Beer is one of the oldest and the most largely consumed alcoholic beverages in the world. This all-time favorite brew has been a staple at sporting events, social gatherings, and family barbecues for generations. During the past few years, craft beers have created quite a buzz among younger consumers seeking a more unique palette than their parents’ traditional beer. Craft breweries have experienced unprecedented growth by bringing an almost endless variety of beer styles to the market. In fact, the overall global beer market is expected to reach $685 billion by 2025.
To meet the demand, breweries are tasked with making as much beer as they can as fast as they can while still delivering a high-quality product. However, this is not as simple as it seems. The execution is highly precise and in fact sophisticated. It requires a series of steps to make a good brew. It must go through the phases of malting, milling, mashing, lautering, boiling, fermenting, conditioning, filtering, and packaging. It’s important to closely monitor the product at critical stages throughout the brewing process, so no batch is wasted. One of the best ways to do this is by adding a sight flow indicator in a pipeline, which allows operators to observe the flow, color, and clarity of the product.
As an industry-leading manufacturer of brewing and distilling systems, it’s safe to say that the Specific Mechanical Systems (SMS) company knows a lot about beer. SMS has fabricated and built more than 1000 brewing systems, ranging in size from 3 to 100 barrels for hundreds of customers. Specific Mechanical Systems provides some of the most sophisticated brewing systems available to craft brewers today, providing system options ranging from manual to semi-automated, to fully automated brewing control for consistency of the end product.
SMS installs sight glasses on several process lines to make it easier to inspect the product during the brewing process. Although customers find this to be a very valuable tool, they also identified an issue they were having with lighting. Because most sight flow indicators are in remote, dark areas; and because beer wort transparency varies between beer styles; it’s very difficult to see the clarity of the product. Some operators resorted to using flashlights, cell phones, or even a lighter to get a better look. This is not only inconvenient and inadequate, but can be hazardous as well, depending on the location of the sight glass. SMS was seeking a way to solve this problem for its customers.
L.J. Star needed to provide a solution that would allow better visualization throughout the critical brewing process to help improve productivity and prevent wasted or inconsistent batches. There was no cost effective solution on the market that could allow operators to clearly see color, flow and particles to visually inspect product quality, clarity, and consistency. That’s why L.J. Star engineers created the LumiFlo® LED Light. It is a first-to-market, exclusive patent pending product designed to improve the lighting of full view sight flow indicators in process fluid lines. It easily attaches to most inline full view sight flow indicators in process fluid lines, allowing operators to visually inspect product quality, clarity, and consistency. The LumiFlo LED uses highly reliable, long-life LEDs for the perfect amount of light and optimal color temperature for a clear view of processes throughout the brewing workflow.
When Specific Mechanical Systems reviewed the LumiFlo LED light for the first time, their people knew they had found an innovative solution for their customers’ visualization problem. Together with L.J. Star engineers, Specific Mechanical has successfully integrated the LumiFlo LED lights onto its standard brewery vessel process flow sight glasses. This includes the sight glasses for Lauter Tun Run-off, so the brewers can better see the clarity of their wort after it passes through the false bottom and grain bed; for the hydrometer/sample station, located between the lauter tun and brew kettle; and the mash transfer sight glass, located between the mash vessel and lauter tun.
A Bright Idea Pays Off
The implementation of the LumiFlo LED lights has resulted in improved safety, quality and efficiency for SMS’s brewery customers. The company saw a marked improvement compared to what it had been using. An additional benefit is that Specific Mechanical was able to provide a robust solution to its brewery customers for a reasonable cost. An industry as innovative as craft brewery requires that same level of creativity on the production floor as it showcases in its products.