- Check the operation of cellar tanks with a stable and flexible supervision system
- Implementing on existing hardware
- Remote access to production data
- Development of a customer-specific supervision software collecting data from all PLCs installed on tanks and sends alarms in case of critical issues
- Possibility to expand the architecture according to future needs
- Design of a secure wireless network
- App development for remote control
- Temperature and pressure values of the tanks where the fermentation of the must takes place are displayed also remotely
- Timely offsite interventions whenever values go out of range allow to preserve the quality of the product
- Tracking each step of the wine making cycle
- More efficient working method in the cellar
- Possibility to schedule preventive maintenance interventions
The best-known Italian exported wine certainly needs no introduction. Prosecco is a high quality product, one of the first to earn the DOC label (DOCG for Prosecco di Conegliano-Valdobbiadene). Its quality and prestige are supported by the work and age-old knowledge of the farmers. Competitiveness is ensured by the introduction in the cellars of technology and innovation to support production.
Founded in 1949 by Giustino Bisol in Santo Stefano di Valdobbiadene, Cantine Ruggeri is one of the most renowned and ancient wineries in the prosecco production area. Every year, the winery produces approximately three million bottles of prosecco and sparkling wine, 60% of which is destined for the Italian market and the rest goes abroad, in over 50 countries. Cantine Ruggeri’s wines have been awarded several times by The Wine Advocate and Gambero Rosso, proof that the search for the highest quality is a mandatory principle for the Italian winery.
Quality pairs with a constant aspiration to innovation and to implementing the latest technologies, aiming to always produce the best wine.
FACTORY AUTOMATION… IN A CELLAR
“Assuming that certain operations are still carried out in person, such as the management of the cuvées and quality controls by the winemaker, industrial automation ensures valuable support in process control, as well as in the bottling and packaging phases,” says Gianluca Tognon, agrotechnician at Cantine Ruggeri.
In particular, one of the most delicate and important steps is the management of the temperatures in the tanks where the fermentation of the must takes place. The constant maintenance of controlled medium-low temperatures in the tanks allows the release of aromas and flavours that enhance the fragrance and freshness of the wine, representing its unique features.
“In the past we used a system that allowed us to control the temperature of the tanks. Unfortunately it was not sufficiently stable or flexible, and required a person to go to the cellar and stand in front of the panel mounted on the tank”. The process of monitoring the temperature of the tanks required a decisive technological step forward.
A PROFESSIONAL SUPERVISION SYSTEM MADE EASY
Cantine Ruggeri relied on THREAD to solve this strategic critical issue.
THREAD developed a customer-specific supervision system that collects data from the PLCs installed on fermentation tanks and autoclaves, monitoring their operation and allowing for remote control of the temperature and pressure of all phases of must fermentation. The system provides Cantine Ruggeri with the stability it missed, for a total of 130 tanks and 45 autoclaves.
The immediate advantage of relying on a software development company such as THREAD is the total customisation of the system, which is developed according to the specific needs of the customer, and the possibility of implementing the software on existing hardware, without necessarily having to purchase a standalone package from a single supplier with all the integration and updating problems that this entails. Of strategic importance was also the collaboration with Nicon Srl by Luca Nicola, a company with consolidated experience in the wine sector.
The supervision system is managed both locally – on the HMI terminal installed in the cellar – and remotely, with app access on mobile devices; in this way, the parameters are controlled on-the-go both by the operators in the cellar, according to different levels of access, and remotely, where the agronomist and oenologist keep under observation the wine production cycles.
Alarm notifications signal any departure from the preset temperature and pressure ranges, to prompt corrective action.
“If the temperature values are exceeded, or if there are difficulties in topping the entered value, or, again, when unwanted trends occur, we receive an SMS notification,” adds Tognon. “In this way, we can connect immediately to the tank, and, if necessary, we can intervene to bring the parameter back into its pre-set range”. All of this occurs remotely, no need of sending personnel to the cellar anymore.
THREAD also designed a custom graphic interface that meets the requirements of intuitiveness and usability and that makes the supervision system easy to use for all the operators. Red, yellow and green colors immediately identify the state of the tank, so that at a glance you can see where the tank in need of intervention is located.
MAKING WINE IN A BRAND NEW WAY
The implementation of a secure wireless network in the cellar also made it possible to improve the stability of the connection and to evolve the way of working towards “on-the-go” data control, i.e. from tablets moving around the cellar and not from a static panel mounted on the tank.
The data collection makes it possible to analyze the operation of the tanks over time, and to check that the refrigeration efficiency is always optimal.
“The control of the cellar is now complete,” concludes Ruggeri. “Access to data is possible from the display on-site, from tablets and remotely on smartphones. At any time we are able to know the state of the fermentation and discipline it in the desired direction”.