Network technology enhances wine production
Published: 10 February 2012 - Rachael Morling
The Shabo vineyard in the Odessa region of the Ukraine has been cultivating grapes since the times of the ancient Greeks, and today all stages of wine production focus on preserving the grapes’ taste, colour and aroma in the wine.
In 2004 the winery was completely converted with modern European equipment which has been combined with ancient cellars and wine storages. Ongoing investment has seen the creation of full-cycle production: from cultivation of grapes, through storage and seasoning to bottling, as well as distillation for spirits and mixing for vermouth. Currently it has the capacity to process 20 thousand tons of grapes in a season, producing up to 45 million bottles of wine and 25 million bottles of brandy, using the delicate ‘cold bottling’ method.
In October last year, the viticulturists at Shabo installed a high tech system to maintain preset temperatures in both the production and maturing areas and also to measure the level of wine in the holding tanks. This also monitors the pumping activities of the refrigeration stations and coolant temperature.
The opportunity was also taken to integrate several processes that were individually automated into one unified system. Here, CC-Link from CLPA was chosen for data signalling and communication around the system because of its ability to communicate easily with devices from a wide range of manufacturers, and because it can be quickly installed and is reliable.
The architecture of the system is based on a supervisory level computer equipped with twin monitors and operator panels running a SCADA program. This is supported by a production management control system based on five PLCs communicating via two CC-Link networks. These collect and process data from numerous process floor sensors monitoring temperature, humidity, tank levels and valve settings. In total there are 256 analogue and digital inputs and 152 outputs (all digital) in the CC-Link system. It is planned that the system will be regularly expanded in stages in the future.
One of the key advantages of CC-Link in this situation is that if a section of the system is taken off-line, the data signals will automatically re-route themselves through alternative wiring routes so that overall control is never lost. Similarly, the system can be expanded simply by plugging new devices or sub-systems into the existing wiring; signal routing is instantly and automatically optimised and communications are never interrupted.
The winemakers already have plans to increase the number of holding tanks fitted with monitoring sensors and automated pumping stations as production is increased in order to meet growing demand.
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