Case study: Manufacturing Precision Controller Units for the Life Sciences Industry

Written by Graeme Robertson

15 June 2022

As a spin-out from Cambridge University, Dundee-based life sciences business, Cellexus, pioneers revolutionary, market leading single-use airlift bioreactor systems and technology. The company has developed the CellMaker, the first purely airlift bioreactor on the market.

The technology, which generates bubbles that percolate through the mixture, producing a gentle mixing action for even the most delicate of cell cultures, can be used by scientists to produce cells in their laboratories for use in experiments to develop new medicines and vaccines. 

According to John Cameron, managing director of CB Technology: “Working with cutting-edge life sciences companies like Cellexus is an important and growing part of CB Technology’s business.”

Cellexus needed a manufacturing partner that could deliver a high-level electronic solution that would reliably control the execution of the CellMaker’s technique - reducing the amount of damage to cells, thereby increasing the yield and improving the precision and efficiency of the process.

A trusted manufacturing solutions provider with expertise in building high compliance, high reliability assemblies, CB Technology appealed to Cellexus as a manufacturing partner because of its impressive portfolio of work and top level technical capabilities.

CB Technology provided extensive support in terms of design-for-manufacturing and helped introduce more controls within the unit. Having a full understanding of the customer’s needs and the expertise to critique the design and add value, reduce unnecessary parts and streamline processes ensured the partnership was as fruitful as possible.

CB Technology also provided valuable insight on supply chain management, mitigating risk and keeping costs within budget.

It was essential that CB Technology manufactured the controller unit using a process that could be scaled up and repeated to produce identical units efficiently and cost effectively and with a short build time.

Gavin Hands, CEO of Cellexus, explained: “The robust, repeatable build process that CB Technology has developed for the production of the CellMaker bioreactor gives Cellexus peace of mind in terms of its reliability and precision control, freeing up my team to focus on product development.”

Gavin Hands added: “We were very impressed with CB Technology’s portfolio of work and their capabilities, especially their expertise in producing complex high reliability system assemblies, which was key in selecting them to build the controller for us.

“Our two companies were able to share the lessons we had learned from our processes and procedures with each other, which has ultimately made the CellMaker even better and has brought benefits for the scientists who will use it.

“I was also very impressed with the way CB Technology managed the project launch, taking the lead through structured workshops and regular action tracker reviews to ensure they were ready to launch the first product builds.

“We prefer to work with local companies whenever possible, and so having CB Technology within an hour’s drive of our laboratory made a huge difference while we were developing the manufacturing process of the CellMaker bioreactor.”