20 years of innovation in biomass monitoring and control
Aber Instruments has recently celebrated 20 years of success. Throughout this period the company has been responsible for setting the benchmark in innovation with the development and commercial application of the radio frequency impedance method for measuring live biomass.
This is our story of innovation…
1988 - Aber Instruments was originally formed when Professor Douglas Kell (now the Chief Executive of BBSRC) and Dr Robert Todd published patents on using radio frequency (RF) impedance methods for measuring LIVE biomass.
1989 - In the following year, the first on-line Biomass Monitor (Model 214M) for biotechnology applications was introduced.
1991 - The positive response from large breweries, wanting to “buy” into the unique Aber technology led the development of Yeast Monitor 316B for the brewery sector (later replaced by the Model 320+)
1994 - The Multiplexer established to allow biomass measurement in multiple fermenters from a single controller
1997 - Introduction of The Viable Cell Monitor 520 dedicated to animal cell culture. This model is still being manufactured and is used in a variety of cGMP production scale facilities
1998 - The Lab Yeast Analyser for use with grab samples from the yeast storage vessels was launched followed by the Queen's Award for Export Achievement in the same year.
2002 - FDA compliant stainless steel probes incorporating a PEEK end and the latest advances in dielectrics for cGMP applications were developed. The annular probe electrode was also designed for monitoring lower biomass concentrations or smaller cells such as bacteria in highly aerated, smaller fermenters. The ability to measure on-line with off-line instrument was achieved when Aber introduced the Model 920 Live Cell Analyser.
2003 - The Biomass Monitor 220 replaced the original Model 214M, offering improved sensitivity, integral multiplexer (for up to 4 bioreactors) and frequency scanning which allowed changes in viability, cell size and metabolic activity of the cells to be monitored.
2004 - Model 230 Biomass Monitor became available which was built within an IP65 enclosure for a contained production environment.
2006 - The new Biomass Monitor 200 that was designed to be dedicated to one bioreactor to meet GAMP4 compliance was introduced. The lower cost instrument has proven to be attractive to smaller companies and a panel mount version of the instrument has also been used with multiple production bioreactors at sites across Europe and USA
2008 - 20 years later the innovation keeps on coming! In June, Aber signed an agreement with Applikon BV to incorporate the first viable biomass monitoring system into a commercial controller. The first orders for 8 systems were received within weeks of this agreement! Aber shows a new disposable biomass probe for the very first time
2009 - Aber launch their third generation Biomass Monitor, the Futura at ESACT( Ireland). In September, a new web site has been created together with a new brand image and logo. Aber- trusted technology.
2011 - Aber introduces the Compact Yeast Monitor- the lowest priced on-line Yeast Monitor to date with a rugged stainless steel housing. Largest ever single order received for muliple Futura systems used in cell culture process development. Aber becomes an employee owned company. For a video on the changes of ownership see