Phase 2 brewery build progress shots

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Going to try and do what I can between now and March 1, will be going back to run another instrument install job at Intel ocotillo campus until next year. Another year in an extended stay suite, oh well more time to write more operating code,design other projects, and purchase more equipment. Will have company truck again with tools and parts, might see if anybody in phoenix area needs help with their brewing rigs on the weekends.

Man I wish I lived in Phoenix! That thing is insane. I have no idea what half of it does or is, but its cool. I have access to someone in the company who speaks your language, I need to get that guy into brewing so he can help me make cool toys like this.

And here I am all jacked that I'm moving to all grain with a keggle, HLT, and cooler mash tun. Now I'm just sad.....

But where's the Flux Capacitor?

I secretly have a kladue fathead poster in my room right next to my hulk poster

I took a look at the control software directory to find out what size it has grown to, 633 files, 10.3 Mb. and there is still more to write. I have most of the control and monitoring Gui's built and working, next up is working in a virtual keyboard for text entry from touch screen.
Kladue, is your flash boiler capable of boiling your wort if you had an insulated kettle?

If so, would you use a recirculating wort type of system, direct inject into the bottom of the kettle with a diffuser for the thumping, or something else??
Have not explored the use of the flash boiler to boil as the additional work to put a coil in the kettle and suitable control valve are not worth the effort. The heat output of the flash boiler is about equal to 15 KW but heat transfer through a coil in the wort would take some time to work out optimum size to get boil started but small enough to control condensate problem when steam input is throttled down to control boil rate. Most of the commercial boil kettles use 100 PSI (350 Deg F.) steam in a pipe coil at the bottom of the kettle for their heat source and a steam trap to let condensate out before it builds up. Main question would be why not direct fire boil kettle as the problems with steam on a small scale are probably more than most want to deal with. If you had plans of using a cooler for a boil vessel the liner would probably not hold up to extended boiling temperatures.
I am not talking about a coil in the wort, I am talking about using the same method of injection as you use in the mash. I am talking about direct injection into the bottom of the kettle, or direct injection while recirculating (same as what you do for the mash tun). I understand how an internal calandria works, that has steam or direct fire through coils/pipes inside the kettle. I am either wanting to use the flash boiler to boil from the bottom of the kettle, or pumping and injecting like the mash tun. Is 15KW of steam power enough for either method mentioned?
First the boil question, you could use a 2" tube for a a chimmney and inject steam at the bottom and use thermosiphon/boiling action to distribute heat like the old style coffee percolators. Would expect that steam addition would equal evaporation rate so you would have to adjust recipes accordingly as there would probably be no change in final gravity of boiled wort. To diffuse steam us a 1/4" tube bent in a J pattern with a 1/4" diameter X 1/2" screen wire cap for the end of the tube, centered inside of chimmney tube might work.
As to the system shown in the pictures (System) , (Water tank and vent piping),(Panels) the kettle on the left is the boil kettle with vented skirt to take combustion gasses up 4" vent pipe at left side, keggle on right is mash tun, keg attached to wall behind keggles is the water tank that is used to measure and store water used for each step. Under deck is the counterflow wort chiller on right, and control device panels with the wort control and pumping devices on left and the water control panel on right. In the center is the flash boiler that heats the water to strike and sparge water temperatures and produces steam to inject into circulated wort for step mashing. On the ceiling is the cooling system storage tank and circulation pump, ahead of the tank is 2 water chillers from water fountains set to 32 Deg to cool ethanol water coolant mix. On the right side of the picture is the plc hardware panel and malt hopper with screw conveyor that takes malt to mill mounted on wall above right hand keggle/mash tun. The panel on far left side of pictures is where the touch panel pc mounts that runs the control program software and houses the plc hardware for the fermentor controls and hop addition solenoids.
Temperatures are measured with 100 ohm RTD's for keggles and cooling system, J thermocouples in boiler circuit. Flow of water and wort are measured with .13 - 1.3GPM flow transmitters and gas flow to boiler and boil kettle burners is controlled with mass flow controllers. Levels are measured with pressure transmitters attached to lines connected to the bottom of the water, boil, and mash tun keggles. Electric proportional control valves control levels and flows in the system in response to control program commands. Electric ignition modules fire the pilot burners for the boiler an boil keggle burners and provide flameout shutdown to prevent gas explosions.
The current goal is to be able to develop recipe in Promash, place grain bill in hopper, enter session information into touch screen, then initiate control sequence and let brewing system do the tedious parts of the brewday. This would give one time to rack and bottle/keg beer while system does its thing without having to worry about misfires blowing you up. Venting of the boil keggle and boiler gets the combustion products to the outside without gassing one out in the small area of the 8' x 16' brew shed, and vent hood over boil keggle takes care of the vapor problem.
Wow. That is just amazing... Now I have something to shoot for
First the boil question, you could use a 2" tube for a a chimmney and inject steam at the bottom and use thermosiphon/boiling action to distribute heat like the old style coffee percolators. Would expect that steam addition would equal evaporation rate so you would have to adjust recipes accordingly as there would probably be no change in final gravity of boiled wort. To diffuse steam us a 1/4" tube bent in a J pattern with a 1/4" diameter X 1/2" screen wire cap for the end of the tube, centered inside of chimmney tube might work.

The thermosiphon idea is great and I did a electric drawing once. I like your idea a lot, it was just my impression there would be enough turbulence upwards with a simple steam diffuser screen on the bottom of the kettle (like maybe the siphon dip tube that is there now only with a diffuser screen) to keep it simple, unless the J thing is mandatory or the 1/2" valve siphon tube is too large. Again, you know more about steam diffusion kladue, so that is why I ask and by all means continue with more on the idea. If it would work well enough to not need a pump then great, exactly what I would want. I just need your education on the chimney vs. just diffused vs. infusion while recirculating debate I am having with myself, lol.

I do know my recipes will have to be adjusted, and am busy searching how to set up Beersmith to marry with direct steam-injection boiling. Seems like it should benefit hop utilization. :rockin:
The chimmney tube design is a rough copy of the coil system in the larger boil kettles, the thermosiphon effect should give enough mixing to make it work. It will take quite a bit of steam to start but maintaining a boil should not be hard after wort temperature is near boiling. The 1/4" size was chosen to keep steam velocity up at low flow when steam is throttled during boil, backfeeding through drain might work but the need for a small surface area diffuser would make the large area drain inlet screen impractical for steam injection.
Ok, so disheartening, but expected information on using the kettle drain. Still, very good information on the ability of the kettle to maintain a boil. It is also good that thermosiphon turbulence would be high enough to make a good boil.

Would you suggest a insulated keggle and directly inputting steam through the 1/4" J, or would you leave the kettle naked? I ask with the provision that the naked kettle would have my steam boiler under it, helping to heat with the heat that doesn't turn the water in the flash boiler coil into steam entering the kettle on the inside? This latent heat may be negligible and so would definitely point me strongly in one direction over the other.
The lower the heat loss fom the sides the lower the steam demand for maintaining a boil, if you use the flash boiler and superheat the steam to 250+ degrees you would reduce the total steam requirements. Superheated steam carries more energy per pound than saturated steam from a pressure cooker, which means fewer pounds to get job done. If you insulate use the KAO wool ceramic fiber insulation as it has some impressive thermal properties and is easy to work with, and virtualy flame proof. I have taken a 6" X 6" X 1" square and have held it in my hand while heating opposite side to orange heat with a torch.
Wow, the kaowool sounds wonderful! Thanks for the heads up on that stuff. I may have to use that on my flash boiler outside as well.

Since the keggle will stay around boiling temperatures and not get much hotter, should I even worry about such expensive insulation? Would the way I made my HLT and MT work (with 3 layers of reflectix and then truck bed lining them)? I still want to track down some kaowool now for the flash boiler. :rockin:
Not sure what the kao wool costs as I got plenty for free, why not just use a 1/2" air gap and a second tube as a heat sheild on the boiler, then use the kao wool insulation on the boil vessel. For the Mash tun use the canned foam, spray it on and trim it to 1" thick, then put a wrap over the foam for protection. PM me if you would like to try some of the kao wool insulation on your boil kettle.
Sounds like a plan kladue. I have been checking out kao wool and it is impressive stuff. I have another concern that just came to mind. The quick disconnects that I use now for everything hot-side are rated to 280*F. Should I be looking for something a lot higher temperature for the flash boiler connections? Also, if the flash boiler was tap water fed, and had a flow meter, would it be alright to use and just take a time/gph measurements?
Although the swagelok compression fittings are not as convienient as quick disconnects the temperature rating would not be a concern on the hot side of the boiler. With new boiler I have seen temperatures 350-450 degrees during steam injection loop tuning, water flow adjustment reduced it to 220 degrees as expected. As to time/flow method, would work if you regulated water pressure into flow control as changes in water pressure will change flow rate. Look for a plastic preset regulator for drip irrigation ~$10 plumbed in ahead of flow meter on cold water inlet to boiler. Select a pressure setting that is no more than 50% available water pressure to prevent surprises from high demand uses in water system and allow enough pressure difference across regulator to hit peak flow through regulating valve. Might be able to use a cheap digital timer and solenoid valve to come fairly close to desired volume by calculated time/flow , although a bit under/over is not fatal in brewing. Lower the flow rate the smaller the error would be but if you are shooting for .5 - 1 GPM range then a couple trial runs with cold water will help dial in time/flow calcs.
The software portion of the build is taking way more time than the construction did, but having nothing else to do nights and weekends it keeps me busy. The hardware and control sequence code is complete and functioning, still working on converting some of the older components to touch screen operation, database functions use mySql.
Basic structure is:
Hardware communication and initialzation with point data stored in database
Touch screens for analog point scaling and offsets for calibration, default flow settings for system, values stored in database
Touch screens for PID loop tuning, values are stored and retieved from database for use in automatic control sequence
Touch screen manual control for hardware testing
Touch screen input screens for batch setup, mashing, and hop addition parameters, values stored in database
Automatic calculation of water volumes and temperatures from batch information
Automatic control sequence with restart from last control function and elapsed time on power failure, values are stored and retrieved from database
Touch screen monitoring screens for process observation
Todo list:
Add graphing screen to system monitoring screens
Build touch screen import utility for use with other brewing software packages to import control schedule information into control sequence program
The time i get to planning something like this is when SWMBO would pull the plug on my homebrewing and tell me "You are out of control!"
Sweet Mother Mary!!! That is one of the most beautiful things I've ever seen. If I had one of those, I'd be divorced, for sure. What has this cost so far?
I guess I am lucky to have a SWMBO who brews and enters competitions with me and indulges my out of control tinkering with this R&D unit. So far the building was $3600, utilities for building $700, system hardware $2000+ (Never added it up), too many manhours to estimate in assembling components, welding, plumbing, wiring, software construction, and testing of assembled system. Still have to insulate and finish interior of brewing building, and chiller/heater bands for the carboy fermenters. Software is still under development for use on a touch screen panel computer to be mounted on panel #2, and I have not decided on final functionality limits yet, always one more "what if" to do.
From what I've read so far, your going for a push button brew set up. Put all the ingredients in hoppers, think up a formula, punch them into the main computer and then the rest is done for you. That's just toooooo cool. This way, you could experiment with brews until the day you die. Could life get any sweeter for you??
Here is some of the control graphics for operating the phase 2 system, everything is built for touch screen operation Picasa Web Albums - Kevin - Phase 2 Brewe..., the graphics did not convert to JPG format very well but are somewhat legible. The graphics and supporting code were assembled using Netbeans and Java( a PITA at times), with MySQL taking care of the database fuctions recording the point and configuration data for reuse and trending. I am almost done with the transition to touch screen control, next up is the file import code to upload the batch control values from recipe programs to save the effort of manual entry.
This set up is just mind-boggling!:eek::cross: Thanks for posting this and keep things updated, please. I'd like to follow along.
Panel PC test was a bust, got the MySql going, Java 5.0 JRE installed, loaded brew system program, then found out class path method changed between runtime versions. Now it appears that I need to upgrade to Win XP and 256M memory in the Advantech panel Pc to run 6.0 JRE, it was either that or rework about 2.8K lines of code to resolve classpath issue. Next test window will be during July 4 R&R trip home.
My son finally completed all the upgrades to panel PC and loaded all the necessary software, killed a couple last minute bugs and has the autocontrol software running on the panel PC and controlling the hardware now. He went through the manual control screen and confirmed the operation of the ignition,valves, and pumps. Then the input points were checked and are operating but some need scale values entered for levels and flows. Next up is loop tuning and calibration then first full automatic sequence run with malt this weekend during my next R&R run home.
I am not sure this is what Jimmy Carter had in mind when he legalized Home Brewing for his brother Billy!!!!!!!!

Holly crap dude, a Freakin Grain Elevator?

I am kneeling before that altar of brewing! (you can't see me but trust me I am)

Teach me oh wonderful wizard
:off: Once your automated brewery is complete, you'll have to work up an automated label maker that comes up with clever names and designs all by itself
Nice gear.
Sounds like one of the future projects, modifying one side of a dual sink to make a carboy and bottle washing system in one side that will run through cycle like automatic dishwasher and clean the glassware. Should not take that long to design and build, a circulation pump, a couple automatic valves, inline heating chamber, some liquid metering pumps for chemicals, capacitive level sensor, temperature sensor, some opto plc hardware, a day to build graphics, a weekend to write and test the code, a bit of wiring and plumbing. Not sure what to do after all the construction is over, break down and make beer again and torment the club members in the homebrew competitions again.
Test run on the panel pc was an educational event, the 500Mhz processor was bogged down when running the compiled application so i switched back to the laptop and CPU time was considerably more than when it was running in the Netbeans IDE. Looks like there needs to be more thread.sleep statements to lighten the load before next try at panel operation, and a few tweaks to restore sound effects on alarm conditions.
During PID tuning it became obvious that a valve dead angle (level of output that needs to be exceeded before flow begins) variable needs to be part of the hardware setup tables. This offset value will be applied to PID loop calculation so control loop will function better when it is trying to operate in the open range of the control valve instead of entire control range. Another PID loop problem was need for a multiplier value for loops where signal range is .13 - 1.3 GPM and control setpoint is .15 GPM, control range is so small and signal change is so small that PID values begin to look absurd in order to make loop function as needed.