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Roast Logging with Artisan Visual Scope for better Quality Control

UPDATE: We have since this post originally appeared, changed out roast logging system from Roast Logging with Artisan Visual Scope to Cropster and no longer use Artisan Visual Scope. We keep this post in our blog as it is serving for several people as a good entry point how to implement a free roast logging solution.

We here at Tico Coffee Roasters have long been focusing on providing only the best coffees and most exclusive teas for a truly unique experience. All our coffees have been handcrafted since day one and we have kept a full roast log of every single roast to ensure consistency and the best possible quality of our coffee beans.

We are taking this now to a new level by adding a fully automated logging system to our roastery. We have been researching for quite a while to find the perfect system for our needs and have finally installed our brand new roast logging system based on the Artisan Visual Scope Software  created by Marko Luther in Munich, Germany. And it is truly just coincidence that our roast master is also from Munich, Germany.

We chose the Artisan Visual Scope software for a few specific reasons that made really the difference. First it supports a wide variety of devices that can be connected. It allowed us not only to connect our production roaster, but also our lab equipment. In addition the software is easy to handle and allows our staff to quickly get familiar with it. And then finally the cost perspective. The Artisan solution is an open-source solution and not forcing us to use a cloud based interface, but allows us to store and keep our data locally.

In our roastery we have connected our lab roaster as well as our production roaster to the Artisan Visual Scope Software and now we are not only able to trace every single roast, but now we also can compare each single roast during the roasting process and ensure that every roast of a specific coffee bean is exactly the same.

For our Coffee Lab we have connected the Coffee Roaster Thermo Probe via a Phidget 1048 Temperature Sensor to the USB port of our Logging Computer. The Phidget is directly converting the temperature from the probe in a signal that can be picked up by the Artisan Visual Scope Software. Every single sample roast is tracked and after cupping the coffee sample the results are updated in the roast log so all data is stored in a single location.

Sample Roast Loggin with Artisan Visual Scope

Our production roaster is a CoffeePer San Franciscan Roaster with a Watlow control unit and there we had to select a slightly different setup. The Watlow control unit is connected through a B&B Electronic 485USBTB-2W RS485 to USB adaptor and from there to the USB port of our Logging Computer.

Connectivity of Artisan to a San Franciscan SF-6 Roaster

The installation and setup was quite simple and we are more than happy to share more details of our setup, if you are interested. Just drop us a note.

This setup allows us now to track every single roast and even compare it during the roast to our master profile. This is how we can ensure that every time our customers purchase a specific coffee it is consistent and the best possible roast for a truly unique experience.

By Thomas Goepel

Head of Roasting and Quality at Tico Coffee Roasters and always hunting for the most unique coffees.

2 replies on “Roast Logging with Artisan Visual Scope for better Quality Control”

We have connected the San Franciscan Roaster through the Walow and a 485 converter directly to the PC running Artisan. Here is a few additional things you will have to consider:

  • First of all if you have a San Franciscan Roaster with the default Watlow EX-Zone Panel, you need to contact Bill Kennedy at San Franciscan Roasters, as they will need to send you a newer panel that has a 485 output channel. They will charge for it, but will credit you parts of it back if you send to original Watlow back (in good condition).
  • You would need to remove the old Watlow (just disconnect the green connectors but don’t unwire), add a small hole to the rear of the Watlow housing (.5” diameter and they provide an additional grommet for the opening) only if you cannot get the cables through the original cable channel in the housing (we had enough pace in there), feed data wires into the housing, connect to the specified pins on the specified connector, and then connect and reinstall the new Watlow (provided pre-programmed for plug and play).
  • You will need to install the RS485-to-USB converter drivers on your laptop and install Artisan. Once configured within Artisan, you should be all set to roast and log. If you choose the converter from CoffeePer they recommend using a PC laptop, as the Mac install requires a little hacking to get the driver to work.

We have tried this also with a Mac and the little hacking and it just works fine. I can send the instructions if you use a Mac. It is simple and straight forward.
Happy roast logging!

The installation for Artisan was pretty straight forward on the Mac for me. I just followed the instructions on the Artisan page. Here are the key steps:

Configuration for Mac
1) Install the latest FTDI VCP driver for Mac OS X (currently v2.2.18) from here http://www.ftdichip.com/Drivers/VCP.htm
2) Convert the ProductID/VendorID shown by the System Profiler in Hex to decimal idProduct and idVendor.
Open Terminal.app and type (after the # prompt) using the ProductID/VendorID as shown by the System Profiler (without the 0x hex prefix).
E.g. type for the numbers above:

dc -e “16i AC33 p 0856 p”
44083
2134

3) Modify the “supported” devices list
Open “/System/Library/Extensions/FTDIUSBSerialDriver.kext/Contents/Info.plist” with TextEdit and search for an entry for your device.
The following would be the one for the 485USBTB-4W:

485USBTB-4W
CFBundleIdentifier
com.FTDI.driver.FTDIUSBSerialDriver
IOClass
FTDIUSBSerialDriver
IOProviderClass
IOUSBInterface
bConfigurationValue
1
bInterfaceNumber
0
idProduct
44084
idVendor
2134

Which is obviously for the 485USBTB-4W device of the same vendor (same vendor id as computed above), however with the product id 44084, not for your product (44083). Now you just have to add a corresponding entry like suggested by that page to get your device being recognized.
It should look like this:

485USBTB-2W

CFBundleIdentifier
com.FTDI.driver.FTDIUSBSerialDriver
IOClass
FTDIUSBSerialDriver
IOProviderClass
IOUSBInterface
bConfigurationValue
1
bInterfaceNumber
0
idProduct
44083
idVendor
2134

Save the modified Info.plist to your Desktop
4) Modify the FTDI driver
a) Open Terminal.app
b) Change to the Desktop folder where you saved the modified Info.plist of the FTDI driver

cd Desktop

c) Make a copy of the original configuration file (you will be asked for the admin password)

sudo cp /System/Library/Extensions/FTDIUSBSerialDriver.kext/Contents/Info.plist /System/Library/Extensions/FTDIUSBSerialDriver.kext/Contents/Info.plist.org

d) Install the modified configuration file

sudo cp Info.plist /System/Library/Extensions/FTDIUSBSerialDriver.kext/Contents
sudo chmod 755 /System/Library/Extensions/FTDIUSBSerialDriver.kext/Contents/Info.plist
sudo touch /System/Library/Extensions

e) Reload the driver
Just reboot your Mac
f) Open the Terminal.app again and check if the driver was loaded (connect your device first)

kextstat | grep FTDI

g) Check if the serial ports have finally been allocated (with the device connected!)

ls -las /dev | grep -i usb

(this should list two serial ports one starting with “cu.usbserial-” the other with “tty.usbserial-“
In Artisan you need to select a ModBus device with the following settings:

Comm Port: Model 485USBTB-2W
Baud rate: 9600
Byte Size: 8
Parity: N
StopBits: 1
Timeout: 1

Input 1:
Slave: 1
Register: 360
Function: 3
Float: Checked

Input 2:
Slave: 1
Register: 450
Function: 3
Float: Checked

little-endian: unchecked

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