Electricals 101: A Brewer’s Introduction to What Electronics Do for Us

Craft Brewers Conference 2022
Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota
Speakers: John Blystone

Industrial electrical systems, electronics, and control systems are prevalent in the brewing industry at all levels, yet the knowledge of what they do and how they work remains lacking. This seminar provides basic knowledge about a number of topics, from definitions of Ingress Protection (IP) and National Electrical Manufacturer Association (NEMA) ratings, to how to read ladder diagrams and relate them to actual wire connections in a panel, with the goal of educating and demystifying the systems we all rely on to make beer, with a specific focus on topics commonly found in breweries. Finally, the basics of electrical safety in the brewery are discussed, with the hopes that we all stay safe from these ever-present hazards.

Learning Objectives:

  • Establish a basic understanding of how to specify equipment given the application environment
  • Gain an understanding of how relays work, and the ability to read and understand relay ladder logic diagrams
  • Understand the basics of Programmable Logic Controllers, Human-Machine Interfaces, and Variable Frequency Drives
  • Learn the basics of electricity, including Ohms Law and basic sensor technologies (RTD, Thermocouple, flow meters, pressure transmitters)
  • Develop a good understanding of electrical safety in the workplace, including what is okay to do as a non-electrician and how to do these things safely

About the Speakers

John Blystone

John Blystone, Manager of Engineering & Maintenance

Great Lakes Brewing Company

John Blystone is a 2005 graduate of the University of Akron, where he studied electrical engineering while working as a co-op at Morton Salt. Upon graduation he began his career as an Electrical Controls Engineer, automating process equipment in the coal power, food, chemical, and rubber industries at facilities around the world, from Costa Rica to Poland and all over the continental United States. In 2013 John gave up the perks of continuous travel, large amounts of time away from home, and the grime involved in making rubber products for an Automation Specialist position at the Great Lakes Brewing Company (GLBC). Shortly thereafter, he earned his Professional Engineering (PE) license in the State of Ohio for Control Systems, simultaneously becoming an International Society of Automation (ISA) certified Control Systems Engineer (CSE). John is currently the Manager of Engineering & Maintenance at GLBC, managing a team of engineering, maintenance, and Environmental Health & Safety (EHS) professionals who are all dedicated to making ever more, ever better beer. He is a member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), the ISA, the Master Brewers Association of the Americas (MBAA), and is also Honorary President of the local Lambda Lambda Lambda chapter. His hobbies include all things geek, such as steam locomotive preservation, HAM radio, NASA-themed LEGOs, and vintage video games.