I caught a presentation about the use of the DeltaV automation system on laboratory based bioreactor (1-20 liter) control systems with the purpose to scale the production to commercially-sized bioreactors (20,000+ liters). The bioreactors are “glorified mayonnaise jars.”
A typical experiment may include hundreds of run with dozens of variables to consider. Typical measurements are pressure, temperature, agitation speed, pH, and dissolved oxygen.
The goal was to create an industrial process development lab automated for higher throughput, improved repeatability, and optimized workflows. It was important to improve technical transfer and production scale-up readiness.
Automation is not something within the normal realm of biochemists in the lab environment. The palettes of tools within the DeltaV system around control and information is something that streamlined the prior workflow. This was especially the case around trending and historical data reporting.
The Broadley-James Bionet bioreactor control system is based on a DeltaV controller. The vessels are instrumented with sensors and actuators communicating via Foundation Fieldbus and DeviceNet digital communications technology.
The ability to push control configuration to multiple bioreactors and multiple sites is something that was just not possible before and allowed more experiments and much greater data collection and analysis capability.