March 31, 2020 | Paul Fulhorst
Device designs are increasingly adopting microcontrollers that are either limited in the amount of embedded memory they have on-chip or have eschewed flash memory in...
For those people who enjoy a glass of Cabernet, Sauvignon Blanc, or Pilsner, you know that the temperature of that beverage is key to its enjoyment. Serve a red wine too chilled, and it ruins the flavor. And let’s not even get into the flavor of a warm lager. If you’re curious about how temperature affects the flavor of wine, check out this short and entertaining video from Wine Folly. AskMen Basics likewise provides a guide to beer temperatures.
Don’t let the yeast overheat
Before the beverage gets bottled and you sit down to enjoy it at the local pub, temperature plays another critical role: it is a key factor in the fermentation process. Such processes can vary greatly. It’s not just the ingredients that differ among various types of beers and wines; how the maker controls environmental conditions such as temperature during fermentation can lead to dramatically different flavors and qualities.
Variances in temperature result in differences in fermentation speed and flavor development. Since the fermentation process is exothermic – meaning it creates its own heat – temperatures in the fermentation tanks naturally rise. But the yeasts at the heart of the process are living organisms, and they can go dormant if it’s too cold, can get out of control of it’s too warm, and can self-destruct if there are too many temperature fluctuations. Any of these situations will have a negative effect on the taste of the beverage.
Of course, there are other key environmental factors that vintners and brewers must monitor and control. In addition to temperature, these include things such as sugar and CO2 levels, humidity, and the environment outside the tank. In breweries and wineries across the world, new technologies are helping to monitor these elements to make sure that the fermentation process goes smoothly and that the end result is exactly what the vintner or brewer intended.
Technology to the rescue
One of Adesto’s customers has devised a fermentation tank networked communication system to ensure tanks can be kept at their precise and proper temperatures. The solution comprises sensors, software and plug-and-play controls that are scalable to fit nearly any size of operation, including monitoring across multiple locations. Since managers can use it to set and monitor the temperature, control coolant levels, and set alerts – with no human intervention required – the solution can dramatically increase the reliability of the tank monitoring process, and increase overall energy efficiency.
At the heart of the solution are multiple technologies from Adesto, including our SmartServer, Power Line Communications, and other technologies. In one product, Adesto’s SmartServer acts as a hub, communicating with the networked thermostats over existing power wires. As such, it monitors conditions, logs data, initiates event responses, kicks off scheduled events, and sends notifications when needed. And it does all of this in a wet industrial environment where reliability is key.
For facility managers that don’t want to purchase an expensive server or maintain a complex operating system, the SmartServer is ideal. It’s a highly reliable yet affordable edge server with no moving parts, making it simple to install and maintain.
The road to Adesto
The customer previously used Free Topology (FT) technology with wired twisted pair as the basis of their monitoring solutions. They were later able to make a smooth transition to use SmartServer and PLC technology because there was no need to add more wires.
For customers who use it, the solution is typically retrofitted, installed in a facility where managers are looking to overcome arduous manual processes for managing a tank farm, but don’t want to rip out and replace their existing infrastructure.
Such a solution has applications beyond wine and beer fermentation. For example, there is a growing trend toward indoor agriculture, where it’s important to monitor and control irrigation, humidity, lighting, and other environmental factors.
Fermentation monitoring, control, and beyond with Adesto
Adesto’s control networking solutions are used by companies who want to easily get going with their application. Our new SmartServer IoT can take these solutions to new and exciting levels, with an architecture that is designed for modern web services.
With SmartServer IoT, companies can seamlessly and securely connect to cloud platforms for increased efficiencies and predictive analytics. Vintners and brewers using a system based on this technology would be able to access data generated by their fermentation tanks to gain deeper insights into the effects of temperature and other environmental conditions on their fermentation process, and more efficiently create beverages that meet their exacting specifications. This could mean better processes, better production, and better wine. Cheers!