Improved network enables higher volume beer production

Dramatic changes in the beer industry over the past 10 years have seen mergers and acquisitions, the emergence of craft brewers and many consumers opting for high-end domestic and premium beers. With some financial analysts predicting a stable global beer market for the next three to five years, many brewers are looking at new strategies to drive growth.

Longtime importer Constellation Brands Inc. (CBI) started brewing beer itself after buying Grupo Modelo’s U.S. distribution rights in 2013 along with its sprawling brewery in Nava, Mexico. Under the terms of its acquisition, the brewery’s operations were to be completely self-sufficient – ​​without any help from Grupo Modelo – by June 2016.

“In addition to the delay, CBI had to increase its annual production capacity from 8.5 million to 20 million hectoliters [225 million to 528 million gallons] in the same timeframe to meet anticipated market growth,” said Chris Renken, Vice President of Manufacturing Systems at CBI.

The plant’s expansion strategy was simple but challenging. “While we were building, we needed to keep the existing brewery running while making connections to critical infrastructure such as water treatment systems, ammonia systems and power generation systems,” Renken explains. .

Standardize the network

To achieve all of this also required a network upgrade for the 885 acre plant – the existing network lacked the necessary separation and availability.

CBI turned to Siemens Professional Services for Industrial Networks for advice on designing and implementing the new network design, with the overall goal of optimizing plant availability and segmentation.

“Originally, packaging lines, laser-guided automated transport vehicles, and our high-density storage facilities operated on a single flat Layer 2 network,” Renken explains. “Any time we had a broadcast storm on the network or someone accidentally plugged a loop, all packaging operations were halted, with huge operational impacts to get back online.”

The updated design includes three separate industrial plant networks for brewing, packaging and utilities. These control and operations networks feature 1 Gb fiber rings over Profinet using the High Speed ​​Redundancy Protocol (HRP) to ensure network resiliency and availability.

Within these 1 Gb fiber optic rings are three layers consisting of a ground-level access network with Scalance XC-200 managed switches that interconnect to programmable logic controllers (PLCs), remote I/O ET200SP, WinCC servers and human-machine interfaces (HMI) . From there, the rings connect through Scalance 307-3LD managed switches to a higher-level data distribution layer. These layers then connect to a core layer that uses a Scalance XM-408-8C Layer 3 managed switch to securely connect to the industrial core network of the CBI plant.

Field commissioning for the new network design took only a few days for each area of ​​the plant, according to the project team.

In addition to the security, redundancy and scalability benefits of managed switches, CBI also needed a comprehensive network management and remote monitoring system for all devices and equipment. The global brewer uses Sinema server software to manage more than 200 switches and provide network visibility, including automatic topology discovery, 24/7 network monitoring and comprehensive diagnostics. Sinema can automatically detect all network components and map them topologically or as a list.

Nava’s network diagnostics are also integrated into WinCC HMI/SCADA platforms from the factory and can issue warnings and error messages via an OPC interface. Event logs and alarms are also captured for performance audits.

The deployment of the Nava Brewery plant extension was carried out in phases. The first phase added 10 million hectoliters (264 million gallons) of brewing capacity and included five packaging lines, including one capable of handling 4,000 cans per minute. All supporting utilities, including 18 MW of power generation, were completed on time in June 2016.

To accommodate the additional brewing capacity in the first phase, the plant expansion also included a wireless network extension that supports 78 production vehicles and 48 shipping laser-guided vehicles (LGVs). At the Nava plant, 80 Scalance Wi-Fi access points, a mix of Siemens W770 and W880 models, allow the company’s LGV Traffic Manager to coordinate routes for each LGV and assign points of pickup/delivery.

With the updated network in place, Nava Brewery staff are trained and certified to handle this large modern architecture and can also rely on Siemens Professional Services staff for consultation as needed.

“With a proven track record of delivering hundreds of large-scale industrial networking projects, Siemens took the risk of our choice,” Renken said. “We were confident they could help us design and deploy a standardized network model that could serve us and any future requirements.”

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