System Integration

Raise a glass to integration!

Colorado State University's CSU) on-campus brewery is an automation leader with its Fermentation Science and Technology (FST) program.
By Dan Malyszko December 11, 2018
Courtesy: Malisko Engineering Inc.

In April 2018, Colorado State University (CSU), with support from both the university and industry leaders like Malisko Engineering, Inc., opened a hands-on brewing lab and industry showcase that will give students practical experience for careers in the brewing and fermentation industries. Located in the student center’s Ramskeller Pub and Grub, the lab is part of CSU’s state-of-the-art Fermentation Science and Technology (FST) program.

Dan Malyszko, director of operations and lead engineer at Malisko, serves on the Industry Advisory Board for the FST program at CSU. Early in his involvement, his primary role was giving guest lectures on automation technologies in manufacturing facilities. His brewing knowledge as a former group manager at Anheuser-Busch proved valuable in connecting with fermentation students.

When he was approached by the program’s leaders about building a brewery on campus, Malyszko knew his company could bring practical industry solutions to an academic setting. Malisko started a four-year effort to equip the brewery with best-in-class automation and information system solutions.

Malisko Engineering donated its professional services to design and develop a state-of-the-art control system that would remain relevant as the program grows. “We have a strong history of contributing time and money to noteworthy causes important to us, but this was the first opportunity we’ve had to be involved on such an influential project for both academia and industry,” Malyszko said.

Malisko Engineering has donated in excess of $300,000 in design, integration, consulting, and commissioning services to CSU for the brewery project. Malyszko was able to rally the support and donations from strategic partners such as Rockwell Automation, Panduit, Endress+Hauser, Rexel, and many others. In addition, he forged a strong relationship with the college of engineering to pool together and sponsor a team of electrical, computer, mechanical, and chemical engineers to participate in the e­ffort as part of their senior design project. These senior design teams worked on the process, automation, and electrical/power system designs for the brewery. The company also has sponsored two consecutive years of engineering senior design projects.

CSU’s mission as a land-grant university includes industry outreach and extension encouraging the application of research-based knowledge in response to high-priority needs. The on-campus brewery provides industry with a unique resource to engage in recipe development, lab testing, operational technology research, and process data analytics.

“Brewers from industry can do anything from trying a new grain bill to a new kind of boiling scheme,” said Jeff Callaway, associate director for the FST program at CSU. “For commercial brewers, having access to a miniature system allows small-batch experimentation with raw materials and process changes that may not be feasible on industrial-sized systems.”

Malisko’s BatchBrew brewing control system suite is featured in the Ramskeller Brewery. The distributed control system (DCS)-based system provides robust user controls and manufacturing intelligence, but what sets it apart is its brewing-specific control library and modern user-interface.

Colorado State University students work on a Malisko Engineering automation and information system for the school’s on-campus brewery. Courtesy: Malisko Engineering Inc.

Colorado State University students work on a Malisko Engineering automation and information system for the school’s on-campus brewery. Courtesy: Malisko Engineering Inc.

“We started with a mobile-first strategy,” said Malyszko. “We wanted to provide brewers with an intuitive user experience with all the bells and whistles you would find in today’s modern control systems.” The system includes granular formulation and recipe management, mash profile configuration, lab data entry, hops schedule management, and detailed batch reporting among several other brewing application-specific features.

“The teaching aspect of this system also afforded us the opportunity to implement other features not often found in the vast majority of brewery control systems,” said Malyszko. For example, the system is equipped with advanced instrumentation including mass flow measurement providing valuable real-time wort density and total kilograms of extract run off into the kettle.

The Ramskeller Brewery in the Lory Student Center opened to great fanfare in spring 2018, and Malisko Engineering was recognized as a transformational donor on the project alongside Molson-Coors, who donated the brewery vessels. Malisko Engineering is sponsoring the 2018-2019 engineering senior design team to tackle enhancement and optimization requests from CSU’s FST department.

“This is the most sophisticated brewing system on any college campus and is even rare in the industry for its size. It’s through partnerships like these that we can expose our students to industry standards and give them the best education possible,” said Callaway.

“We plan on supporting CSU in this eff­ort indefinitely,” said Malyszko. “We can’t ignore the need for exposure to practical industrial solutions for these students, and we feel very lucky to be in a position to help continue shaping their early experiences with manufacturing technology.”

Dan Malyszko, director of operations, Malisko Engineering.


Dan Malyszko
Author Bio: Director of operations, Malisko Engineering Inc.