Not Monk-y Business: Brewing Up IIoT Solutions

Some Sealevel team members were talking about IIoT applications. Cold chain monitoring, wastewater management, agriculture and liquid manufacturing, to name a few, offer data-rich operations perfect for the technology. This talk led to discussion about another production process that

Image courtesy of Charles D. Cook/DrinkBelgianBeer.com

offers a similar potential for big data harnessing and narrative analytics.

Brewing.

That’s right: beer. Whether that liquid courage is a bathtub micro-brew for $1,500 or a million-dollar, state-of-the-art produced seasonal release, it

benefits from asset management and 24/7 remote monitoring. Of course, for traditionalists and Trappists, IoT technology may not offer beer any improvement.

We theorized that by partnering an advanced sensor system with Sealevel’s SeaConnect 370 and the SeaCloud SaaS, a beer could go from great to finessed, especially in smaller operations. We were inspired by the PLAATO Airlock, which makes insight easy during the fermentation process.

SeaConnect 370

As all beer drinkers know, consistency – even when handling wild yeast – is a key element to a great batch. Conglomerate brewers, such as Guinness, already employ high-tech production to get that consistency. It may not be everyone’s favorite stout, but decades of precise brewing mean Guinness beers taste the same in Ireland as in Australia, which maintains their market. Sensors accessible and affordable to all would ensure consistency for all, improving reach.

For example, an optical sensor could measure CO2 from the fermenters. Another analog sensor would measure alcohol content – and high gravity beers could reach their peak. Thermal sensors would monitor the mash tun. By relaying temperature data to SeaCloud, relay commands could adjust the heat at smaller intervals, providing thoroughly cooked, yet not scorched, mash. Motion sensors and switches could be used to keep the system secure: kettles, tuns, tanks, hoses and pumps could be shut off remotely using a trigger reaction, preventing spilled beer.

For hobbyists, this data could be used to keep the set-up safe while you’re at work…or make those small batches more potent. But craft breweries could use relatively affordable IoT devices, like the 370, to get an edge and hop over competitors. For all brewers, the next step would be using a conversational platform to deliver analytics in drinkable terms.

We see huge potential for our new cloud I/O products for others (and ourselves). There is a world of IoT devices out there that could be interfaced with our SeaConnect 370 family. Now to convince leadership that a Sealevel branded beer is in our best interest…

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