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Big Data is used to optimize Danish yeast production

Danske Gærfabrikker produces yeast sold throughout the world. ABB's Distributed Control System 800xA is the brain running the increasingly digitalized and energy-optimized factory. The next project is to use Big Data to optimize the cooling process.

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One does not tend to immediately associate yeast with advanced technologies. However, at Danske Gærfabrikker in Grenå, they are currently rapidly moving towards Industry 4.0 and the vision of a digital and integrated factory.

In addition to doubling the yeast production capacity, Technical Manager Jack Domino and his colleagues are in the midst of energy-optimizing the factory. This summer new cooling towers will also be built that will use data analytics to optimize the cooling process. "We want to double the amount of yeast extract that we produce, but without making large investments in new production facilities. Instead, we want to increase capacity by creating a better flow throughout the entire factory," says Jack Domino as he explains the optimization strategy for the factory which aims to, among other things, increase the amount of weekly fermentation.

Main facts

Industry Food and Beverage 
Customer De Danske Gærfabrikker
Country Denmark
Solutions
Year
2018

Baker's yeast is only a small part of the business

Danske Gærfabrikker produces what is called the basic yeast. This is what forms the basis for what will later become baker's yeast, wine yeast and various flavor enhancers to the food industry. They produce 25,000 tons of yeast each year.

Most Danes are familiar with the 50-gram baker's yeast package with the well-known Maltese cross, but in fact, selling baker's yeast to the retail industry is not a very large part of the company's total turnover but makes up for only around 20%.

On the global market, there is far more demand for strains of yeast used for the production of bacteria, yeast extracts and basic fermentation agents for food and animal feed. That is the reason why Danske Gærfabrikker is currently undergoing a significant expansion.

Open systems are the way forward

Here, ABB AbilityTM System 800xA plays a decisive role, acting as the factory's digital skeleton that ensures that all valves, centrifuges and processing units can communicate with each other.

"It's not something that just happens by itself," explains Jack Domino. The factory buys machinery and equipment from different suppliers, and therefore it needs an open control system that can integrate the signals from, for example, the PLCs from various suppliers. This can be accomplished thanks to the PLC Connect module in the 800xA system which has been developed to integrate third-party equipment.

"Open systems are the way forward. We need to be able to buy a specialized piece of machinery from any supplier and have it up and running on day 1," Jack Domino says.

 

Energy savings of up to 25 percent

The 800xA system is an important component in Danske Gærfabrikker's plans to implement a more circular, energy-saving production.

Thanks to a general fine-tuning of all units in addition to reusing steam condensate, so far it has succeeded in reducing the factory's energy consumption by 25 percent. This is because the factory runs on steam, but it is only now that steam condensate is being reused.

"We know that energy doesn't just disappear, but previously, we were unable to track the energy as it moved through the system. Today, thanks to System 800xA, we can do just that. Before, it was more based on gut feelings, but now we can take action precisely where the gains are the greatest," Jack Domino explains.

Most recently, Danske Gærfabrikker has invested in an updated boiler house with new control boards and ABB's AC 800M controllers.

Jack Domino, Technical Manager at De Danske Gærfabrikker

"We know that energy doesn't just disappear, but previously, we were unable to track the energy as it moved through the system. Today, thanks to System 800xA, we can do just that. Before, it was more based on gut feelings, but now we can take action precisely where the gains are the greatest."

The first Big Data project

Jack Domino's next project will be new cooling towers that can use things such as external weather data from the Danish Meteorological Institute (DMI) to optimize the process. For example, this data from DMI can be used to plan the cold storage based on weather conditions.

"We would like to become even better at taking our surroundings into account, such as for example the weather. If there is a lot of moisture, we need to dry the air before it can be used in the yeast drying processes," Jack Domino explains. 


The new cooling towers will be installed this summer and will contain a number of ABB components.

"This will be our first real Big Data project, and here the System 800xA will also in its own way act as the brain power," the technical manager concludes.
Jack Domino, Technical Manager at De Danske Gærfabrikker

"This will be our first real Big Data project, and here the System 800xA will also in its own way act as the brain power,"

About Danske Gærfabrikker A/S

Danske Gærfabrikker A/S has its origins in De Danske Spritfabrikker, which was a company founded in 1881. Before Denmark joined the European Community in 1973, the company had a monopoly on the production of yeast and spirits in Denmark. 1973 was also the year where the current factory in Grenå was built.

Today, the company is owned by the Canadian food company, Lallermand, which has its HQ in Montreal. Lallermand owns 25 factories around the world.

Danske Gærfabrikker produces half of Lallemand's wine yeast, and 80 percent of the factory's production is exported.

In addition to the factory in Grenå, there is also a so-called mixing factory in Fredericia. Here they combine various yeast mixtures to the customers' specifications.

Sources: Danske Gærfabrikker and Børsen

 

 

Every fermentation begins with only a few grams of yeast that are then made to multiply in four or five stages. This process is called fed-back fermentation where nourishment is continually added to the fermenter.

Every stage takes approximately 16-20 hours. The few initial grams turn into 100,000 kg of packaged yeast in a single week, which amounts to two million of the 50-gram packages.

The liquid yeast is either transported directly on to tanker trucks and sent to industrial customers or processed into packages for the retail industry.

Source: www.danskgaer.dk

A few grams become 100,000 kg of yeast

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