iControl: Scalable Control for Industrial Processes

i-control-webi-Control is an easy to operate bioreactor control system and utility console. This scalable control solution is used to control processes in bioreactor systems from laboratory scale to pilot plant and production scale. The seamless scale-ability saves time and money by offering a simpe scale-up of
control strategy from research via pilot-plant to production. The i-Control is available in a Single, a Dual bioreactor set-up as well as in a Quad (4 bioreactors) configuration. The system is supplied pre-configured and ready to use.



The modular architecture allows the system to be usedwith a wide range of industry standard control platforms (like Siemens and Allen Bradley). i-Control offers the solution for bioreactor control using industry standard hardware. The intelligent design of the software allows the system to be customized to virtually any bioreactor process without the need of re-programming the software. 

The i-Control uses industry standard control platforms as Siemens and Allen Bradley and the system can be used with DeltaV as well. The control system comes in a lab version and a pilot/production version. The lab version controls up to 4 small scale autoclavable bioreactors (quad i-Control) and up
to 2 small Steam-In-Place bioreactor systems (dual i-Control). The pilot/production version controls one bioreactor system and has the capability to control a Clean In Place (CIP) system for this bioreactor.


The advantage of the i-Control is that it brings the robust control that is usually only available in production to the laboratory. This enables easy recipe transfer between the lab, the pilot plant and production. Data from laboratory experiments is readily available for production since the control system
easily integrates into the plant automation software. 


The smart design of the software allows the system to be easily expanded without the need for a PLC programmer on site. The i-Control software contains numerous preprogrammed control loops that can be activated by the user once the appropriate hardware has been installed in the system. This
offers easy expansion of the system and makes it very easy to add for, example, a pressure controlloop, a second pH or oxygen sensor or an additional balance based control loop for gravimetric feed.


icontrol-with-bioreactor-webHardware Features

  • PLC for process control
  • Touch screen human interface for operation and visualization
  • I/O system is an industry standard fieldbus system allowing easy maintenance and expansion
  • Measured and controlled parameters include:
    • pH (2 per bioreactor),
    • DO2 (2 per bioreactor),
    • Temperature (up to 10 sensors per bioreactor),
    • Level,
    • Foam,
    • Pressure,
    • Load cells for bioreactor weight,
    • Balances for additions (up to 6 per bioreactor),
    • Agitation,
    • Biomass,
    • Optical Density,
  • MFC’s (up to 8 per bioreactor),
  • Internal variable speed and fixed speed pumps (up to 8 per bioreactor),
  • External variable speed and fixed speed pumps(up to 8 per bioreactor),
  • and many others.

System Architecture

  • Local Human Interface
    • 12-17" LCT/TFT
  • Gas Compartment
    • max. 8 rotameter or MFC
    • gas mixing/selection
    • overlay/sparger
    • internal I/O bus
  • Electrical Compartment
    • internal I/O bus
    • optional third-party PLC
    • sensor connectors
    • stirrer speed controller
    • emergency stop
  • Utilities Compartment
    • max 4 pumps
    • water bath or
    • cold-water/heating blanket
    • heating blanket
    • water for condenser


icontrol-synoptic-webSoftware features

The i-Control offers advanced control features:

  • cascade DO2 with pressure, agitation and gas flow,
  • total constant flow,
  • up to 4 user definable control loops,
  • balance addition control loops based on flow setpoint,
  • balance addition control loops based on constant weight.

Furthermore the i-Control software offers fully automated and customizable SIP and CIP routines with an option of up to 10 temperature sensors in the bioreactor for continuous temperature mapping during SIP and CIP.


Communication with supervisory software uses OPC via the integrated Ethernet port. OPC (OLE for Process Control) compliant communication eases integration into third party software. Benefits of OPC are: Time Reduction through lower system integration costs, ease of integration with plug-and-play connectivity. i-Control has local data storage for viewing trends of measured and controlled parameters.

Industry standards

The modular software design according to the ISA S88 standards eases validation, improves consistency across processes and plants making operation and system integration simple. The i-Control software is developed and documented according to GAMP guidelines. The comprehensive IQ (Installation Qualification), OQ (Operation Qualification) and GAMP development documentation guarantees easy cGMP validation. The validation documentation is available as an option. The i-Control can be used in a 21CFR part11 compliant environment.

Future Proof

icontrol-custom-webRe-instrumentation options for i-Control

The modular design of the i-Control software and hardware makes it an ideal solution for retrofitting existing bioreactor systems. Updating the control system of an existing installation is a cost effective way for extending the life of your old bioreactor. The controller retrofit can be combined with a complete system check-up by the experienced and well trained Applikon service team. This retrofit and check-up can be done for Applikon or for other brand bioreactors.

Spareparts and service

The i-Control uses industry standard components. For spare parts you have a choice of (local) suppliers. Of course Applikon is more than happy to supply you with first class after sales service and spare parts. You can also source components from your local supplier. This makes you independent of one specific supplier and guarantees maximum functionality of your i-Control system by minimizing down time. Applikon has an extensive preventive and corrective maintenance program. Contact your local representative for details.

Request more inofrmation on iControl



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