PLCs and HMI control innovative bioreactors

I4Innovation uses four Mitsubishi Electric Alpha PLCs and a GT15 HMI in the bioreactors that it manufactures for growing cell cultures.

Today's entry-level PLCs (programmable logic controllers) possess remarkable processing power, and this is being harnessed by a self-taught control engineer who is using them to manage the growth of cell cultures in bioreactors.

Lee Pettitt of I4Innovation in Thetford has married four Mitsubishi Electric Alpha controllers with the powerful GT15 HMI (human machine interface) from the same company to monitor and adjust pumps, impellers, inlet and outlet valves and multiple sensors in the reactors. In a parallel process, the control system also manages the production of nitrogen and oxygen from the atmosphere for use in the reactor.

He gives some background: "Cell cultures are vital in many fields of modern medicine, from pharmaceuticals to skin grafts and organ transplants, dialysis and high-intensity neonatal procedures. There are four basic types of culture: insect, mammalian, yeast and E.Coli, each with literally thousands of variations to meet specific needs for individual cases."

Recipes management and digital signatures

Pettitt's system stores precise recipes on the HMI, which is also used for real-time process control and comprehensive data logging and Digital Signature Management to meet the stringent requirements of the FDA's CFR21 part 11 rules.

In use, the various components of the chosen recipe are introduced to the reactor via inlet valves and are circulated through an aqueous media at an optimal rate to promote growth of the culture. Temperature is usually critical and sometimes pressure, dissolved oxygen and pH are too. Usually oxygen, nitrogen or carbon dioxide are introduced at a controlled rate in order to promote growth.

Impellers keep the solution circulating and measurements are taken from several monitoring points to check the conditions are correct for cell growth. Temperature, pressure and exposure to light can also be monitored and adjusted.

Gas production

Beside the reactors a Pressure Swing Absorption system can be activated to separate and compress nitrogen and/or oxygen from the atmosphere for use in cell growth.

Pettit explains: "Most other bioreactors use bottled gases, but this leads to an extra cost, plus a considerable bottle management effort. This gives users of our equipment a distinct advantage, although we still have to use bottles for carbon dioxide."

The bioreactors have 32 inputs and 24 outputs, plus eight analogue outputs, all handled by Mitsubishi Alpha mini controllers. Most people expect to see a far larger rack PLC at the heart of the control system and so are delighted with the simplicity of the hardware. They recognise that it is far less costly to buy, run and maintain, and easier to reconfigure if user requirements change.

Alpha better

Pettitt continues: "I discovered Alphas about six years ago and now hardly ever use anything but. When used to their full capacity they are very powerful, and every succeeding new version is even more powerful. There is a clarity to the way they are programmed and I have converted several older control systems from larger PLCs to Alphas - usually improving performance and certainly never compromising it."

Part of his success is due to the fact that he often uses them in conjunction with a state-of-the-art HMI, as is the case with the bioreactors.

Pettitt says: "HMIs are very versatile and can be a powerful addition to a control system. I work hard to develop user-friendly graphics with them, trying to see the machine operation and process sequence from the operator's point of view, rather than from the control system developer's position. This can require some mental gymnastics on my part, but there are some tricks of the trade - like letting the potential operators tell me what they want, rather than me trying to explain the systems to them."

Housing design

In fact the HMI is often the key selling point for Pettitt and his colleagues. I4Innovation makes the bioreactors housings in-house using a fabrication technique, rather than buying in moulded ones. "We put the HMI in a separate housing, which is pivot-mounted to the main housing so that operators can adjust the viewing angle. Its a little point, but every potential customer nearly always comment favourably on it."

Like the Alphas, the HMIs get steadily better and Pettitt is currently assessing the new-generation Mitsubishi GT16, which has, amongst other advances, more memory and a high-resolution screen. "We are going to do a video version of the user manual and embed it into the GT16. This will allow bioreactor operators complete autonomy, so in theory anybody will be able to plug them in and teach themselves everything they need to know."

Follow the links for more information about the Mitsubishi Alpha controller and HMIs.

Mitsubishi Electric Europe B.V.

Travellers Lane
Hatfield
AL10 8XB
UNITED KINGDOM

+44 (0)1707 288780

automation@meuk.mee.com

https://gb3a.mitsubishielectric.com

More from Mitsubishi Electric Europe B.V.

Securing OT systems against cyber-attack

Posted 1 week ago

Total Automated Solutions joins network of leading drives and automation special

Posted 1 month ago

Machine success makes printing headlines

Posted 2 months ago

New developer’s kit for machine builders launched

Posted 3 months ago

Unlocking machine performance

Posted 3 months ago

Finding the right angle

Posted 3 months ago

Smart infrastructure solutions - expert insights

Posted 4 months ago

Pressing need for automation

Posted 4 months ago

Hitting the right notes to achieve harmony

Posted 4 months ago

New UK Drive Solutions Centres to be announced

Posted 5 months ago

New extension modules for integrated safety

Posted 5 months ago

Mitsubishi Electric and Stratus Technologies work together to build futureproof

Posted 8 months ago

Modern variable speed drives are much more than just speed and torque control

Posted 8 months ago

G5-5 Harmonic legislation update via webinar

Posted 9 months ago

Productivity boosted by a factor of 8 through automation venture

Posted 10 months ago

Entry-level robots to kick-start new factory automation projects

Posted 11 months ago

New drives are a breeze

Posted 11 months ago

Mitsubishi Electric hosts "Back to production" webinar

Posted 11 months ago

Mitsubishi Electric webinar

Posted 1 year ago

Mitsubishi MELSEC-L series PLC controls plasma treatment system

Posted 1 year ago

Smart condition monitoring systems use PLC and VSD

Posted 1 year ago

MELSEC iQ-F series FX5UC PLC is powerful yet ultra-compact

Posted 1 year ago

CNC or PLC - what is best for Cartesian co-ordinate robots?

Posted 1 year ago

New safety module for Mitsubishi MELSEC iQ-R PLC

Posted 1 year ago

Mitsubishi SCARA robots used for high-speed testing of inhalers

Posted 1 year ago

IIoT and Smart Technology, the challenges and solutions

Posted 1 year ago

How to get safety integrity levels right for automated systems

Posted 1 year ago

See Mitsubishi's smart automation offerings at Drives & Controls

Posted 1 year ago

Mitsubishi Electric launches next-generation LCD display

Posted 1 year ago

Should I choose a collaborative or cooperative robot?

Posted 1 year ago

Mitsubishi Electric rewards Controls & Drives Limited

Posted 1 year ago

SafePlus helps turn industrial robots into co-operative robots

Posted 1 year ago

What is the best type of robot controller?

Posted 1 year ago

Mitsubishi launches latest generation of micro-PLC

Posted 1 year ago

Mitsubishi relaunches MAPS SCADA/HMI as a cloud-based app

Posted 1 year ago

Ending unplanned downtime for food and beverage manufacturers

Posted 1 year ago

Guided picking system offered as self-assembly kit

Posted 1 year ago

New I/O modules from Mitsubishi Electric

Posted 1 year ago

Smart manufacturing and automation

Posted 1 year ago

How AI-based predictive maintenance benefits robots

Posted 1 year ago

Mitsubishi introduces cloud-based version of MAPS SCADA

Posted 1 year ago

Mitsubishi event: Explore the future of digitalisation

Posted 1 year ago

Fully automated cake cutting line uses Mitsubishi robot

Posted 1 year ago

Automation innovation in cheesemaking

Posted 1 year ago

Integrate manual assembly cells into ERP and MES systems

Posted 2 years ago

Malting company boosts productivity by upgrading control system

Posted 2 years ago

Mitsubishi robots accelerate discoveries for microbiologists

Posted 2 years ago

Mitsubishi's new 7-inch HMI is designed for extreme environments

Posted 2 years ago

Energy efficiency and cost savings in mines and quarries

Posted 2 years ago

UHD LCD monitors added to 4Diamond Grid pro-display range

Posted 2 years ago

Mitsubishi releases MAPS 4 SCADA software platform

Posted 2 years ago

Preventative and actual maintenance with smart VSDs

Posted 2 years ago

Mitsubishi controls helps Sadler's Ales boost production

Posted 2 years ago

Mitsubishi Electric launches new range of displays

Posted 2 years ago

Mitsubishi automation system boosts Denby Pottery's productivity

Posted 2 years ago

Human-robot collaboration and the use of AI: trends in packaging

Posted 2 years ago

Holistic options for smart manufacturing

Posted 2 years ago

Mitsubishi's "˜solutions for smart production' at SPS IPC Drives

Posted 2 years ago

Next-generation predictive maintenance tools from Mitsubishi

Posted 2 years ago

Continued market growth is testament to the development of PLCs

Posted 2 years ago

Mitsubishi to offer augmented reality for improved maintenance

Posted 2 years ago

How long until we are talking to robots?

Posted 2 years ago

Pro-active maintenance of industrial robots uses AI

Posted 2 years ago

Smart Condition Monitoring for barley malt production

Posted 2 years ago

Mobile robot developed by Mitsubishi Electric and Mirage

Posted 2 years ago

New widescreen GOT2000 HMIs feature built-in sound interface

Posted 2 years ago

Linear transfer system with smart carriage technology

Posted 2 years ago

Thermo-packaging machine achieved using Mitsubishi technologies

Posted 2 years ago

Mitsubishi Electric launches PLC with safety functionality

Posted 2 years ago

Success for Mitsubishi's UK Automation Academy DLTA

Posted 3 years ago

Mitsubishi Electric goes large with video wall in Belarus

Posted 3 years ago

Arriving now"¦ the factories of the future

Posted 3 years ago

Mitsubishi Electric highlights automation at Drives & Controls

Posted 3 years ago

PLC modules: What's on the rack"¦

Posted 3 years ago

Mitsubishi's SCM system wins 2017 Food Processing Award

Posted 3 years ago

Six-axis robot turns 3D printing into an art form

Posted 3 years ago

Optimising packaging machines for ease of integration

Posted 3 years ago

Mitsubishi adds direct view LED to display line-up

Posted 3 years ago

Mitsubishi highlights production increases at PPMA 2017

Posted 3 years ago

New concept in robotics for predictive maintenance

Posted 3 years ago

Mitsubishi show human-orientated machine operation at EMO 2017

Posted 3 years ago

The age of the PLC platform is now

Posted 3 years ago

Alarm management - Finding the needle is IIoT's biggest asset

Posted 3 years ago

Smart Condition Monitoring aims to end equipment downtime

Posted 3 years ago

Robots make sure there isn't a screw loos"¦

Posted 3 years ago

When and where will Industry 4.0 actually happen?

Posted 3 years ago

Mitsubishi Electric focus on processing and packaging at PPMA

Posted 3 years ago

Mitsubishi robot used to automate printer cartridge refills

Posted 4 years ago

Classic luxury yacht refitted using Mitsubishi Electric drives

Posted 4 years ago

Smart manufacturing - the challenges and benefits

Posted 4 years ago

System Integrators are the vanguard of new technology adoption

Posted 4 years ago

The robotic revolution in life sciences

Posted 4 years ago

The immediate future for automation in the food industry

Posted 4 years ago

Single-source supply can reduce costs for machine builders

Posted 4 years ago

New technology for teaching robots and guiding humans

Posted 4 years ago

Are your Variable Speed Drives running at maximum efficiency?

Posted 4 years ago

The future of inverter drives in the water industry

Posted 4 years ago

Mitsubishi Electric's e-F@ctory Alliance is growing

Posted 4 years ago

Connectivity trends in the food industry

Posted 4 years ago

Mitsubishi Electric named on CDP's Water and Climate A Lists

Posted 4 years ago

Using Ethernet alongside a dedicated motion network

Posted 4 years ago

Guided Operator Solutions enhance quality control process

Posted 4 years ago

Guided Operator Solutions improve quality in assembly processes

Posted 4 years ago

The five golden rules of PLC specification

Posted 4 years ago

Mitsubishi variable speed drives save mushroom producer energy

Posted 4 years ago

Mitsubishi Electric supports Scottish manufacturing initiative

Posted 4 years ago

Intelligent condition monitoring keeps paper production running

Posted 4 years ago

"˜Threebots' interactive robot installation receives awards

Posted 4 years ago

New GOT2000 flush-mount HMI from Mitsubishi Electric

Posted 4 years ago

Christoph Zöller: new Divisional Manager for Mitsubishi Electric

Posted 4 years ago

Industrial automation training from Mitsubishi Electric

Posted 5 years ago

New contact image sensor from Mitsubishi Electric

Posted 5 years ago

Mitsubishi to demonstrate iQ Platform at Hanover

Posted 5 years ago

Managing obsolescence and maintaining production machinery

Posted 5 years ago

Visitors to Mitsubishi Electric got closer to robots at D&C 2016

Posted 5 years ago

Take time to get the latest on Robotics at Drives & Controls

Posted 5 years ago

Mitsubishi Electric integrates own Factory Automation products

Posted 5 years ago

Mitsubishi Electric-powered Delta robots from Codian Robotics

Posted 5 years ago

New compact high-end HMI acts as automation system gateway

Posted 5 years ago

Mitsubishi Electric to 'go large' at Drives & Controls Show 2016

Posted 5 years ago

Mitsubishi Electric awarded new Framework Agreement

Posted 5 years ago

Robot keeps Newtech at the cutting edge of cake slicing

Posted 5 years ago

Automation equipment service support keeps dairy running

Posted 5 years ago

Waterworks modernisation supports regional economic regeneration

Posted 5 years ago

Intelligent inverters set new standard for energy efficiency

Posted 5 years ago

Energy efficiency - it's a journey, not a destination

Posted 5 years ago

White paper asks: what is the true cost of automation downtime?

Posted 5 years ago

Honda's Yorii plant adopts CC-Link IE Field Network

Posted 5 years ago

Simple and robust distributed control system for smaller plants

Posted 5 years ago

How to get the most from waste to energy and renewable resources

Posted 5 years ago

25 things you may not know about drives

Posted 5 years ago

Robots in food processing are on the march

Posted 6 years ago

Industry 4.0 in the Food and Beverage industry

Posted 6 years ago

Market leaders cooperate to match their drives and motors

Posted 6 years ago

Cyber-security: a journey, not a destination

Posted 6 years ago

Event success promises UK manufacturing has strong future

Posted 6 years ago

iQ-R series next-generation PAC is ready for Industry 4.0

Posted 6 years ago

Mitsubishi launches FX5U next-generation compact PLC

Posted 6 years ago

Mitsubishi adds second day to Future Manufacturing Event

Posted 6 years ago

Free admission to the "˜Future Manufacturing Event', Sheffield

Posted 6 years ago

Robots helping food processors future proof their plants

Posted 6 years ago

M2M communications bring sophistication to the water industry

Posted 6 years ago

Automation and data transparency in the bakery

Posted 6 years ago

Mitsubishi Electric demonstrates expertise in energy from waste

Posted 6 years ago

Coordinated syringe handling by Mitsubishi Electric robots

Posted 6 years ago

Mitsubishi Electric PLC controls flagship water treatment works

Posted 6 years ago

Mitsubishi MELSEC L series PLCs provide control heart of AGVs

Posted 6 years ago

FR-E700 series frequency inverter improves ice cream production

Posted 6 years ago

Packaging innovation with Mitsubishi's motion control technology

Posted 7 years ago

Mitsubishi's M2M system opens up new world of communications

Posted 7 years ago

Mitsubishi Electric's iQ platform runs powerful industrial laser

Posted 7 years ago

Mitsubishi FR-A800 drives boost performance and reliability

Posted 7 years ago

Next-generation HMIs with multi-touch and improved performance

Posted 7 years ago

Mitsubishi robot emulates intuitive human cake-icing movements

Posted 7 years ago

UK OEMs deserve full support says Mitsubishi Electric

Posted 7 years ago

Energy Saver Demo highlights huge opportunity for industry

Posted 7 years ago

Mitsubishi Electric leads trend in motion and servo technology

Posted 7 years ago

Robot population boom to continue says Mitsubishi Electric

Posted 7 years ago

Mitsubishi Electric's new FX3S creates a new PLC category

Posted 7 years ago

Robot has vision to win Food Processing Award

Posted 7 years ago

Injection moulders keep quality consistent in end products

Posted 7 years ago

Mitsubishi Electric causes a stir in white sauce production

Posted 7 years ago

Keep on running with a Mitsubishi Electric service contract

Posted 7 years ago

Award recognises Mitsubishi Electric MR-J4 servo

Posted 7 years ago

Mitsubishi Electric's new FX3GE offers designers more choice

Posted 7 years ago

Engineering academy upgrades with Mitsubishi Electric equipment

Posted 7 years ago

Mitsubishi Electric robot used to develop next-generation robots

Posted 7 years ago

Machine Builder conference: strategies for Asian markets

Posted 7 years ago

New MELSERVO MR-J4 series servo amplifiers and motors

Posted 7 years ago

Maximum safety combined with optimised productivity

Posted 7 years ago

Mitsubishi Electric's rapid response saves the day

Posted 7 years ago

Mitsubishi software certified compliant with PLCopen standard

Posted 8 years ago

Advanced automation technologies in food manufacturing

Posted 8 years ago

Mitsubishi and Raima create secure data-handling process

Posted 8 years ago

New EMEA Marketing Director at Mitsubishi Electric

Posted 8 years ago

Mitsubishi Electric brings automation to baking technology

Posted 8 years ago

Upgraded MELFA F-Series robots are now food safe

Posted 8 years ago

Plastic recycler goes greener by swapping to AC drives

Posted 8 years ago

Mitsubishi Electric Robot picks stem cells

Posted 8 years ago

Food industry growing to new levels of automation

Posted 8 years ago

Mitsubishi Electric technology helps train future engineers

Posted 8 years ago

Mitsubishi Electric improves PLC-based data logging

Posted 8 years ago

HMIs give transparent link between automation components and PCs

Posted 8 years ago

HMI backup/restore function enables fast PLC changeover

Posted 8 years ago

UK Machine Builder Conferences - a review

Posted 8 years ago

Enhanced inverter for pump and water applications

Posted 8 years ago

Free UK Machine Builder Conferences

Posted 8 years ago

Crane drive for near continuous long-term operation

Posted 8 years ago

Integrated Mitsubishi Electric SCADA drives major energy savings

Posted 8 years ago

Smart conveyor lines up quiches for precision baking

Posted 8 years ago

F Series SCARA Robots sets new performance benchmarks

Posted 8 years ago

Mitsubishi Electric's data communications system wins award

Posted 8 years ago

Visual Components join Mitsubishi e-F@ctory Alliance

Posted 9 years ago

Versatile I/O works with all major fieldbus protocols

Posted 9 years ago

MELSEC L Series PLC is compact, powerful and expandable

Posted 9 years ago

New iQ Works tool improves automation system design

Posted 9 years ago

Machine builder uses single-axis controller on flying shear

Posted 9 years ago

Seminar discusses increasing UK adoption of industrial robots

Posted 9 years ago

PLC module connects automation to higher-level business systems

Posted 9 years ago

Amaechi Oduah joins Mitsubishi Electric Automation Systems

Posted 9 years ago

Eight-head filling machine uses single PLC control configuration

Posted 9 years ago

Solving safety problems enables automation of crumb production

Posted 9 years ago

How robots can reduce costs and enhance production flexibility

Posted 10 years ago

Regenerative inverter drives - applications and how they work

Posted 10 years ago

MELFA RV-2SDB six-axis robot is faster and more compact

Posted 11 years ago

Featured photo

Posted 11 years ago

More free workshops for Managing Risk and Performance

Posted 11 years ago

Getting the most out of micro controllers

Posted 11 years ago

Managing Risk and Performance - free workshops

Posted 11 years ago

Mitsubishi launches FX3G compact PLC

Posted 12 years ago

Mitsubishi takes novel approach to machinery safety

Posted 12 years ago

Q series MES offers simpler alternative to SCADA

Posted 12 years ago

130 Mitsubishi controllers run Hamburg metro system

Posted 12 years ago

Mitsubishi helps Eurostar trains run safely under London

Posted 12 years ago

Mitsubishi launches improved FX3U PLC motion module

Posted 12 years ago

New website dedicated to SSCNET

Posted 12 years ago

Find out more about Mitsubishi's iQ Automation Platform

Posted 12 years ago

Mitsubishi D700 inverters replace S500 & E500 series

Posted 12 years ago

Giant speed-controlled fans help to cut heating bills

Posted 12 years ago

Mitsubishi automation brings Denby into the 21st century

Posted 12 years ago

Mitsubishi iQ PAC platform gains robot controller

Posted 12 years ago

Automated bagging machine uses Mitsubishi throughout

Posted 13 years ago

Mitsubishi opens Livingston automation facility

Posted 13 years ago

New drives installed inside oil-cooled drive casings

Posted 13 years ago

Mitsubishi opens automation facility in Scotland

Posted 13 years ago

PLCs, HMIs and drives deliver flexibility and transparency

Posted 13 years ago

How the EU can lead the way on climate change

Posted 13 years ago

Free seminars to discuss manufacturing technologies

Posted 13 years ago

Download EPLAN CAD files from Mitsubishi website

Posted 13 years ago

Mitsubishi becomes Technology Partner at AMRC with Boeing

Posted 13 years ago

Climate change: take action now or wait for disaster

Posted 13 years ago

BPX acquires Prolocon Systems Ltd of Hatfield

Posted 13 years ago

50-page catalogue describes latest Mitsubishi robots

Posted 13 years ago

Download the Mitsubishi UK training prospectus

Posted 13 years ago

The future of AC industrial drives

Posted 14 years ago

New module for iQ automation controller cuts cost of MES

Posted 14 years ago

Mitsubishi strengthens pan-European capabilities

Posted 14 years ago

The benefits of web-enabled industrial control systems

Posted 14 years ago

Alpha microcontrollers control air conditioning units

Posted 14 years ago

Mitsubishi robots protect workers from RSI

Posted 14 years ago

Extensive range of automation products

Posted 14 years ago

Mitsubishi launches six new E1000 mid-range HMIs

Posted 14 years ago

Mitsubishi FX3U compact PLC keeps F1 team cool

Posted 14 years ago

Redundant controls benefit food and drink production

Posted 14 years ago

VSDs, PLCs and HMIs save £120,000 of energy per year

Posted 14 years ago

Dust- and splash-proofed FR-FR700 series drives

Posted 14 years ago

Super AE-SW air circuit breakers are more compact

Posted 14 years ago

Freestanding cubicle drives save space

Posted 14 years ago

High-availability, redundant controller for critical systems

Posted 14 years ago

PLC controls dancing sculpture at Yorkshire Dance Studio, Leeds

Posted 14 years ago

University of Plymouth receives four Mitsubishi robots

Posted 14 years ago

PLC gains add-on 'C-controller' PC module

Posted 14 years ago

Mitsubishi delivers 1000 robots to German colleges

Posted 14 years ago

Screen printing machines benefit from motion control system

Posted 14 years ago

UTU Power Electronics selects FR-F700 power-saving inverters

Posted 14 years ago

Dedicated modems for compact PLCs and micro controllers

Posted 14 years ago

Servos give twice the performance for 30 per cent less cost

Posted 14 years ago

Software management tool designed for automation projects

Posted 14 years ago

Laser cell uses latest positioning technology

Posted 14 years ago

Articulated-arm robots offer longer service life

Posted 14 years ago

Mitsubishi announces Automation Service Centre for Scotland

Posted 14 years ago

More applications