Engineering for Our Partners in the Pharma Industry

iTube96Reader, parallel pH monitoring in cell culture tubes

This project was initiated by a pharmaceutical company that is using cell culture tubes in their bioprocess development. They needed a device to non-invasively monitor pH in a large number of tubes simultaneously.

The customer´s needs and the initial concept were developed during a two day workshop. This workshop was held at the customer´s side to be able to analyze the workflow in the lab.

After this workshop, which was offered free of charge, a comprehensive project offer was made and the customer decided to pursue this project.

Design Phase

The main specific challenges were:

  • The system had to be able to take parallel measurements in a large number of tubes, so many measurement channels had to be integrated in a device of small footprint.
  • The iTube96Reader had to be a part of the typical biprocess development workflow, e. g. the rack holding a large number of tubes needed to be light so it could be easily taken out of the shaker.
  • The system was designed for integration into a specific shaker but also needed to be compatible with other shakers.
  • The software had to offer graphical representations and online access to the data. Needed pH adjustments should be as easily detectable as with electrode measurements.


During construction all information aquired from the workshop with the customer was used to adjust the product design to the customer´s needs. In addition regular web-based conferences were organized to discuss and resolve open issues and simply to inform about the progress. As always PreSens was co-operating closely with its partner to achieve the defined specifications.

Construction in a project like this is performed using CAD software like CATIA (Computer Aided Three-Dimensional Interactive Application) and PCB design EDA software like ALTIUM designer.

Production & Validation

iTubes, cell culture tubes with integrated chemical optical sensors

A small series of systems were manufactured. The validation was performed according to requirement specifications the customer had agreed upon. 

PreSens then delivered the prototypes to the customer.