GKV stands for Germination Kiln Vessel, it is a Germinating and Kilning vessel combined. At the germination stage the barley is encouraged to grow and enzymes are produced. These enzymes are vital for converting the starch into fermentable sugars. Temperate, humidified air is blown through the germinating barley. The volume of air is used to regulate the temperature, whilst humidification minimises moisture loss to 3-4%. The moisture content of this ‘green malt’ has an effect on the all-important enzyme development. The barley is also turned regularly to prevent the roots matting together, and to release any carbon dioxide.
At the kilning stage the over a 24 – 48 hour period the ‘green malt’ is dried carefully, to halt germination, and to reduce the moisture content from 43% to the required 4.5%. It is vital to preserve the enzymes, released through germination, which enable the final conversion of starch to soluble, fermentable sugar, to be completed during mashing.
The existing germination vessel was controlled electro-mechanically by operators. This system was very old and problematic and caused a lot down time to the customer. We were contracted to develop a software solution that enabled the vessel filling, germination, kilning and discharging automatically. Our solution was a PLC and SCADA based solution. The PLC is a type of industrial PC in which the software was developed to control and monitor all the physical devices. The SCADA is a PC based software, which is the front end graphical interface.
The finished solution enabled the operator to control the plant from a single PC within a control room environment and enable the customer to create numerous recipes for different types of malt.