Non-invasive fluid monitoring sensors for the use in the biopharmaceutical industry – Now with integrated MODBus interface

The biotech industry is characterised by rapid growth and a yet steady innovation process, not even to say innovative pressure. Today, this industry sector tends to openly discuss flexibility in R&D & production in terms of a single use approach, challenges of production scale-up, continuous processing and automation. However, these buzzwords are strongly phrased under aspects such as to secure safe and stable processes, consequent traceability, constant data management and increasing quality demands. Considering the required profiles, suppliers are faced with ever rising quality expectations: Innovative, flexible and cost-efficient solutions are developed to support the industries’ ambitious future plans.


Production process trends in the biopharmaceutical industry

The heart of any biotech production plant is the bioreactor or fermenter. The bioreactor, indeed, is a cohesive system in which enzymes are processed by microorganisms. Standard reactors are equipped with a mixer and with gassing, as well as sterile feeding lines and sampling valves. Procedural aspects make continuous processing, on which the reactor is constantly fed with source materials and subtracted with reaction mixtures, the preferred standard over classic batch processing. Achieving a steady state between flow rate and growth-speed of the microorganisms is an important parameter with continuous processing. With the aim of a flexible production and to minimize contamination risks, single-use-technologies (SUT) are predicted to reach a great future in the biotechnology industry, whereas those disposable systems are also considered critically, especially under cost- and sustainability aspects. 


Non-Invasive ultrasonic sensors from SONOTEC – the sustainable and cost-efficient all-round solution to measure flow rates in Single-Use-Technologies

To measure flow rates in flexible tubes accurately and non-invasively is an important aspect in biotech processing. Actually, products of the SONOFLOW CO.55 range are successfully implemented both, in upstream bio processing (e.g. fermentation or processing substrate solutions to bio-reaction), and downstream bio processing (e.g. extraction of products from fermentation solutions or purification of final products). Besides well-accepted and known product features of the SONOFLOW CO.55 sensors series such as accurate, contactless, fast and instantaneous measuring, flexibility in tube sizes and -materials as well as the sensors’ repeatable use, SONOTEC has recently implemented the serial MODBus communication protocol RS-485. This guarantees an easy integration into existing data infrastructure and to process data within the network. The BUS system can operate up to twelve SONOFLOW-sensors parallel and offers continuous data reporting wherever and whenever needed.


SONOFLOW CO.55 sensors feature the following interfaces:

  • Current output for flow rate: 0/4 - 20 mA
  • Frequency output for flow rate: 0 - 20 kHz, 5 V digital
  • RS485 bus-capable/ Modbus protocol
  • Switching output: configurable as PNP / NPN / Push-Pull, 0 - 30 V
  • Digital input