Challenged by their outdated gas mixing systems, budgetary constraints and a turbulent economy, a leading US biotech firm, who depends on precision gas mixing and blending to maintain synthetic air environments for research, sought out Sierra to help streamline and improve their processes and cut costs. Sierra engineers identified current system weak points and recommended the new Sierra SmartTrak® 2 with a Compod™ upgrade.
By choosing to move forward with Sierra's new digital mass flow controllers, the biotech company immediately began to benefit from their ability to automate a wide variety of processes and depend on advanced diagnostics that radically expanded their monitoring capabilities.
Unprecedented Blending Intelligence
The flow controllers primary function is to constantly maintain a synthetic air composition of 78% Nitrogen, 21% Oxygen and 1% Argon. Sierra recommended a user friendly Human/Machine Interface (HMI) with an LCD touch screen to monitor and control the gas mixing system. The HMI communicates with three Compod™ enabled SmartTrak® 2 mass flow controllers and a pressure transducer mounted inside the tank. Each SmartTrak® 2 regulates the mass flow rate of one gas into the tank. The HMI maintains the exact proportion by constantly monitoring each flow controller. When the pressure in the tank reaches the setpoint, the HMI commands the Compod™ to stop the flow controllers. If the ratio of the gases in the synthetic air mixture needs to be modified, they can simply change the recipe using the HMI and the system automatically provides the new mixture.
The need for staff oversight was significantly decreased through a wide variety of new system features. As the gas mixture is used in the facility and the tank pressure drops below the setpoint, the HMI sends a flow command to each flow controller to automatically resume gas flow into the tank. Furthermore, each Compod™ includes a safety program that monitors the gas flow through its attached SmartTrak® 2. When the Nitrogen, Oxygen or Argon gas bottles begin to run out, the Compod™immediately detects the diminishing gas supply and triggers an alarm that shuts down the system and alerts the staff.