The Allagash Brewing Company 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.
The brewery’s managers decided to replace the thermostats with advanced controllers that could integrate with other environmental systems and provide improved monitoring and control of warehouse temperatures.
Temperature control is critical for quality brewing, and Allagash, a premier craft brewer specializing in Belgian-inspired beers, had controllers installed at its plant to monitor temperatures and control chillers and boilers. But in the company’s remote warehouse four miles away, where beer is stored while awaiting shipment, simple thermostats were still in use.
Because superior beer quality is important and very reliant on accurate temperatures, the brewery’s managers decided to replace the thermostats with advanced controllers that could integrate with other environmental systems and provide improved monitoring and control of warehouse temperatures.
The refrigerated room is kept between 58F and 62F, while the warm room is maintained at 72F. Maine Controls faced a challenge, however, because, as is common in 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 managers understood the simplicity and effectiveness of the warehouse monitoring solution, they asked Maine Controls to replace the thermostats in the company’s offices in the brewing plant. The additional controls monitor rooftop units and are tied into the network and the web interface, which gives Allagash a single view of all facilities. The brewer now has one integrated system for monitoring and controlling temperatures in all of its facilities, including offices, plant, and warehouse. Maine Controls also integrated old chillers and boilers that use a different network protocol.
“Allagash Brewing loves the new capabilities because if, for example, they have an issue with temperature, they know it right away and they can respond quickly to resolve the problem,” Kirby said. “Through one interface, they can see everything that’s happening, in any location and they are continually learning how to apply this integrated view of operations to reduce energy use and, most importantly, improve quality.”