Use Case: RCA & Quality Control in Beer Brewing
In this use case, the brewing team was dealing with inconsistent low-quality batches that were causing off specification beer parameters, delays in production, and rising costs. The team needed to find the root cause and fast. Using self-service analytics, they were able to find the cause and prevent it from happening again.
1. Create an overview.
First, one engineer created an overview of all the equipment involved in the brewing process. The time-series data from each brewing asset was plotted in its own swim lane, and the respective context items for each were displayed in a chart using self-service analytics (Figure 1).
This context information included the following:
- Mash mill information which showed when the malt mill was actively milling.
- Mash ton information which showed production information like alarms for pH limits, process anomalies, and planned maintenance.
- Fermenter information including lab samples, batch ID’s and beer measurements like alcohol percentages, bitterness and pH.
Figure 1. Time-series data plotted in its own swim lanes with the respective context data displayed in a chart.
2. Look at the data.
There were a lot of lab samples for the beer, so he took at an overview of all the quality samples in the process. Viewing these in a Gantt chart, the engineer could see the attached context data (Figure 2).
Next, he checked the key beer parameter – the bitterness. To do this, he performed a value search for batches with off-spec bitterness. Once he found these, he saw that these batches also had an off-spec pH, determining the root cause of the issue.
Figure 2. Brewing data plotted in Gantt charts.
3. Prevent reoccurrence.
To prevent this bitterness anomaly from happening again, the engineer set a monitor to alert personnel via email about a potential problem with pH and recommended actions to take.
Recommendations like this one can be set up to influence last minute changes or even detect upcoming failures in the process, so personnel can correct the process to ensure a successful batch.
A Smarter Route to Finding the Cause
As Food and Beverage process experts, you have an extremely difficult job so having a tool that can help is great, especially when it comes to root cause analysis and quality control.
Self-service analytics is the smart route to finding root causes and ensuring a clear road to operational excellence.