Brooks Instrument is celebrating its 75th year providing high-precision fluid measurement and control instrumentation. A world leader in advanced flow, pressure and vapor delivery solutions, the company serves customers across many industries, including semiconductor manufacturing, pharmaceutical, biopharmaceuticals, fiber optics, thin film manufacturing, solar cells, LED, alternative energy, oil and gas, chemical and petrochemical.
To help commemorate the milestone, the company developed a special 75th anniversary webpage at https://experience.brooksinstrument.com/75-years.
Originating in 1946 as The Brooks Rotameter Company, the business was started by industrial chemist Stephen Brooks in a small suburb near Philadelphia. Mr. Brooks commercialized a new design approach for industrial rotameters (used to measure flow) that featured an innovative side-plate, dowel-pin construction. He found this was a more durable, reliable and accurate meter design — and it provided a strong foundation for the company’s growth in the industrial boom of the post-WWII years.
“From the beginning, the company’s fundamental DNA is based on a relentless commitment to solve challenges and deliver better results, helping customers transform how they measure and control their essential processes,” explains Brooks Instrument General Manager Eric Pipal.
Passionate and Committed People
A key reason Brooks Instrument has been able to satisfy the evolving needs of its customers for 75 years is the talented group of people who have been part of the company, Pipal says.
“We’re fortunate in our long history to employ some fantastic people who are very good at listening to customers, understanding their fluid measurement and control needs and then applying their expertise in customer applications,” he says.
That passion for customer solutions has grown into a unique culture at Brooks Instrument, where many employees have worked at the company literally for decades. This depth of knowledge and experience has led to deep insights into the challenges that customers face. “Our development engineering team, applications engineers and field service engineers all keep Brooks Instrument on the cutting edge and provide the highest level of technical support,” reiterates Steve Kannengieszer, Global Marketing Director, who has over 30 years at the company. “As a result, customers trust Brooks Instrument to provide better solutions, year in and year out.”
Since its founding, Brooks Instrument has grown to become a global leader in precision fluid measurement and control technology, especially in rugged applications such as those in the oil and gas industry.
However, in more recent years, the company has expanded its portfolio to serve the extremely demanding requirements in global high-tech areas such as biopharmaceutical and semiconductor manufacturing.
Today, headquartered in Hatfield, Pa., the company has a diverse employee base, working in manufacturing, sales and service locations throughout the Americas, Europe and Asia. Pipal says one reason Brooks Instrument is known as a leader is because the company provides fluid measurement and control instrumentation that gives its customers a sustainable competitive advantage.
“Better, more accurate and more reliable and repeatable results make the customer’s research more accurate or saves costly materials in their manufacturing process. That’s why they come to us — to help them take fluid measurement and control to new levels,” he says.
“We appreciate their flow controllers, cooperation and dedication, serving us over the years through our growth,” adds Kenneth Clapp, Senior Global Product Manager at Cytiva (formerly GE Healthcare Life Sciences).
History of Innovative Milestones
Over the past 75 years, several brands have joined the Brooks Instrument family, including UNIT Instruments, Tylan and Key Instruments. A major addition in 2009 was the acquisition of Celerity, a leading supplier of ultra-precise mass flow controllers for semiconductor fabrication.
Other key milestones in the company’s history include:
- The widely popular Sho-Rate® variable area flow meters, launched in 1958 and used by NASA to leak-test space suits for the Gemini space program in March 1965
- Mass flow controllers (MFCs), first used on the Apollo spacecraft to accurately measure oxygen flow, became commercially available with the Tylan FC-260, allowing semiconductor manufacturers to automate the control of process gasses for improved yield and throughput
- The Mf Series, the first weatherproof and hazardous area MFC, released by Brooks in 1998 for outdoor, hazardous and wash-down/hose-down applications
- The first mini Coriolis-based MFC, offering improved accuracy for low-flow liquid measurement and control
- The creation of the first digital capacitance manometer, ushering in a new era in vacuum measurement
- The first pressure transient insensitive (PTI) MFC, from Celerity Instrumentation, with market-leading flow response time and compensation for inlet pressure variations
- Recent SLA5800 Biotech MFCs, with specialized materials and features designed to enhance efficiency and productivity in biopharmaceutical production
- The Brooks Instrument GP200, for advanced semiconductor manufacturing, the first pressure-based MFC (P-MFC) designed to operate accurately in high-vacuum and above-atmospheric pressure conditions
Strong Foundation to Meet Future Challenges
Employee skills and expertise continue to be the foundation upon which the company grows. In fact, many future trends in the electronics market — the transition to 5G, introduction of autonomous vehicles, adoption of IoT and artificial intelligence — require Brooks Instrument to continue developing cutting-edge technology to support customers.
“Recent global macro events have demonstrated the central role that semiconductor technology plays in our digital world,” says Brooks Instrument Chief Technology Officer Mohamed Saleem. “As a result, we continue to invest in product innovation that’s integral to improving semiconductor manufacturing efficiency.”
The electronics market is just one example. Many of the company’s end markets — biopharmaceutical, clean energy and medical devices — are experiencing an evolution of their own. Global trends, such as medical advancements, vaccine development, an aging population and an increased focus on combating climate change, are creating new challenges and opportunities for customers.
“We’re excited by the challenges these trends present,” concludes Pipal. “With our cutting-edge flow technology and technical expertise, Brooks Instrument is positioned better than ever to help customers tackle whatever the future may bring.”