Electrical Control System for Kombucha Brewing

AMPS recently had the pleasure of designing and building an electrical control system for Zip Kombucha, a craft kombucha brewer in Anchorage, Alaska. They made their first batch yesterday and we are very happy for them!

Electrical Control System for Kombucha

Kombucha tea steeping process

Electrical Control System Mixer

View inside the mixing tank


Kombucha is a brewed beverage so the process has some similarities with brewing beer. We’ve designed and built electrical control systems for the craft beer industry for decades so it was fun branching out and learning a slightly new process without starting from scratch.


Electrical control system using UniStream from Unitronics

We used a 7″ UniStream controller from Unitronics as the foundation for this electrical control system. This is our PLC of choice on almost every application. Features of this system for Zip Kombucha include:

  • Control of hot liquor pump using a variable frequency drive (VFD)
  • Control of mixing motor using a VFD
  • Adjusting valves for filling tanks and mixing hot and cold water
  • Monitoring temperatures
  • Monitoring liquid levels in the HLT and mixing tank
  • Support of multiple batch sizes and recipes
  • PID temperature control
  • Automatic stepping through each recipe
  • Data collection and storage
  • Remote access via webserver and VNC connection

Their touch-screen interface includes a configuration page where they can customize all sorts of settings. Minimum and maximum values for transducers are variable rather than static. This will allow them to replace transducers down the road without needing to adjust the PLC program to accommodate the new hardware. PID settings can be changed in order to optimize the heating process and minimize overshoot without increasing the ramp-up time. The configuration page allows them to make adjustments to timers, setpoints and recipes.


User Interface is Important

The main brewing page is designed for a positive user interface experience. We put a lot of extra time and effort into designing HMI pages that are clean and easy to use. Too many PLC programmers fail to understand the importance of the user interface. Designers of consumer electronics understand this but, for some reason, programmers on the industrial side ignore it.

We take a different approach. Why should the apps on the device in your pocket look and feel better than the app you use in your business? Are you less frustrated by extra keystrokes, poor navigation and buried settings just because you’re at work? No, of course not.

Main screen during brewing


Contact AMPS for Electrical Control Systems

If you are an equipment manufacturer, contact us so we can help you design a better user interface for your customers. They work with examples of great user interfaces every day on their phones and tables so they notice when your equipment is poorly designed. We can help you provide equipment with a better user interface.