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Bronkhorst FLEXI-FLOW Mass Flow Control

Swift & Stable, Proven & Precise Bronkhorst FLEXI-FLOW Compact Low Flow Meter and Controller

In April 2022, Bronkhorst introduced a completely new mass flow controller product line to the world; the Bronkhorst FLEXI-FLOW Compact. We asked product manager Vincent Hengeveld, responsible for Bronkhorst’s gas flow product portfolio, “why this new gas Flow Controller is so revolutionary and how can customers benefit from this device?”

Vincent: “As a product manager, I was part of the development team creating a completely new concept; develop a product featuring ease of use and flexibility through the entire customer journey from product selection to product use. And we succeeded… The result is a new mass flow controller, called FLEXI-FLOW Compact. With this flow instrument, we are not only able to measure and control gas flow and temperature, but also to measure and control the upstream and downstream pressures in your process with one flexible instrument. This is the future in mass flow control…. Mass Flow Control #Redefined.”

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The FLEXI-FLOW Compact is really compact, even compared to our other small size mass flow controllers

Through Chip Sensor Creates a Fast and Stable Flow Meter

“The new concept of measuring mass flow and pressure is based on a technology called TCS, Through Chip Sensor. This new sensor exists of a capillary tube made with MEMS technology and combines the best of two worlds; a fast and stable flow sensor applied in our proven bypass construction for a reliable and highly accurate flow measurement.”

Mass Flow Control and Pressure Measurement in One Instrument

“The most interesting part for our customers is that the instrument is flexible to use, meaning that with this mass flow controller you can both measure and control mass flow and pressure. That’s really unique! Besides that, the instrument is one of the most compact ones in our product portfolio. It allows users to save space in their system and a reduction of weight. This was one of the requests we received from our analytical customers and benchtop bioreactor customers.”

Flow Meter and Pressure Sensor Instrumentation Designed for Analytical Equipment

Gas mass flow controllers are the key components in many analytical techniques, like mass spectrometry, gas chromatography, atomic spectroscopy, and combustion analysis. In these applications flow controllers are used for feeding gases to a collision cell as part of an ICP-MS (inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry) setup or for sampling gas control.

We see that a stable gas flow control is most important here, besides a small footprint and compatibility with used gases.

Flow Control Instrumentation for Gas Chromatography

Using the best flow instrumentation for gas chromatography (GC) is critical for high-quality analysis. Bronkhorst gas flow regulators and meters can provide the accuracy, precision, and repeatability required for accurate analysis. Additionally, these flow instruments are designed in a compact size, which frees up space in the laboratory. And the flexibility and wide flow range allows gas chromatography user to reduce the amount of instrumentation required to perform analyses.

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In addition to providing a stable, precise gas flow rate during the gas chromatography process, Bronkhorst flow meters can be used in the calibration of GCs. Now, it’s easy and affordable for laboratories to generate their own on-demand calibration gas to their exact specification. This can help reduce overall costs, downtime, and helps ensure that the gas being used for calibration is accurate, which is crucial for having an accurately calibrated gas chromatograph.

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Benchtop Bioreactors, Gas Flow Controller

In benchtop bioreactors, gas flow controllers are used in the process to supply gases for growing bacteria, yeast or cells before the biological synthesis can take place. The role of flow controllers is seen in adding gases continuously over a period of a few days to several weeks. We learned that a wide dynamic range of the flow controller is desirable here, allowing the bioreactor manufacturer to easily change flow range and switch between gas types with only one instrument. This way, the manufacturer can benefit from model reduction, resulting in less stock inventory and decreased costs.

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Vacuum Deposition by Reactive Sputtering Applications

Reactive sputtering is a vacuum deposition technique and is used for applying coatings for anti-reflection, hardening, anti-wear, anti-corrosion, etc. Mass flow controllers play a key role in this process for the supply of gases.

We discovered that ‘fast response’ is an important feature of flow controllers in this deposition technique. The new gas flow controller is equipped with a sensor which can react very fast on setpoint changes (within 150 milliseconds). We learned that reactive sputtering applications can benefit from the large dynamic flow range, which makes it possible to control gas flows from 0.5 mln/min up to 20 ln/min.

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Gas Flow Meters for Fuel Cell Testing and Manufacturing

An additional application which can benefit from this new flow controller can be found in the energy market; fuel cell testing and development applications. Development and research fuel cells depend on many fluidic parameters during testing. In addition to testing fuel cells, flow instrumentation is used to precisely humidify fuel cells, which allows a maximized efficiency.

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