Friday, June 23, 2017

Flow and Pressure Instrument Product Guide for Biopharmaceutical and Life Science Applications

Producing biopharmaceuticals is one of the world’s most demanding manufacturing processes. Brooks Instrument’s mass flow and pressure control technology helps maximize cell culture yields and control bioprocess costs.

Brooks flow and pressure controllers set global standards for reliability, repeatability and long-term stability.

Efficient and long-lasting process control

Bioreactors need accurate, stable gas control to maintain critical process parameters, combined with maximum uptime to reach target yields. Brooks Instrument mass  ow controllers (MFCs) are engineered to deliver both, with superior long-term drift stability and the best mean-time- between-failures (MTBF) in the industry.

Ensuring accurate results

Accurate control is essential to bioreactor reliability and ef cient operation. Brooks Instrument MFCs deliver the absolute best actual process gas measurement and control accuracy. This starts with a superior design that delivers industry-leading device linearity, repeatability and reproducibility. Then we calibrate our devices on systems traceable to international standards, as well as calibrating on multiple gases (including CO2) to ensure you get the best possible accuracy.

To see the entire Brooks Instrument Biopharmaceutical and Life Science Product Guide click on this link of read below.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

9 Pin Vacuum Feedthrough

Nine pin circular feedthroughs (often called instrumentation feedthroughs) are commonly used for the transmission of low power electrical signals. They are designed for applications where typical Subminiature Type-D connections will not fit, or where there is little space. The circular geometry allows the installation of this feedthrough into very small vacuum flanges. They are often used in instrumentation applications such as semiconductor processing, electron microscopy, and a variety of analyzers.

Nine Berrylium-Copper alloy contacts, Gold plated per ASTM B488-01, are sealed and electrically insulated in a 304 stainless steel shell using the latest in ceramic bonding technology. Multiple contact configurations are available.

  • Leak Rate: 2X10 - 10  CC/Sec HE At One Atmosphere
  • Laser Welded Assembly
  • Hermetic Ceramic Seal for Contacts
  • Temperature Rating: -65°C To 300°C
  • Voltage: 750 AC RMS
  • Current: 7 Amps
  • Compact, Fits Easily into Complex Assemblies
  • Adapts to Different Signals
  • Mating UHV Connectors and Cables Available
For more information, visit

Monday, June 12, 2017

Rapid Infrared Heating Reduces Energy Use, Improves Material Properties in Aluminum Forging

Batch-type infrared (IR) furnace
Batch-type infrared (IR) furnace.

The preheating of metal billets prior to hot forging as an opportunity for significant energy savings in the U.S. forging industry. Aluminum billet preheating is traditionally slow, costly, and energy intensive. Rapid infrared heating offers a faster, cheaper, and less-energy-intensive alternative to the gas-fired convection ovens that traditionally preheat forgings to above 800°F.

In a Department of Energy sponsored project, a scaled up a laboratory based, batch-type infrared (IR) furnace (see image) to create an optimized, hybrid, continuous IR furnace for industrial forging.
Demonstration of this IR furnace reduced preheating times for aluminum forgings from 1-6 hours to 14-18 minutes. The infrared pretreatment was 75% more energy efficient than conventional ovens, and the system proved robust under industrial conditions. The IR furnace demonstrated a downtime of less than 5% over three years of use in preheating billets. 

For any questions or applications about industrial electric heating visit or call (510) 274-1990.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Custom Electric Heating Elements

BCE designs and manufactures custom engineered heating solutions for analytical instrumentation, semiconductor, photovoltaic (solar), medical equipment, plastics processing, foodservice equipment, packaging, aerospace and many other industries.

Visit or call (510) 274-1990.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Variable Area Flowmeters (aka Rotameters) - How They Work

variable area flowmeter
Variable area flowmeter
(courtesy of Brooks Instrument)
A rotameter is one particular type of variable area flowmeter that measures flow by varying the cross-
sectional area a fluid or gas travels through in a closed tube.

  • Requires no external power. 
  • Is a simple device that can be easily manufactured out of inexpensive materials. 
  • Linear scale. 
  • The clear glass tube is resistant to thermal shock and chemical reaction. 
  • Must be mounted vertically, with designated top and bottom, and with the fluid flowing from bottom to top. 
  • Graduations on a given rotameter are only accurate for a given substance at a given temperature. Separate rotameters must be used for fluids with different densities and viscosities, or multiple scales on the same rotameter must be used. 
  • Resolution is relatively poor and gets worse near the bottom of the scale. 
  • Oscillations of the float and parallax lend to reduced accuracy. 
  • Difficult to automate - primarily a manual / visual device.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Need a Custom Design Electric Heating Element? Call Your Local Heating Element Sales Rep

Your Local Heating Element Sales Rep is Your Friend
Your local heating element sales rep is your asset.
Many design engineers at original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) may overlook a huge asset when designing a new piece of equipment requiring an electric heater. The local heating element sales representative.

Custom heating element design is best completed and accomplished through the proper application of the right resources. The local heating element sales engineer is an access point to high level technical knowledge and assistance that can be easily tapped and brought to bear on your successful task or project completion.

Local heater and control distributors and representatives provide services that will help you save time and money, with a greater chance of achieving a better outcome for the entire project. 

Consider these points regarding what the heating element sale rep brings to your project:
Custom heating element design
Example of custom heating element
(ceramic airflow heater)
  • Product Knowledge: The heating element sales rep will be current on product offerings, proper application, and capabilities. They also have information regarding what products may be obsolete in the near future. This is an information source at a level not generally accessible to the public via the Internet. 
  • Application Experience: As a project engineer, you may be treading on fresh ground regarding some aspects of your current assignment. There can be real benefit in connecting to a source who has decades of designing electrical heating elements. 
  • Access: Through a heating element sales rep, you may be able to establish a connection to “behind the scenes” manufacturer contacts who will champion your project internally. The rep knows people, makes it his/her business to know the people that can provide answers, and can act as your projects ambassador with the manufacturer.
Certainly, any solutions proposed are likely to be based upon the products sold by the representative. That is where considering and evaluating the benefits of any proposed solutions become part of achieving the best project outcome.

Develop a professional, mutually beneficial relationship with a heating element sales rep. Their success is tied to your success and they are eager to help you.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Swaged vs. Standard Cartridge Heater Design and Heater Life

Cartridge heaters provide localized heat to restricted work areas requiring close thermal control. Dies, platens and a variety of other types of processing equipment are efficiently heated. Closely controlled work temperatures up to 1400° F (760° C) are obtained by a combination of heater location and proper wattage output.

Heater Life

Cartridge heater life is determined by how efficiently the heat generated in the resistance wire can be conducted away from the wire and into the part being heated.  The efficiency of heat transfer is generally controlled by three factors:
  1. Resistance wire watt density
  2. Density of insulating material around the wire
  3. Fit of the heater into the heated part
There are two basic designs of cartridge heaters - swaged and standard. Although both type heaters look identical, the internal construction is very different.

Standard Cartridge Heater Design

Standard Cartridge Heater Design
Standard Cartridge Heater Design
Nichrome wire heating coils are inserted in holes formed in ceramic tubes. Pure magnesium oxide filler is vibrated into the holes housing the heating coils to allow maximum heat transfer to the stainless steel sheath. The heater then has a Heliarc welded end cap inserted on the bottom of the heater and insulated leads are installed. The MGO powder is not compacted and heat transfer is a function of the grain-to-grain thermal conductivity to the heater sheath, and then into the heated part. Because of this, the heater wire watt densities must be kept in the low to medium range.

Swaged Cartridge Heater Design
Swaged Cartridge Heater Design

Swaged Cartridge Heater Design

Swaged cartridge heaters wind Nichrome wire around a precision ceramic core and the carefully position the resistance wire and ceramic core uniformly inside the the heater sheath. Pure magnesium oxide (MgO) powder is then vibrated in and the heater is swaged to a specific diameter. Swaging is a process that mechanically forces the heater through a confining die to reduce its diameter and thus compact the powdered MgO to rock-like consistency for greater thermal conductivity. This compressed MGO transfers the heat from the resistance wire much more efficiently. The improved heat transfer allows for higher wire watt densities allowing swaged cartridge heaters to operate at higher temperatures.

Cartridge Heater Fit

The most common cause of cartridge heater failure is an improper fit in the hole into which it is inserted. If the heater is surrounded by air, an excellent thermal insulator, it cannot dissipate it's heat into the part with optimum efficiency. The result is much higher temperatures on the Nichrome wire and failure.  The goal to longer life with cartridge heaters is to accommodate the tightest fit practical for a given application.

In summary, if you want the longest life cartridge heater, choose a swaged heater and make sure you provide a machined, close tolerance fit between the outside diameter of the heater and the inside diameter of the hole.