Mass Flow Control #Redefined

April 12, 2022 Vincent Hengeveld

Swift & Stable, Proven & Precise

In April 2022, Bronkhorst introduced a completely new mass flow controller product line to the world; the FLEXI-FLOW Compact. We asked our product manager, Vincent Hengeveld, responsible for Bronkhorst’s gas flow product portfolio, why this new gas Flow Controller is so revolutionary and how customers can benefit from this device.

Vincent: “As a product manager, I was part of the development team creating a completely new concept; develop a product featuring ease of use and flexibility through the entire customer journey from product selection to product use. And we succeeded… The result is a new mass flow controller, called FLEXI-FLOW Compact. With this flow instrument, we are not only able to measure and control gas flow and temperature, but also to measure and control the upstream and downstream pressures in your process with one flexible instrument. This is the future in mass flow control…. Mass Flow Control #Redefined.”

Compact Gas flow controller FLEXI-FLOW Compact
The FLEXI-FLOW Compact is really compact compared to other mass flow controllers

Can you tell something about the technology which is used?

 “The new concept of measuring mass flow and pressure is based on a technology called TCS, Through Chip Sensor. This new sensor exists of a capillary tube made with MEMS technology and combines the best of two worlds; a fast and stable flow sensor applied in our proven bypass construction for a reliable and highly accurate flow measurement.

Our R&D colleague Wouter Sparreboom will tell you all about this new development is his blog next month. So, stay tuned for that…”

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What is so interesting for our customers?

“The most interesting part for our customers is that the instrument is flexible to use, meaning that with this mass flow controller you can both measure and control mass flow and pressure. That’s really unique! Besides that, the instrument is one of the most compact ones in our product portfolio. It allows users to save space in their system and a reduction of weight. This was one of the requests we received from our analytical customers and benchtop bioreactor customers.

All unique features and detailed specs we gathered in one easy overview for you. Check it out.

Smart flow controller configuration tool Bronkhorst FlowSuite
With the online tool Bronkhorst FlowSuite, the flow controller can be configured
Gas flow controllers for lab analyzers and analytical market
Analytical equipment

Which applications can benefit from the FLEXI-FLOW?

1. Analytical equipment

Gas mass flow controllers are the key components in many analytical techniques, like mass spectrometry, chromatography, atomic spectroscopy and combustion analysis. In these applications flow controllers are used for feeding gases to a collision cell as part of an ICP-MS (inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry) setup or for sampling gas control.

We see that a stable gas flow control is most important here, besides a small footprint and compatibility with used gases. Check out the application note to learn more about the use of mass flow controllers in this application.”

2. Benchtop bioreactor applications

“In (benchtop) bioreactors gas flow controllers are used in the process to supply gases for growing bacteria, yeast or cells before the biological synthesis can take place. The role of flow controllers is seen in adding gases continuously over a period of a few days to several weeks. We learned that a wide dynamic range of the flow controller is desirable here, allowing the bioreactor manufacturer for easy change of flow range and switching between gas types with only one instrument. This way, the manufacturer can benefit from model reduction, resulting in less stock inventory.

Read our application note to learn more about the role of this gas flow controller in benchtop bioreactor applications.

Flow controllers for benchtop bioreactor and bioprocessing
(Benchtop) bioreactor application

3. Vacuum deposition by reactive sputtering applications

“Reactive sputtering is a vacuum deposition technique and is used for applying coatings for anti-reflection, hardening, anti-wear, anti-corrosion, etc. Mass flow controllers play a key role in this process for the supply of gases.

We discovered that ‘fast response’ is an important feature of flow controllers in this deposition technique. The new gas flow controller is equipped with a sensor which can react very fast on setpoint changes (within 150 milliseconds). We learned that reactive sputtering applications can benefit from the large dynamic flow range, which makes it possible to control gas flows from 0,5 mln/min up to 20 ln/min. Check out the application note to learn more about the flow instruments suitable for this application.”

4. Fuel cell applications

A fourth application which can benefit from this new flow controller can be found in the energy market; fuel cell testing and development applications. Development and research fuel cells depend on many fluidic parameters during testing. Read more about this in our blog ‘Fuel cell development & testing by mass flow control’.

Flow controller for fuel cell, renewable energy

Are you interested to learn more about this revolutionary gas flow controller?

All unique features and detailed specs we gathered in one easy overview for you. Check it out

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