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fullsail.png“The addition of the Mash Filter was a leap forward in brewing technology.” —James Emmerson, Executive Brewmaster, Full Sail







Automation project allows brewer to cut material, water use

The world, it seems, can’t get enough of the beer put out by Full Sail Brewing Co. For four straight years, the company has increased production by more than 15%.

To keep up with that growth, Full Sail decided it needed to automate the process it used for separating wort from the barley malt mash in order to brew beer. The company had been using a traditional lauter tun vessel system for mash separation, but it required too much manual labor, data testing, and reporting. It also left spent grain with an 82% moisture content, which leaves some wort remnants behind.

Transporting this wet spent grain was adding to costs. The goal was to create a more consistent product and increase filtration efficiency, capacity, and throughput.

The company decided to create a networked, automated mash filtration system integrated with manufacturing intelligence software from Rockwell Automation.

The system hardware was installed in five days, and software integration took only six more days. Since installation of the new system, Full Sail has been able to produce high-quality wort with fewer raw materials and a lower quantity of dryer spent grains. This has resulted in a lower overall cost of making wort. The filtration cycle went from an average of 3½ to four hours, to just two hours.

The filtration process has more than 60 steps, so thorough reporting was very important. The new mash filtration system pulls 250 data tags. This allows Full Sail to examine the data for discrepancies that may have occurred during the production of a batch. Full Sail generates regular reports for water rates, temperature, flow, and pressure, as well as regular trend reports.

“For Full Sail, the addition of the Mash Filter was a leap forward in brewing technology,” says James Emmerson, Full Sail’s executive brewmaster. “It made sense from both a financial investment and for enhancing our sustainable footprint…all the while producing great beer.”

Full Sail expects a full return on its $1 million investment within three years due to the savings on raw materials and spent-grain hauling costs. The system is 5% more efficient on raw material. Full Sail will be able to save 450,000 pounds of malted barley, lower water consumption by one million gallons, and cut 80 semi-truck loads going back and forth from the brewery annually, all with the potential of producing 50% more beer.