After a thorough assessment of production system data at one of the largest breweries in the United States, automation engineers were able to successfully launch a comprehensive supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) solution that increases visibility into daily operations.

Sierra Nevada Brewing Company is now utilizing Ignition by Inductive Automation. The software platform is an integrated development environment that acts as a central landing point for a number of industrial automation applications. Developers can use the platform to run SCADA, IIoT solutions, manufacturing execution systems, human-machine interfaces or other data analysis, reporting or process control applications from the web-based platform.

What is Ignition?

Ignition is a web-based server platform and, with a single server license, users are able to create an unlimited number of clients and tags. It also supports an unlimited number of concurrent Ignition designers allowing for rapid deployment and development without conventional licensing restrictions.

Ignition is supplied with a comprehensive range of fully integrated software modules to support virtually any kind of industrial application. With an unlimited number of clients, the platform can be accessed from almost any connected device and can be hosted either via a dedicated server or cloud-based platform and since the platform is built upon trusted open technologies like Java, SQL, Python and OPC UA, developers can easily create a central hub that connects everything on the plant floor.

Use-case: Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

The Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. owns the sixth largest brewery in the United States and all of its beer is exclusively produced in Chico, California. The company now uses Ignition to run its entire plant including the fermentation process, which requires a system with the capability of monitoring and controlling the process 24 hours a day and 7 days a week.

Developers at the Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. approached Ignition with skepticism as disruption to production systems could easily offset any productivity gains that could be experienced through a connected environment and the expected reliability of most Windows-based PC networks was already seen as inadequate.

Ignition was first deployed for data acquisition and production reporting, as no other economical, viable alternatives existed. Developers at Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. stated that Ignition was easy to configure. They also stated that it had a very easy learning curve and that Inductive Automation’s “Jython” scripting was well suited for developers familiar with web-based platforms, Java, Python and SQL databases.

The end result was a web-based platform that connected programmable logic controllers to SQL databases. It provided a means of displaying real-time data next to historical data from SQL databases on a single screen and it greatly facilitated communications plant-wide. Improved access to operational data facilitated documentation, sampling and testing by the filtration department, which is required before packaging operations.