Wits University Micro Brewery Automation

Antony Higginson and Graham Bathgate with the Wits Micro Brewery.
Antony Higginson and Graham Bathgate with the Wits Micro Brewery.

Many lessons were learned over two years with regard to designing and automating the ‘Wits University Micro Brewery Automation’ project, The greatest lesson of all, however, was that when a task like this is started it must be properly finished and that anything really great can only be achieved with hard work – most of which involves planning, obtaining all of the mechanical and electrical equipment, wiring, programming and testing.

The entire system has all of the elements of a real brewery process, but on a much smaller scale. The system includes two heaters, three pumps, temperature transmitters, a Massflo flowmeter, analytics, a linear control valve, a S7-300 PLC system (with 16 digital inputs, 16 relay outputs, 8 analogue inputs, 4 analogue outputs, with Profibus and Ethernet interfaces).


Take note

  • For some strange reason, automation projects on breweries leave a lasting impression on the technical personnel involved – and are close to the author’s heart!
  • Automating even a micro brewery is a complex task.
  • A micro brewery serves as a good model of a real brewing process and important lessons can be learned from such a small project.


Published as:

Something’s brewing at Wits

By G Wilson, Siemens

Electricity+Control, July (pgs 8 – 9)

Email: gary_wilson@siemens.com