Bronkhorst

Smaller flow solutions are the trend

August 16, 2022 Dion Oudejans

In many markets we see a shift towards miniaturization. For instance in laboratories, where working space is getting more and more expensive. But the trend is also visible in the residential market where the ‘tiny house’ movement is emerging. Downsizing and footprint reduction… that’s the trend. All with the same goal; saving costs. 

How does this affect our flow solutions? Small flow meters and compact pressure controllers with minimal dimensions fit the trend of footprint reduction.

small and compact gas flow meter
gas flow controllers for analytical equipment

Why is footprint reduction of flow solutions important?

Having worked in both the Life Sciences and Analytical industries, I am sympathetic to the ever increasing demands for small footprints. It has been a continuing trend for many years that lab real-estate has become more and more expensive, which has led to footprint reduction of flow instruments.

A strong driver behind footprint reduction has been the NeSSi system initiative, which is commercially known as Parker IntraFlow and Swagelok MPC. Bronkhorst’s most compact instruments, the IQ+FLOW series, are inspired on this initiative. With a footprint of 17mm x 17mm for the internal building blocks – like sensors and valves – we managed to keep it even smaller than the universal 1.5" x 1.5" NeSSI layout.

Small flow meter with same functionality & performance

A compact footprint is perfect for reducing working space and therefore costs in a number of applications. Compact desktop equipment for life science, biotechnology, analytical and medical processes, greatly benefit from a small flow meter or compact pressure controller, while maintaining the same functionality of gas flow and pressure control: Same functionality - same performance - smaller package.

IQ+FLOW, small flow meters
IQ+FLOW, small flow meters

Manifold flow solutions for extended functionality

On the other hand, when you are re-designing your system and you have the chance to incorporate new technologies, you can decide to use manifold flow solutions and add more functionality to your system.

Analytical equipment is a good example of a complex flow system that can benefit from manifold flow solutions with extended functionality by adding pressure sensors, flow sensors, valves and more complex flow paths. Same package - same performance - extended functionality.

Manifold flow solutions
Manifold flow solutions

Innovation with MEMS chip technology

The size and function of sensor technology is driven by the physical characteristics of the measurement principle. So, to change the footprint, we had need to look at alternative measurement technologies.

Working in conjunction with the TNO, the Dutch organisation for applied scientific research, we designed a range of ultra compact flow meters and pressure controllers built around MEMS (Micro-Electro-Mechanical Systems) chip technology. This allows us to offer fully functional instruments with a minimum footprint of 20 x 40 mm, which is much less than the footprint of conventional flow meters and pressure control instruments.

Customized Flow Solutions

Flow and pressure sensors, including proportional valves, shut-off valves and filters, are available as compact items, like lego. This gives us the opportunity to cutomise your compact multi-channel flow systems just the way you need them.

How can you benefit from this?

  • Compact assembly ensures space efficiency
  • Top mount and side ported modules, easily accessible
  • No compromise on control functionality
  • Pre-tested ’Plug and Play’ manifold assemblies, reducing customer test requirements
  • Analog or digital communication

If you think that a customized flow solution will meet your needs then let us know and challenge our team.

Contact us

Would you like more information about our small flow meters?

Ask advice IQ+FLOW gas flow meters

Bronkhorst High-Tech B.V.

Nijverheidsstraat 1A
NL-7261 AK Ruurlo (NL)
Tel. +31 573 45 88 00
info@bronkhorst.com

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