Asahi's product quality and process data recording and processing system, named "TECOS", was installed in 1992 and has been upgraded several times. It consists of a local area network in each of the company's breweries, linking computers which record and process data from the brewing departments (raw materials, brewhouse, fermentation, post fermentation treatment), the packaging hall and the quality control section, each of the brewery networks being linked in turn to the company's head office and to its research centre. The most recent improvement up to the time of writing was a monitoring system for the packaging department, in which the beer in each bright beer tank is designated as a separate production batch, identified by a bar code on the containers, and can be traced back through the entire production process through a database which automatically records all on-line instrument readings for each batch over the whole course of the brewing process and also holds records (mostly manually entered) of the results of laboratory analyses of the materials, intermediate products and finished beer of each batch. This facilitates the identification and recall of a batch in the event of quality problems being detected in trade or by consumers, and also enables the tracing of the faulty batch back through the production process, making it easier to find and correct the cause of the problem. Continuous online process monitoring also greatly increases the chances of detecting problems as they appear, preventing the release of defective beer and correcting the faults at source.
Keywords : bar coding batch brewery computer data processing on-line packaging production quality control