IIoT-enabled keg becomes reality through Additive Manufacturing Innovation Centre

Don Horne   


Mohawk College is helping Barventory develop an IIoT-enabled keg scale to be used in bars and pub settings to measure and enable more precise pours, ordering and record consumption data.
The partnership with Barventory came together when Barventory reached out to Mohawk College.
“We want to support businesses and Barventory reached out to us through a friend of a friend,” says Simon Coulson, general manager of the Additive Manufacturing Innovation Centre (AMIC). “Barventory wanted a finished product that would meet their requirements and we were happy to collaborate with them on the scale, determining the measurements and parameters they needed.”
Mohawk’s students worked on the Barventory scale, pivoting away from PPE products to more design-focused projects like the keg scale. The pandemic’s effect was felt across all industries, and the AMIC was no stranger to its setbacks.
“There was an initial slowdown when everyone was at home and we thought we could wait it out,” says Simon. “Eventually we picked up projects related to face mask and PPE, fulfilling orders for hospitals and labs and healthcare organizations, but since the beginning of 2021, we’ve been able to work on some more interesting projects like the keg scale.”
When asked what exactly the Additive Manufacturing Innovation Centre considered interesting, Simon was clear. Any project in any sector could be interesting, as long as the students could work on it, and there was a clear industry problem that could be addressed.
With that in mind, students at the AMIC are currently working on a RFID-enabled scale to be implemented as a much smaller device, to function as a coaster to be used on glasses and bottles, to measure perfect pours and the value of drinks remaining in a bottle. This would enable more precise pricing and help to create value for beverage manufacturers, bars and restaurants everywhere these coasters are used.
According to Simon Coulson, prior to the keg scale, measuring kegs were very rudimentary, through the use of flowmeters that were inaccurate, because they would register frothy foam as dense liquid, throwing off measurements and increasing a business’ inefficiency. With the keg scale, business’ no longer needs to worry about reordering, as this would be automated through the inventory management that’s included with the IIoT-enabled keg scale. This also purports to decrease a business’ overhead since they don’t need to worry about the infrastructure cost of reordering, which includes the time and labour associated with managing fluctuating weights in kegs.
Mohawk’s Additive Manufacturing Innovation Centre continues to work on projects for manufacturing businesses and is always on the lookout for new partners with problems that can be tackled through injection molding.

Mohawk College’s AMIC students at work in the lab. Photo courtesy of Mohawk College

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