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Spirit Control! Bottling Gin, Vodka, Aquavit—with Unitronics PLCs

Industry- Food & Beverage

Summary: Hovendak Distillery, a producer of hand-crafted fine spirits in Iceland, wanted to automate a manual bottling system. They opted to use a UniStream® PLC--to more than double their bottling capacity.

Hovendak Distillery, takes pride in being one of the most technologically advanced distilleries in Iceland. Their production takes advantage of two natural resources—Iceland’s famous pure waters and geothermal energy.

Hovendak’s unique distillation process takes place in a vacuum, allowing the products to be distilled in a much lower temperature than that used in traditional methods. This optimizes the influence of the essential oils used to flavor their fine spirits, resulting in a smooth, refined product.  Only geothermal energy is used for heating purposes, rendering the distillation process environmentally friendly.

The original production process relied on the products—award-winning gin, vodka, rum, aquavit, and a range of quality liquers—being bottled by hand. When Hovendak’s decided to update, they chose Unitronics industrial automation control products, supplied by Unitronics’ Icelandic representatives at Samey.

A UniStream® PLC model USC-P-B10 and an additional Uni-I/O module was selected to automate the bottling process, paired with a UniStream HMI panel to provide the operator interface.

Using UniLogic®, UniStream’s All-in-One automation software, to program both the control and HMI application proved to be simple and fast; the application programmers had no need to request technical support.

The project was a success—where manual bottling required 2-3 people to produce 200 to 300 bottles an hour, the UniStream-automated process now produces 700 to 800 bottles.

Hakon Freyr Freysson, Hovendak Distillery’s CEO was happy he selected Unitronics PLC controllers, saying:
Great products, easy to use, competitive prices, wide range of models! It was really easy to implement the Unitronics PLC into our system because the hardware and software are both truly user-friendly.”

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