Automate a winery

Winery tanks

The most critical factor in wine production is to control the fermentation process. During this process you have to control tanks temperatures. You can use special tanks than contains must and have a cooling valve for temperature decreasing. Depending of the wine production methods you use, generally the control is made of:

  • Put must in a tank. this action causes a temperature increase;
  • If the temperature is over a certain threshold, you have to open cooling valve to decrease temperature;
  • When temperature is under the threshold, you have to close the valve.

You can set up an automated application using AirQ Networks products.

Suppose you have to control 8 tanks, the application allows user to:

  1. detect tanks temperature;
  2. control cooling valves;
  3. main power failure.

Warning: the schemes in this tutorial implies operations on electric system. Qualified personnel should do these operations. Before each operation, make sure to turn off the main power.

Required stuff

We need following things to setup this application:

Note that for point 2 you can you use different AirQ 3xx family products. For example you can use two AirQ 310 (each of these has 6 relays).

Since you can’t put a sensor directly into a tank, for each of this you need to use a probe.

Step by step instructions

1Hardware setup

First step is to setup AirQ300 boards. You have to link boards relays to relative valve and link boards to power adapters.

As you can see, in the above schema it’s shown the electrical links between a cooling valve and a relay on AirQ 300 control board. This board is powered using a DIN rail power adapter (power voltage is 12VDC). The cooling valve is linked to the normally open contact of the relay on one side and to the live wire of 220V to the other side. The circuit is completed linking the COM contact of the relay to the neutral wire.

You can setup a switchboard containing boards and power adapters.

Electrical panel with AirQ 300 boards

 

Note that for each relay of the control board you can connect a valve. For example, Board1.relay1 for tank1 and Board1.relay2 for tank2. So with four AirQ 300 control boards you can control your eight cooling valves of the example.

Second step is sensors placing. The choice of AirQ Networks temperature sensors allows you use them without any power wires because they are powered by long-life battery. You simply have to:

  1. place a sensor on or near a tank;
  2. put the probe in the thermowell of the tank.

Finally, HomeNET control unit must be installed close to a network outlet using an UTP cable and powered up using a switching power adapter.

Note that no wiring is required between devices and the control unit: control units and sensors are linked to the control unit by radio signal.

Slide background

Temperature sensor

probe wire

Thermowell

2Software setup

Second step is the software. No installation on your PC/Smartphone is needed: in order to use the system with full capabilities, AirQ Networks control unit provides all the necessary: HomeNET (or ColdNET).

HomeNET is the application that allows you to do basic configuration and define all the system logic.

You can access to the application using a browser, like Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox. Control unit IP address is generated by DHCP. To obtain your control unit IP, you have to use HomeNET Finder.

Open your browser and type the address obtained by HomeNET Finder:

http://192.168.1.210:9090

For basic configuration, we suggest you take a look at page Support.

After devices installation and pairing, from your HomeNET main view you can see:

Boards status summary

Main view (boards status view) shows, for each device, the last status detected. Each AirQ 300 control board use the two relays to command related cooling valve; in this example all input are unused, but you can use them to more sophisticated system. If you click on a relay icon, you can turn on/off the valve manually from your pc/Smartphone. For each of the eight wine tanks, you have a temperature sensor shown in the GUI as in picture. Temperature sensor widget shows the last detected temperature.

 

Assign names

If you want, you can assign names to the sensor, clicking on Name it button or on previous assigned device name. In the example, sensor related to the wine tank X has the name Tank X.

Besides you can assign name for a control board, you can also change I/O names. In the example, each relay has the name of the related cooling valve. So you can assign the name valve 5 to the first relay of the control 3 control board, clicking on RELAY 1 string.

 

Dashboard

If you prefer to manage the system with a more useful interface, you can use the dashboard. Dashboard allows you to create a fully customized environment. You can put a lot of widget on the dashboard. Widgets allow you to place in the dashboard only what you want to see. There are many widgets that you can use: a widget for a detected temperature, a widget for a single relay, a widget for a temperature trend graph and many others. For each widget you can choose a set of icons to personalize the GUI as you want. For example, in the winery you don’t need to shows control boards inputs because they are unused. So you can put single relay widgets for command all the cooling valves, last detected temperature widget and temperature trend graphs widget for each tank.

Next video show as you can configure the dashboard:

 

Define the system logic using the rules

After basic configuration, you can see your wine tanks status and commands valve by using relay buttons/widgets. So if you see that a tank temperature is too high, you can click on the relay linked to a cooling valve in order to lower the tank temperature. The same way you can re-click to the relay button to close the valve if temperature is too low.

The question is: would it be better to automate this process?

You can define system logic in a very simple and reliable way by using the rules. Thank to rules you can define more complex system behaviours. To add a new rule, click on the rules icon from to top bar of a device in the boards status view or directly from the main top menu.

For each tank, control the temperature

Suppose that tank temperatures must be in 14°C-15°C interval during fermentation. For each sensor, you must define two rules:

  1. If temperature is lower than 14, cooling valve must be open (tank temperature increase);
  2. If temperature is higher than 15, cooling valve must be closed (tank temperature decrease).

Since a valve is linked to a relay, in terms of relay rules are:

  1. If temperature is lower than 14, turn off relay (tank temperature increase);
  2. If temperature is higher than 15, turn on relay (tank temperature decrease).

Clicking on the icon described before, you access to the rules list grouped by the device related to the clicked icon. In the add new rule box, you have to define a rule name, a condition and an action. Next video shows how to add the two rules:

 

Data observing

HomeNET application offers to you a lot of utilities for data observing. Read HomeNET documentation for complete information.

For example, you can observe temperature trend of a tank, status history of a couple of valves etc…

winery-temperature-data-trend

valve-controller-status-history