Schneider Electric sponsored content 2015-09-15 12:38:24
Wireless controllers help keep watch over critical storage areas. Allagash Brewing Company of Portland, Maine, is one of the premier craft brewers in the United States. Founded in 1995 to handcraft “the best Belgian-inspired beers in the world,” the company produces more than a dozen year-round and seasonal beers that are sold around the country. Temperature control is critical for quality brewing, and the company had been using Schneider Electric controllers in its plant for some time to monitor temperatures and control chillers and boilers. But in the company’s remote warehouse just four miles away, where beer is stored while awaiting shipment, simple thermostats were still in use. “Our workers are well-trained and they kept an eye on the temperatures all the time,” said Seán Diffley, plant engineer at Allagash Brewing Company. “But we had no way of monitoring the temperatures when no one was on duty.” Furthermore, Allagash wanted the ability to set up alerts and alarms, track energy use over time, and integrate the temperature controls with other systems so they could more effectively manage their facilities. In early 2014 the company decided to replace the thermostats with advanced controllers that could integrate with their other environmental systems and provide improved monitoring and control of warehouse temperatures. “Superior quality is part of our core mission,” said Diffley, “and we knew that upgrading our environmental control technology would help us fulfill that mission.” Like many warehouses, Allagash’s facility is comprised of large rooms and very high ceilings. The refrigerated room is kept at between 58 and 62 degrees Fahrenheit, while the warm room is maintained at 72 degrees Fahrenheit. “The warehouse at Allagash presented a special challenge with ceilings about 40 feet high,” said Scott Jameson, with Schneider Electric partner Maine Controls. “It wasn’t practical or cost-effective to run wires through the building.” Schneider Electric’s SE7600 wireless room controllers bridged the gap between stand-alone sensors and intelligent building management systems, delivering simplified automation and communications to a broad range of existing and new structures. These controllers are open and interoperable, fully supporting standards like LonWorks®, BACnet®, and TCP/IP and extend interoperability into the wireless world with ZigBee support. Maine Controls installed SE7600 controllers in both the refrigerated and warm rooms. The controllers monitor the AC equipment and are integrated into Schneider Electric’s ENC-520 Enterprise Network Controller, which provides integrated control, supervision, and network management solutions for LonWorks, BACnet MS/TP, and Modbus® controllers. Results the Company Can See Just a few months earlier, Allagash had only simplistic thermostats in their warehouse, and they relied on employees to manually check the temperature. Now Allagash is trend-logging temperatures so they can see what’s happening over time. They’ve also set alarms that contact personnel when the temperatures are out of range. Diffley said the company loves the new capabilities because it can respond quickly to a problem. “If we have an issue with temperature, now we know it right away,” said Diffley. “Storage temperatures can be just as an important as brewing temperatures. We see this upgrade as another essential step in making the world’s finest Belgian-inspired beers.” Best of all, according to Diffley, managers can see what’s happening in their facilities, day or night: “I get alarms sent straight to my phone.” Expanding a Solution That Works Once Allagash saw how easy and effective the warehouse monitoring solution was, they asked Maine Controls to replace the thermostats in the company’s offices, which are part of the brewing plant in Portland. “We installed four more SE7600 units in the office areas, controlling rooftop units,” said Jameson. These were tied into the network and the Web interface, giving Allagash a single management view of all facilities. “One of the reasons we worked with Schneider Electric controllers is their flexibility and scalability. We know we are providing our customers with a solution not just for today’s challenge, but tomorrow’s as well.” Allagash Brewing Company now has a single, integrated system for monitoring and controlling temperatures in all their facilities, from offices to plant to warehouse. Maine Controls was even able to integrate old chillers and boilers that use a different network protocol, thanks to the interoperability of Schneider Electric solutions. Added Diffley: “We’re just beginning to understand how we can use this integrated view of operations to reduce energy use and, most importantly, improve quality.”
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