When Paul Jefferies joined Hydes, the Manchester Brewer, three years ago as Production and Distribution Director, he looked to well-known process automation and control specialist, ABM Limited for help. As part of Hydes’ management team, Paul developed a new manufacturing and distribution strategy to expand the capacity of Hydes’ Moss Lane brewery from 20,000 barrels per year to its current 60,000. This capacity expansion was needed to cater for planned growth in Hydes’ free trade and wholesale business.
The question was how to do this?
As, Paul Jefferies pointed out: “We knew what we wanted to achieve; to more than double capacity at our cramped site where Hydes have brewed beer since 1899. At the same time we wanted to safeguard our reputation for brewing high quality ales and beers in the traditional way. We turned to a specialist company because we realised that improved automation and control were key to the project. We chose ABM for their ability to deliver practical solutions as well as manage complex projects and because they shared in our business philosophy.”
Following a series of discussions between ABM and Hydes, it became clear that expanding Hydes’ output simply by providing more brewing capacity alone would not meet the output target. The capital cost of this option would also have been prohibitive. So it was decided that an alternative approach would be needed. ABM were set the task of coming up with a solution which:
- Maintained Hydes’ traditional approach to brewing
- Enhanced product quality control and consistency
- Met with local authority Grade II listed building planning controls
- Met a very tight capital budget
- Reduced Hydes’ manufacturing costs to a revised target level
Allan Rogerson, Managing Director of ABM explained: “When we looked at the existing production facilities, we realised that it would be impossible to meet the brief, without a radical approach. So we looked at the existing traditional and successful brewing facilities and concluded that we should leave these alone. Instead we looked at how we could develop the post brewing side of the operation.”
ABM’s approach, coupled with Hydes’ forward thinking resulted in an innovative scheme to brew at high gravity and then dilute to finished strength at the post filtration stage. This required the development of a sophisticated control regime to achieve the required output as well as to enhance quality standards.
The main elements of the proposal were:
- A de-aerated liquor (DAL) plant
- An automated dilution system using DAL
- Additional bright beer storage capacity
- A fully automated control system linked to Hydes existing network
- Fully automated CIP facilities for all systems
- All control systems to use Hydes existing network protocols
Paul Jefferies commented:
“We liked ABM’s approach because it allowed us to keep our reputation for brewing in the traditional way and to use new technology to improve output, quality and productivity.”
ABM minimised the capital cost of the system by using an existing de-aerator and four used tanks, which they sourced from within the trade.
Given the wide scope of the work required, Hydes asked ABM to manage the whole project from concept to design, contractor management, installation, through to commissioning, operator training and post start-up support.
Whilst the ABM control engineers worked on developing the new control regime, the Project Management team looked at the locating and siting the main items of equipment.
The main practical problem facing ABM was how to fit the new equipment into Hydes’ limited available space and to do this in a way that was acceptable to the local authority planners, given that the site is Grade II listed.
ABM realised that to make space for the new tanks, de-aerator and blending system, they would have to re-locate the exiting Hydes Spirit Storage Room. This in turn required the conversion of an old disused room into a new Spirit Room. All this work was to be carried out in preparation for installation of the new equipment.
In consultation with Manchester City Council Planning Department ABM produced a practical proposal that was acceptable to the planners. The planning approval required the use of materials that were in keeping with the style and look of the old buildings, including windows, staircases, colour schemes and so on.
In the event, the used vessels, which were refurbished and used as new bright beer and (DAL) tanks, just fitted into the converted old Spirit Room. They were installed horizontally into the room and then turned upright with only half an inch to spare!
Allan Rogerson was relieved when the new tanks were in place:
“When we looked at the available space and access we wondered if it were possible to site those vessels. As those tanks went in, I never knew that I could hold my breath for so long!”
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