The University of Nottingham, a long-standing customer of UK flowmeter specialist Litre Meter, has ordered further Smart-Trak high-performance digital mass flow controllers to measure the flow of gases used in biomolecular research.
The latest order forms part of a supply relationship between Litre Meter and the Centre for Biomolecular Sciences at the University of Nottingham (CBS) dating back more than 20 years. During that time Litre Meter has supplied various flowmeters for a number of research applications and undertaken calibration services as required.
Litre Meter has most recently supplied a range of Smart-Trak™ 100 Series instruments designed to measure flow ranges from 0-10 standard cubic centimetres per minute (sccm) up to 0-500 sccm. The meters are highly stable and deliver a measurement accuracy of +/- 1 per cent full scale. Larger sizes are available to 1,000 slpm (standard litres per minute).
The CBS is a multidisciplinary research centre housing more than 300 researchers investigating key themes in the basic and applied biosciences. Research areas at the centre include stem cell biology, tissue engineering, medicinal chemistry, organic and biological chemistry and molecular and cellular bacteriology.
Litre Meter CEO Charles Wemyss said: “The sheer range of research that is carried out at the CBS and the fact that its researchers in various groups select Sierra Smart-Trak flow controllers for their work is a testament to the versatility and reliability of the 100 series. “It is also recognition of the responsive service and support Litre Meter is able to provide.”
Smart-Trak incorporates Sierra’s state-of-the-art Dial-A-Gas®. Its internal microprocessor is pre-programmed with ten gases that are commonly used in biotech, pharmaceutical, analytical and research applications – others gases can be substituted to customise the flowmeter for specific applications. This technology allows the instrument to be used for multiple applications, creating great flexibility as well as helping to reduce spares inventory.
Smart-Trak mass flow controllers are constructed in 316 stainless steel. The instruments feature a fast-response control valve, primary standard calibration and National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) traceability. They also have a pilot module which replaces expensive control and readout electronics, available mounted to the face of the instrument or in a convenient hand-held version. It enables a range of control functions including gas type, setpoint value and source, engineering units, output signal and valve state – open, closed or automatic.
These control functions are also available from a PC via RS-232. Source code for RS-232 communication is provided but it has optional multi-drop RS-485/MODBUS RTU capability using Sierra’s Compod™.
The Compod™ enables simple gas processes like gas mixing and blending, batch control, leak testing and process monitoring at a fraction of the cost of complex programmed logic controllers (PLCs). A Compod™, coupled with Sierra’s Smart-Trak® mass flowmeters and controllers, simplifies basic flow control installations and permits networking of multiple instruments using open source MODBUS RTU protocol. Two digital outputs and one analogue input can be configured by the end user for a wide variety of process controls. Unlike dedicated PLCs, a Compod™ is a small device that mounts locally to the face of the Smart-Trak MFC.
Litre Meter, a leading manufacturer and supplier of custom flowmeters, is the UK distributor for the Sierra Instruments range of flowmeters. As with Litre Meter’s own range of custom flowmeters, Sierra Instruments’ range is designed to operate in some of the harshest conditions on the planet – as well as in laboratories.