Increase Efficiency and Capacity with MARKS Customized Controls
Along with world-class brewery equipment, MARKS designs and builds custom controls and automation. MARKS team includes technical specialists with backgrounds as Head Brewers, design and installation consultants, and brewing instructors. Our team includes top mechanical, and controls and programming engineers. Put all these skills and talents together and it makes sense MARKS designs and builds its own control systems for the brewery industry. MARKS customized controls, working together with its American-made equipment, creates the perfect opportunity for the brewer to achieve efficiency, consistency, and increased capacity in their production process.
What Do MARKS Controls and Automation Mean to the Brewer?
Brewers face challenges every day in meeting customer demand with a high-quality craft product. There are many competing pressures in running a productive and profitable brewery. The key to profitability is supplying a consistent quality product, improving the yield on every brew cycle, and reducing production time and costs. The focus of MARKS’ controls is on beer production optimization. The controls are designed to be flexible and modular to support the beginning brewery operation or the complex production facility. MARKS’ controls support you in driving efficiencies, connecting production processes, and providing actionable information.
In short, using automated controls to run the brewery saves time and money. The less automation a brewery has the more the staff have to do for themselves. Running up and down the brewhouse platform to open valves, check temperatures, start rakes. The more automation, the less the employees have to do. Many activities are done with a push of a button. Labor costs are saved. Mistakes are avoided. Consistency is obtained. Even utility costs are reduced by monitoring energy usage.
Why Choose MARKS Controls and Automation? Hear what the engineering experts and customers say about MARKS controls.
Easy and Reliable. The controls are easy to use and are reliable. The touch screen interface panel is designed to be intuitive for the brewer. It is designed to be clear about the processes it is monitoring. Important processes are highlighted and signal to the brewer when a task is finished, or an issue needs attention.
Bill Lundeen, the Head Brewer of the Talking Cedar Brewery in Washington, uses a semi-automatic version of MARKS controls. He mentions that he likes the screen as it isn’t overly busy. The important sections are highlighted. For his newer assistant brewers, he finds the controls’ capability of monitoring the brew process has reduced the opportunity for costly mistakes to be made.
The MARKS design is based on consistent reliability. Ron Miller, Engineering and Controls Manager, described that in the design process included the use of standard, robust components, which could be easily sourced from multiple distributors in North America. In this way, Ron said, the customer would be assured of long term support for their system.
Expand as the Customer Grows. The basics of MARKS controls are designed in a modular fashion so they can grow as the customer’s operations expand. The controls range from mostly manual to semi-automated to full automation. The controls can focus on brewhouse operations, cellar systems, grain handling processes, CIP functions, or the integration of the entire brewery.
Ron Miller notes that “we build our systems with the ability to expand or upgrade in the future. All MARKS control enclosures can network together allowing different brewhouse related control systems to share information, control and status. Our approach is to make the controls system scalable to meet the brewery’s needs.”
Talking Cedar Brewery started with a MARKS semi-automated controls system. Bill Lundeen, the Head Brewer finds this level of controls makes the brewing operation much easier. The brewery has a 60 bbl 3-vessel brewhouse. The controls allow them to brew with 2 people and remain on the brew deck. There is a significant reduction in having to “run around”, going up and down the stairs. The brewery is expanding will be upgrading to a fully automated controls system. Bill expects substantial labor savings with the new controls system and will only need 1 person to run the entire system on brew day.
Customized Controls System. MARKS control designs, like its brewery equipment, start with a solid design foundation. From this foundation, MARKS customizes the controls to meet the brewer’s needs. Want special temperature or pressure monitoring? MARKS programmers can make that happen. Want the screen’s image to highlight certain information? We can do that too. Once our engineers and programmers understand what unique function you want or components you want to control, they can build it into your control system.
“We take the approach of making our control system work the way the brewer wants them to work, not how we think they want them to work” says Ron Miller. This is engineering’s approach to all our designs.
Supporting Sustainable Use of Resources. Controls help the brewery use resources more effectively and efficiently. MARKS mission as a company is to produce stainless steel equipment that is sustainable to our environment. Controls are a key way to support that purpose of sustainability.
- Recipes are consistent.
- Water usage is pre-defined and monitored.
- Heat and cold temperatures are set at exact levels, with energy controlled as part of the process.
- Pumps turn on and off at precisely the right time.
- VFDs are managed efficiently.
- Rakes are controlled to create the right consistency of the mash.
- Hot liquor tanks can be timed so the strike water is ready when the brewer is.
- Kettle power is controlled.
- Glycol reservoir temperature is watched to assure a stable environment.
- Fermentation is monitored to know when fermenting has begun, when it has peaked and when it is complete.
One of the top sustainability features of MARKS controls, according to Ron Miller, is the monitoring of power usage. In addition, the controls package can actively manage power loads to assure more efficient use of the brewery equipment within defined energy constraints.
Safety Features. Safety is always a key concern in any brewery. MARKS controls have multiple safety features built into the system. From screens that highlight when pre-set limits are reached, alarms that alert the brewery staff that something is amiss, or optional connections to a cell phone to let the brewer know of an issue, MARKS controls can build in a myriad of safety features.
Bill Lundeen, talked about the many safety features on his controls screen. These have been particularly useful, he said, for his new brewers. He notes costly mistakes are avoided with the use of MARKS easy to use brewery control system.
Quality. All MARKS controls are built inhouse. This allows MARKS to assure quality control over the panels, parts, and programming. The panel shop is UL Listed and builds all controls to a UL 508A standard.
Why bring the programming and building of controls inhouse at MARKS? Ron Miller, puts it this way: It is really the only way you can fully support the customer who is the end-user. By designing, programming, and building inhouse, MARKS can meet the brewer’s requirements and needs. We can provide a high level of troubleshooting and support as well as supply replacement parts. MARKS can also upgrade the control systems as the brewer’s needs expand or grow in the future.
Designed and Maintained by MARKS. The best feature of MARKS controls is that they are designed and supported by MARKS’ team of highly skilled controls and programming engineers. The team’s philosophy is a hands-on approach to all their customer’s needs, from start-up to commissioning to on-going support.
The focus of the controls is that they are built to be easy to use and reliable. Support is designed the same way. The MARKS controls team are a valuable resource to identify problems and get them fixed.
Why should a brewer choose MARKS? Bill Lundeen, stressed how amazing it was to work with MARKS controls integration team. He said that he has always felt very supported by the team and knows help is just a call away.
When asked why a brewer should choose MARKS, Ron Miller said that at “MARKS our designs are thoughtful and easy to use. We pay attention to details. Our highly skilled team helps the brewer get their systems up and running quickly. Once commissioned, the team offers great long term support. Seems like and easy choice to work with MARKS.”
More Reasons to Choose MARKS. As part of the interviews with Ron and Bill, look to future articles on reasons to choose MARKS for your controls and automation. These articles will feature:
- Supporting Sustainable Use of Your Resources with a Controls System
- Safety First
- Assuring Quality in Your Production
- Details on the Design and Maintenance of the Controls System by MARKS
Meeting Your Controls and Automation Needs
MARKS Engineering and Controls team will collaborate with you to meet all your automation needs. We can start with a semi-automated design and ramp up to full automation. MARKS starts where you are and designs to meet your requirements. Call (360) 859-3535 or contact us at [email protected] for a quote today.