The invasion of the MiniBrew OTB's & DFA Design for Assembly

By Patrick Layer
February 22nd, 2018
Backer Steffen

Hi MiniBrew Friends,

Cold but sunny greetings from out of the Netherlands.

Great news the whole team is back in our office with some new presents from our factory. An invasion of 5 new MiniBrew machines and an additional 18 kegs landed in Europe. (See below some more information and pictures)

Besides, we also want to introduce you to the second part of the production process the DFA. A couple of weeks ago in the update of the 23rd of January, we shared some details of the first step Design for Manufacture - refining the design of molded and metal parts for high volume production, commonly known as DFM of our production process. 

In the meantime, the first OTBs were produced and our team oversaw the assembly line - to give you some more insights into how to optimize the design of the product for assembly.

DFA an Introduction

In short, DFA is a process by which products are designed with ease of assembly in mind. Some things that include the design for assembly are:

  • If a product contains fewer parts it will take less time to assemble,
  • Also if the parts are provided with features which make it easier to grasp, move, orient and insert,
  • As well as the reduction of the number of parts in an assembly has the added benefit of generally reducing the total complexity and thereby increase the production output per day.

Besides, the first Minibrew series was only assembled by highly qualified engineers that took care of the full process. In the final Mass Production, the workers are only focusing on a single step of the whole assembly to speed up the production process further. To bring it in our perspective, during assembly some parts can change/be adapted to make it easier for assembly and therefore increase the overall efficiency. → More MiniBrews in shorter time - isn’t that awesome!

DFA of MiniBrew

During our first assemblies of the Off-Tool-Builds a couple of weeks ago, we discovered some parts that had to be adapted.

  • We found out that fixing the inner water routing tube was too complex to do with hands by the employees, therefore we had to adapt the routing another time to make it easier to install during the assembly.
  • We had to change the wire routing through the system to ensure to least risk of a chance of circling.
  • Another modification was the fine-tuning of all seals and the hydraulic connection between the machine and the mash tun, the mash tun and the keg as well as the keg and the machine, to make it easier during the manufacturing process.

Just to highlight a small part of DFA we can share with you - there were far more adaptations necessary overall.

MiniBrew OTB'S

Now to the interesting part - meet our new family members - MiniBrew OTBs fresh from out of the production line ;)

Test brewing

Brewing³ - (not the final colors just for brewing testing)

Our new Friends - Don’t they look lovely?

Last week we unpacked the first OTB that our team brought back from China. Even better this week Monday, we received the other 5 MiniBrew’s here in Utrecht. Keep in mind that this is not the final color as well the see a transparent series, produced for engineering purposes. So it's currently easier to see what's going on behind the housing and to faster adapt processes or fix issues.

Brewing test set up

Our current brewing test set up for this week

Fermentation set up

Some of the MiniBrew Kegs in fermentation phase (lowest row) without the final Smart Keg stand.

The testing procedure

We started last week with water tests to ensure the basic functionality of the machine since the major change of 3D-printed parts to molded parts bring different results along.

Some of the tests included e.g. controlling for possible leakages or measuring the evaporation rates. The first impressions were very positive, next to a small slightly leakage all results such as heating time and evaporation rate were within the predefined specs! Meeting these specs is really important for the duration of a full brew - e.g. a fast heating upcycle is necessary to make a brew as efficient as possible.

Furthermore, we performed the first full brews (first without hops) to analyze and check the taste of the wort base and to determine the brewhouse efficiency and brix level. The obtained results are promising, it was consistent and the outcomes were similar to our WS2.

Overall, we are operating within the specs by meeting our requirements to produce high-quality beer. The only encounter we are facing so far after the first test brews is a slight decrease in efficiency. This could be due to e.g. new filters and an adapted mash tun, therefore we are currently investigating the situation, to restore the old level within the upcoming brews or latest in the next build (EB1).
The outlook for the upcoming weeks includes full brew sessions (adding hops) to determine the full extraction rate of the flavors and performing stress tests.

More information soon.

A backer is visiting

Early MiniBrew Backer Steffen from Denmark was in the office to brew with the new OTB MiniBrew (see below). He was giving us new insights into the usability of the machine, the brewing process as well the unboxing and assembly of a MiniBrew.

Steffen, happy warm wishes from the whole team - thanks for stopping by and taking your time to improve our product! 
We value your opinion and there will be a detailed review that we like to share with you, our backers as well.

Backer Steffen

Meet our backer Steffen (on the right) with the Co-Founders Olivier (front left) and Bart (back) and our new Minibrew in the final colors.

WE WANT YOU - So if you are a backer and around Utrecht please drop us an email to you are more than welcome to swing by, brew and experience MiniBrew in real life. In any case, we are going to reach out soon to you to get your input on some final product questions and usability expertise.

Stay tuned and watch your inbox ;)


In the meantime - we are still looking for more flavors joining our team.

a) Test Specialist

We are still searching for a thirsty Test Engineer - to help us speed up the testing process. So if you know someone that loves beer and fits our job description, please bring us in contact. --> Apply here

Test Engineer Intern

b) Marketing & Communications Intern

Are you the COMMUNICATIONS INTERN ready to change the beer space? and…If drinking fresh CRAFT BEER and PERSUADING PEOPLE with a story DOESN'T TURN YOU ON, don’t bother clicking on that LINK

Communications Intern

That was it for this week, hope you got some insights into another part of the production process the DFA and our newest Team Brewing Sessions at our office.

Stay thirsty for more.



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