can imagine that
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everything in this brewery used to be controlled by old legacy system, and doing that, doing
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the conversion while the brewery is running live is a very difficult task that we were
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able to accomplish with very, very, minimal disruptions to the process and production.
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We saved a lot of money. We saved literally millions of dollars by keeping our existing
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legacy I/O and upgrading the brains if you would, of the systems, the controllers of
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the systems to the new control architecture.
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>>Alexi: And that original Opto is still running?
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>>Igor: Yeah, that original Opto is still there. It’s still making us money. It’s
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still making beer.
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I’d like to thank New Belgium for brewing great beer so we can enjoy and feel good about
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drinking, and for providing refreshing examples of corporate and environmental responsibility.
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And thank you for watching. Be sure to visit Opto22.com for more information and to check
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out our other great Opto videos. Cheers!