Maintaining the taste for Chinese beer-lovers

Among the world’s fastest-growing beer markets, China has topped the list for years in terms of beer production and consumption. With digitalized production in the biggest brewery in Central China, CR Snow produces high-end beer for beer-lovers in China.

“An intelligent digital transformation is crucial for the brewery industry in order to boost competitiveness, especially in an era when the demands of consumers are becoming more and more diversified and personalized,” says Ding Xiaobing, Assistant General Manager of China Resources Snow Breweries (CR Snow).

Fully realizing the benefits of digitalization

CR Snow Wuhan factory, launched in 2018, is the biggest brewery in Central China. “Siemens’ digital solutions for the brewery industry have enabled the factory to fully realize the benefits of digitalization. The technology plays a key role in developing new products and ensuring a stable supply of high-end beer in Central China,” Ding Xiaobing says.

Maintaining taste consistency

How can you maintain taste consistency across different breweries? The answer lies in stable process control.

 

Genuine beer is made of a mixture of malt, yeast, water, and hops that goes through a process involving milling, mashing, fermentation, filtration, and packaging. On the production line in the CR Snow Wuhan factory, a bottle of beer has to pass through nearly 300 processes, especially during the mashing and fermentation. Numerous parameters like time, temperature, and pressure need to be controlled accurately and stably to ensure taste consistency.

Braumat ensures flexibility and quality

At the CR Snow Wuhan factory, a Braumat control system provides efficient batch and recipe management and helps ensure maximum production flexibility and quality consistency. The state-of-the-art recipe system complies with the international ISA-88 standard. It simplifies the creation and modification of recipes with an intuitive graphic display. Process parameters and steps can be easily adjusted in line with changes in orders and production status. The highly flexible production line accelerates the R&D of new products and enables faster time-to-market.

 

One of the biggest advantages of Braumat is that it can record, archive, and manage data by batches. By reviewing all the data of the related recipes and processes for each order, factory operators can trace the entire production process of every bottle of beer.

The new ingredients for beer brewing 

Data now play a key role in intelligent digital breweries. How to realize the interconnection between machines has become one of the issues concerning factory operators because it collects data in a holistic approach. A reliable industrial network is a prerequisite to fully realize and enable the benefits of digitalization. Operators can then improve the factory’s production efficiency and lower costs by analyzing the data.

 

By using Profinet industrial communications network based on Scalance switches, CR Snow Wuhan Factory has already implemented an efficient central monitoring system for the brewing area. Big data is generated every day in the mashing and fermentation processes. Simatic S7 controllers receive, archive, and analyze the data and send it to Braumat for central monitoring and management.

 

Simatic S7 1200/1500 controllers are also used in the packaging line and auxiliary processes. “In the future, we’ll connect dozens of isolated machines in the packaging line using TIA Portal. The ultimate goal is to realize overall plant monitoring by further implementing the OMAC standard,” says Lu Zhikang, Director of the Quality Department at the Hubei Regional Company, CR Snow.

Stable brewing and packaging processes

As the cornerstone of digitalization in the factory, Siemens TIA solutions enable stable and reliable control for brewing and packaging processes. The integrated Siemens solutions – including Simatic WinCC, Simatic PLC, Sinamics V90 Servo systemSitop power supply, and Scalance switches – ensure constant and reliable production and have significantly enhanced the overall efficiency of the factory.

As the leader of China's brewery industry, China Resources Snow Breweries (CR Snow) had an annual production capacity of about 210 million hectoliters in 2018 and a total sales volume of 112.85 million hectoliters, which accounts for nearly 30 percent of the market share in China. Managing more than 78 breweries and more than 30 beer brands in China, CR Snow is growing sustainably and continues to innovate with cutting-edge technologies.

January 2020

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