Do you have a favorite beer? What makes it your favorite? Whatever you answered, you probably expect that same taste and experience each time you drink it. Microbreweries know that; they live and die by their ability to deliver a consistent product.
A small but rapidly growing microbrewery needed a way to maintain the consistency of its beers. Every recipe requires precise timing for adding ingredients, cooking, and fermentation. Managing multiple products with multiple processes can quickly become complex. However, this microbrewery had plans to quadruple in size—from 30 or 40 tanks to hundreds—in a relatively short time. The company needed a way to create a scalable, practical method of scheduling process controls and continue to deliver a consistent product even while it grew.
Fortunately, the Quality Manager had come from an organization that used InfinityQS® ProFicient™, so he knew what the solution could do. He and the InfinityQS Account Manager recommended using ProFicient to help ensure product consistency—for example, by notifying brewers when temperatures fall outside a set range. In addition, the proposed solution added Dynamic Scheduler to provide reminders of scheduled checks on each brew tank’s contents and process steps.
Time and temperature are the factors that most heavily affect consistency in brewing. We met with the quality manager and learned that when a batch of beer has finished “cooking,” it goes to a holding tank to sit and ferment. How long each batch sits depends on the kind of beer it is—ale, pilsner, stout, and so on. That means that a single schedule can’t be applied across the board to all products.
With potentially hundreds of tanks to keep track of, the brewers need to know when to conduct quality checks on each batch—the heart and soul of Dynamic Scheduler. And they also need to know when to move each batch to the next step in its process. The microbrewery discovered that Dynamic Scheduler could handle both.
The microbrewery’s new solution makes unique use of InfinityQS’s Quality Management capabilities. ProFicient handles collection of test and process data, and Dynamic Scheduler provides automatic reminders for testing and process steps, so operators are able to keep pace with the progress of any given batch. The two act in a complementary way; if data from ProFicient indicates that a process isn’t right, Dynamic Scheduler can handle modifications to the testing schedule, so operators can schedule more frequent data collections or even new testing processes.
Dynamic Scheduler is now part of the brewing process, and we couldn’t be happier. Now that calls for a cold one!