The i-ControlXL has been specifically designed for the bio-process industry offering scientists and engineers the benefits of an intuitive touch screen interface; options for bioreactors, pumps and sensors and the ability to control autoclavable vessels, single-use bioreactors and disposable reactors. "It's a generic fermenter controller that is designed to control not only the Applikon range of fermenters but also anybody else's fermenters on the market, such as the disposable HyClone controller that is a great bioreactor but doesn't have a controller," said Sharon Brownlow of Applikon Biotechnology. "The i-ControlXL is a PLC (programmable logic controller) based system rather than a proprietary controller that is based on field bus technology so any supplier can provide the modules used in the control system," Brownlow continued. This allows pharmaceutical manufacturers to measure unusual parameters with sensors from any manufacturer rather than being tied in to those sensors offered by the bioreactor manufacturer. The controller communicates with any third party equipment by an OPC communications standard (OLE for process control) According to Brownlow, PLC's are often used to control entire pharmaceutical manufacturing plants from the buffer inputs to the formulation and the bottling of the finalised drugs. However, the bioreactor PLCs are often locked to controllers made by Siemens, Allen Bradley or Delta V making upgrading systems difficult, with the i-Control system "It can be used to control anything from a 500ml bioreactor right up to bioreactors that are thousands of litres in size," said Brownlow. This has obvious advantages for process scale up where it can be very difficult to scale up process controls from a proprietary lab scale reactor to an industrial scale reactor that uses different sensors and control parameters.