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New process control technology for traditional malthouse in Bamberg

By 24. July 2017October 12th, 2017No Comments
barmberger Mälzerei

Efficient production and automatic recipe management are the advantages of a tailor-made automation concept.

The Bamberger Mälzerei GmbH – malthouse has everything under control: The new process control system provides for transparency from grain receiving to sale of the malt, as with immediate effect. The software solution runs in real time, with a high degree of standardisation. Thanks to the sophisticated modernisation concept, the malthouse can save costs and increase its efficiency and quality at the same time.

Bamberger Mälzerei GmbH and its subsidiary Donau Malz Bamberger Mälzerei & Co. KG, have been producing premium malts for breweries in Germany and abroad for over 125 years. The total output is almost 100 000 tonnes per year, with annually 40 000 tonnes produced in Bamberg. In order to monitor and successfully control environmental aspects, such as emissions, waste, energy and water consumption, an energy and environment management system in accordance with DIN EN ISO 50001:2011 and with
DIN EN ISO 14001:2009 has been implemented in 2013.

From old stock to the new concept

Our automation concept is an important component of the malthouse’s new energy management with a clear focus on sustainable production.

The outdated control technology complicated energy-efficient use of resources. For several years, the controls of the malthouse were installed in a facility-related manner and reflected the state of technology at that time. Communication with one another or forwarding data to the company management was not guaranteed. The systems were not networked. For the order-related production and their quality assurance, individual software tools, for example Excel, were used, whose handling entailed high manual effort.

The requirements

On the other hand, there was the need for efficient production with automatic recipe-management for the malt: batch-orientated and continuously traceable processes in the production, as well as optimisation potential in energy consumption. Furthermore, data should be readily available in real time. All operation data should be recorded, linked to the production data, logged and processes should be re-visualised.

“Already during the first talks, it became evident, that the Bamberger Mälzerei GmbH wanted to optimise their data from procurement up to quality-guaranteed production and sale”, our managing director Roland Riedl recalls. “For this, the malthouse required process control technology and management software, which were able to communicate with one another and match up.”

Inventory as the basis

Like in most companies which have grown over the years, here too, many control systems were installed in many control cabinets. During the first inventory, we found sensors, actuators and control cabinets in virtually every corner of the building. Inspection of the installed equipment and technology, examination of the existing documentation, clarification of amendments and extensions – all this continuously formed part of our consulting and conceptualisation.

The old inventory of the malthouse included various Simatic S5, GE-Fanuc and Klöckner-Moeller control systems. “This meant that not only different planning tools were needed for amendments and extensions, but also that documentation gaps could cause problems in the modernisation”, Riedl explains. Occasional alterations of the plant technology, left behind un-utilised control technology.

In addition, a new management system “Agrar21” was installed in 2015. The software package is an industry solution that ensures company-specific business processes from the purchase of the grain to quality assurance of malt production and sales. Furthermore, it guarantees necessary documentation of all quality parameters. However, for this, production data are required – which constituted another argument for the modernisation of the entire control infrastructure.

Process control technology with transparency

Our process control technology is used for plant management, process control and documentation. In addition to the Simatic-control systems and the operation and monitoring station, a central configuration tool for all functions and parameters also forms an integral part. Here, plant engineering must not be seen as an isolated island; integration into the operation management must be ensured.

After in-depth consultation with the Bamberger Mälzerei, a comprehensive process control technology concept was implemented. Besides the main systems, it also includes the auxiliary installations, like for example the operation data acquisition of the cooling system or the hot air supply control for the drying kilns.

Abb. 1 koordination der Temperaturführung in den darren

The new hardware concept consists of modern Simatic S7 controls in conjunction with standard PCs or dust-protected, fan-less industry PCs in the production environment. All devices are linked via Profinet and are used for central process management. Profinet (Process Field Network) is an open industrial Ethernet-standard, using TCP/IP protocols and IT standards in the automation and is real time capable. Furthermore, the CPU-modules used in the Simatic controls, have integrated interfaces for Profinet. In this way, cost-effective Ethernet communication is enabled as well as the possibility to connect the production network to Agrar21 in the office network.

Based on the standard Simatic WinCC software, we as the Siemens Solution Partner, supplied the process control technology in form of a redundant Client-Server-Solution. In the event of system failure, thus a second, identical system can assume these tasks. Production losses or even product losses are excluded. Quality data are retained at all times.

The modernisation concept includes standardisation of controls, of software programmes and of visualisation. It involves the entire production process – from the weighing control at receiving to silo control for grain and malt, kilning, green malt and steeping. The most important here are the technological functions for special tasks in the malthouse, optimally suited for the recipe-controlled batch processes: standardised software modules with parametrisable logic.

In the new concept, independent areas receive sectoral controls. The central process control system includes the new decentralised control structures of all plant parts.
In addition, existing WinCC applications were expanded in such way that operation was simplified or made possible in the first place.

In order to ensure modularity of the process control system, different process engineering areas are treated equally with regard to software – irrespective of their size. The software modules include standardised programme modules. Equal functions are only programmed once. In this way, software amendments, for example, in one silo, guarantee functional amendments in all silos. This saves time, money and increases the quality as well as the security of the technological processes.

Furthermore, accessible parameters allow the responsible person to optimise the plants without the help of a programmer. In this way, each authorised operator can assign each task to a scale by visualisation of the raw material scales at any workplace, enter supplier details or choose target silos.

Einfache Zuordnung der Annahmedaten

Fit for the future

And the new process control system can do even more. By means of the technological sequence control with step chains, multi-usable procedures and parameters, Bamberger Mälzerei GmbH can exchange information with the management system in real time at any time in the process engineering procedure.

Steuerung und Visualisierung einer darre

The raw materials and malts used in the silos are centrally captured on a material management database. The same applies for recipe management of the different malt types in the drying kiln. Regardless of whether the job list with automatic starting times, the recording of measured values ​​for all plant parts or the operation data acquisition from the goods flows and production processes: With the new process control system, everything in the malthouse is centrally operated. The often complex reading and documenting of measurement data, reaching decisions on process management, as well as operating control and regulating devices, are things of the past.

transparenz beim Ein Aus oder Umlagern

The process control system, which has been installed, provides Bamberger Mälzerei with crucial transparency in malt production. It ensures consistent quality during production and at the same time is the information hub with interfaces to the plant parts and the operational information system, Agrar21. An important milestone in the history of Bamberger Mälzerei, which successfully rounds off sustainable energy management.

Your Contact Person

Maximilian Rother


Tel.: +49 9131 927 96-70

Your Contact Person

Maximilian Rother


Tel.: +49 9131 927 96-70