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Maine Controls: Craft Brewery Maintains Quality with Wireless Controls


4/6/2016

Portland, Maine — March 23, 2016 — The Allagash Brewing Co. optimizes temperature control with wireless controllers installed by Maine Controls at its warehouse in Portland, Maine. The controllers provide the craft brewer with precise temperature control as well as the ability to send alerts and alarms, track energy use over time, and integrate the temperature controls with other systems for more effective facility management.

Maine Controls, a leading provider of energy management systems in the state, is a member of the InsideIQ Building Automation Alliance, an international alliance of independent building automation contractors.

Temperature control is critical for quality brewing and Allagash, a premier craft brewer specializing in Belgian-inspired beers, relied on controllers at its plant to monitor temperatures and control chillers and boilers. 

But in the company’s remote warehouse just four miles away, where beer is stored while awaiting shipment, simple thermostats were still in use. While workers were trained to keep an eye on the temperatures, the company had no way of monitoring them when no one was on duty. Because superior quality is important, the brewery decided to replace the thermostats with advanced controllers that could integrate with its other environmental systems and provide improved monitoring and control of warehouse temperatures.

To preserve the quality of the beer, strict temperatures must be maintained in the warehouse. The refrigerated room is kept at 58 to 62 degrees Fahrenheit, while the warm room is maintained at 72 degrees. Maine Controls faced a challenge, however, because like many warehouses, the Allagash facility has large rooms and ceiling heights of up to 40 feet. Because it wasn’t practical or cost-effective to run wires through the building, Maine Controls relied on integrated wireless room controllers to bridge the gap between stand-alone sensors and intelligent building management systems.

“We installed the controllers, which are open, interoperable, and fully support standard BAS protocols, in both the refrigerated and warm rooms,” said Craig Kirby, general manager, Maine Controls. “The controllers monitor the air conditioning equipment and are integrated into Allagash’s enterprise network controller, which provides integrated control, supervision, and network management solutions for a variety of types of controllers in the Allagash facilities.”

Maine Controls created a custom-designed graphical interface for Allagash which features easily understood drag-and-drop graphic representations of common control algorithms and functions, and easy-to-use “wizards” that automate controller configurations. Users access the system’s interface using any standard web browser. Now, instead of relying on employees to manually check temperatures, Allagash is trend-logging temperatures to see what’s happening over time. The brewer also set alarms that contact personnel when the temperatures are out of range.

“InsideIQ members like Maine Controls approach every customer challenge with the objective of finding the best solution that will provide value and ROI, both now and in the future,” said Leroy Walden, president of the InsideIQ Building Automation Alliance and vice president of Atlanta-based McKenney’s Inc. “Our members understand the latest building technologies and apply them to create smart, integrated  buildings that support facility users to achieve their goals, from saving energy, to improving productivity, to brewing the best craft beer.”

The seamless solution took only a few days to install and once Allagash saw how easy and effective the warehouse monitoring solution was, it asked Maine Controls to replace the thermostats in the company’s offices in the brewing plant. The additional units control rooftop units and are tied into the network and the web interface, giving Allagash a single management view of all facilities. The brewer now has a single, integrated system for monitoring and controlling temperatures in all their facilities, from offices to plant to warehouse. Maine Controls was even able to integrate old chillers and boilers that use a different network protocol.

InsideIQ Building Automation Alliance is an organization comprised of independent commercial building and facility automation companies representing common automation and security system platforms. Member firms across North America, Europe, and Australia share best practices among more than 5,200 employees at over 110 locations. Members specialize in the design and implementation of facilities and process control systems, systems integration, enterprise security systems, facilities maintenance services, energy services, and the representation of other value-added products and services. For more information, visit www.insideiq.org.

 


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