By operating on a fully digital platform, biopharmaceutical R and D labs can maintain optimal conditions for fermentation and/or cell culture within the bioreactor
Since early 2003, Broadley-James has quietly inked deals with key
players in the life science industry to supply its BioNet
bioreactor control system, the first digitally networked
bench-top bioreactor for cell culture and microbial applications.
EmersonProcess Management has now announced its key role: the
BioNet system uses Emerson PlantWeb digital plant architecture
The bioreactor control system is controlled by the
PlantWeb DeltaV digital automation system that networks to
devices like Brooks Instrument mass flow controllers (MFCs)
through industry standard DeviceNet and Foundation fieldbus
By operating on a fully digital platform,
biopharmaceutical R and D labs can maintain optimal conditions
for fermentation and/or cell culture within the bioreactor.
BioNet controller uses the DeltaV digital automation system for
controlling and managing small to large arrays of BioNet utility
Individual controllers can manage up to ten utility
towers and can be sequenced to control an entire suite of
One key element of the automation solution is the
Brooks Instrument mass flow controllers.
The Brooks Instrument
mass flow controllers provide greatly improved control of gas
mixing and flow rate with an accuracy of +/-0.7% or better.
flow meters communicate their measurements and instrument status
to the DeltaV-based BioNet controller via DeviceNet, which allows
for active monitoring, trending, asset management and precise
The DeltaV system can also be networked to other
intelligent field devices like Micro Motion Coriolis flow meters,
Rosemount measurement instruments, and analysers using Profibus
DP and Foundation fieldbus technologies.
process automation suppliers for BioNet based on analysis of the
needs of the biopharmaceutical market.
"In the process end
of this industry, reliability and predictability are pinnacle.
"Downtime can cost you thousands of dollars.
doesn't do you any favours," stated Larry West,
director of sales and marketing for Broadley-James.
validation also proved to be crucial in the life science market.
"Emerson won out in every category when compared to other
Broadley-James assessed that digital
communications would soon dominate process development, and
PlantWeb with its DeltaV digital automation system was evaluated
to be the leading technology.
At the process level, mass flow
controllers were critical BioNet components, and numerous MFC
vendors offer smart products that integrate into digital systems.
Broadley-James wanted to know what other factors regarding mass
flow controllers were important to customers in the life science
The company chose the Emerson Brooks MFCs based on
factors gleaned from surveys of prospective customers.
value topped the list, followed by technology, experience in life
science applications, and reputation.
Reducing time to market.
Monitoring the environment inside a bioreactor via intelligent
devices on a digitally networked system offers insight as opposed
to simply providing information.
Lab personnel can interpret data
and status from pH and DO sensors inside the bioreactor through
the DeltaV system, and make scientific decisions based on
"It's the difference between doing science
and just doing chemistry," remarked West.
gained from digital automation significantly shortens the R and D
phase of fermentation and/or cell culture process development and
ultimately helps speed time to market".
Higher yield through
tighter gas management.
Gas management takes high priority in the
life science industry because it represents a means for
maximizing resources as well as optimising batch yield.
recently the level of control for gases affecting the pH and DO
of bioreactors was limited, and it's safe to say that yields
were proven out.
The digitally networked process, on which the
BioNet control system operates, breaks those limitations by
providing improved control that results in higher yield.
DO sensors inside the bioreactor send feedback instantaneously to
the DeltaV system which then determines the best approach based
on the BioNet solution model.
Gas management from the bus-enabled
Brooks MFCs immediately adjusts the flow of gas to maintain an
optimal environment for fermentation and/or cell culture.
By creating the first digitally networked bioreactor control
system for use in early phase cell culture development,
Broadley-James has provided life science companies the first link
to a completely digital fermentation and/or cell culture process.
The bus-enabled Brooks Instrument MFC and DeltaV digital
automation system used in the BioNet control system are capable
of being integrated throughout every stage of development for
fermentation and/or cell culture.
Bioreactor capacity might
increase from three litres in the growth lab to 13,000 litres in
the production facility but the key technologies remain
"Uniformity of hardware and automation
architecture means uniformity of information," stated West.
"Scientists in the R and D labs can now actually communicate
with engineers in the production plant because they're using
the same technologies for control.
"Behavior is managed
consistently regardless of scale."