Technologies used at Saugatuck Brewing industrial Ethernet upgrade

Saugatuck Brewing expanded beer output by fourfold in two years, with help of EtherCAT industrial Ethernet and Beckhoff Automation PC-based controls.


Saugatuck Brewing required a modular automation system that could flexibly expand in multiple phases and in rapid succession. To maintain ideal carbonation levels and accommodate further brewery expansions, the brewery used PC-based control and the EtherCAT industrial Ethernet communication system from Beckhoff Automation.

Today Saugatuck Brewing uses EtherCAT throughout its brewing process as the networking system with cabinet-mounted EtherCAT Terminal I/O (IP20 rated) and EtherCAT Box I/O mounted outside the cabinet in plant areas (IP67 rated). For the process controller, Saugatuck uses a compact Beckhoff CP6607 Ethernet Control Panel with 5.7-in. touchscreen as the interface to the brewery’s updated carbonation system. The CP6607 is equipped with an Intel IXP420 processor with XScale technology that has a 533 MHz clock frequency. The Ethernet Control Panel also runs the Saugatuck Brewing HMI so brewery staff can adjust carbonation parameters and change other settings. Saugatuck Brewing programmed its HMI using TwinCAT PLC software instead of relying on a stand-alone HMI software package.

“The Beckhoff control system is 50% less expensive per tank compared to an alternative controller architecture Saugatuck Brewing considered,” said Ron Conklin, brewmaster at Saugatuck Brewing. “The other system was ruled out as soon as we determined we would have to purchase a new hardware controller every time we expanded. If we went down that path, we would have had inefficient controllers all over the place. Standardizing on one PC-based system that controls all brewing tanks makes plant operation, maintenance, and further upgrades much easier.”

For more application details and many more photos, also read: Brewing more with industrial Ethernet, linked at the bottom of this file.

- Shane Novacek is marketing communications manager, Beckhoff Automation. Edited by Mark T. Hoske, content manager CFE Media, Control Engineering and Plant Engineering,


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