Canadian brewer, Sleeman, teamed up with McRae Integration, a Toronto firm that helps factories automate, and Rockwell Automation, a Milwaukee provider of manufacturing technology, to streamline its production process. The need was compelling: Large brewers like Sleeman have been losing market share to craft brands. To compete, they need to boost productivity and increase yields while developing smaller-batch beers.
Today, Sleeman can control the line through a digital console. The new system also automatically assesses which parts of the plant can continue operating while he has stopped one portion to alter the recipe. “All of these small intuitive processes can add up to a significant reduction of the brew-cycle time,” says McRae president Andrew Bentley, who estimates four to eight hours is saved per day.