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Leading through innovation… right from the start

It began in 1946: the first full year of peace after World War II; ENIAC, the first computer was unveiled; the word "automation" came into use. And Brooks Rotameter Company, founded by Stephen A. Brooks, opened for business in Lansdale, Pennsylvania.

The new company was built on the strength of an innovative side-plate, dowel-pin principle of rotameter construction. It was a better instrument that delivered more reliable results — and from the start, that commitment to technology that helps transform how industries measure and control essential processes has been our heritage.

A catalyst for growth

In our seven decades of growth and success, Brooks Instrument has pioneered multiple game-changing fluid measurement and control technologies, such as our durable and streamlined Sho-Rate® variable area flow meters, first launched in 1958 and used by NASA to leak-test space suits for the Gemini space program in March 1965.

The companies that have become part of the Brooks Instrument family since then play an equal part in our heritage of innovation. Creators of groundbreaking mass flow technology in their own right, companies such as Tylan General and UNIT Instruments, shared with Brooks the determination to be catalysts for change in the development and application of mass flow technology. 

Unleashing mass flow potential

Our heritage includes introducing and continually advancing mass flow measurement and control, technology that has been instrumental in creating the global semiconductor industry that drives the digital world.

First used on the Apollo spacecraft to accurately measure oxygen flow, in the 1970s, mass flow controllers (MFCs) became commercially available with the Tylan FC-260, which for the first time gave semiconductor manufacturers automated control of process gasses into their tools, enabling throughput rates and yields that were industrial-scale.

In 1980, UNIT Instruments launched the UFC1000, offering a faster responding, safer normally closed MFC valve which was more suitable for demanding processes like etch. By the early- to mid-90s, Brooks Instrument had released the first metal-sealed MFC (the 5850EM), offering improved reliability and resistance to corrosive gasses, as well as the first all-digital MFC for greater accuracy and ease of integration into process tools.

Each innovation or technical feature added to a mass flow device was created with one fundamental goal: helping take manufacturers to the next level of precision and accuracy in the results of their processes.

Enhancing application performance

Our technology has always been more than a catalyst for breakthroughs in the industries we serve. We also focus on continuously improving their performance in actual applications, to enable greater process flexibility, offer a wider range of instrumentation choices and respond to unique operational requirements.

For example, in 1998, Brooks released the Mf Series, the first weatherproof and hazardous area MFC, allowing the technology to be used outdoors, in wash-down/hose-down applications and in hazardous areas. Brooks also launched the first mini Coriolis-based MFC, offering customers improved accuracy of low-flow liquid measurement and control.

The early 2000s saw multiple innovations targeting specific areas:

  • Compact surface-mounted MFCs are launched, enabling OEMs to reduce gas panel size by up to 60%, saving much needed space around the process tool.
  • Vacuum measurement enters a new era when the first digital capacitance manometer is launched.
  • In 2001, MultiFlo® mass flow technology provides users of thermal mass flow meters and flow controllers with the ability to program the delivery of different combinations of gases and flow rates — all with one device.
  • In 2004, Celerity Instrumentation (formerly UNIT Instruments) releases the IFC125, the first pressure transient insensitive (PTI) MFC offering market-leading response time and compensation for inlet pressure variations.

Sustaining a heritage of innovation

In 2009, Brooks acquired Celerity Instrumentation, which included the technology heritage of industry leaders such as Tylan, Mykrolis and UNIT Instruments. We continue to build on that combined heritage with advances in several areas, including:

  • The GF100 Series, a highly versatile universal MFC platform for the semiconductor industry, combining MultiFlo®, PTI and other advanced technologies to set the industry standard for accuracy, performance and long-term value.
  • The GF135 MFC, the first MFC with integrated, real-time flow error detection, allowing semiconductor manufacturers to verify process gas accuracy, check valve leak-by and monitor sensor stability in real time without removing the flow controller from the gas line.
  • The MT3809 VA flow meter, now featuring an improved transmitter with HART 7 capability and a digital LCD display with local operator interface, enabling parameter changes without removing the cover, which means changes can be made even in hazardous areas.

Today, our heritage of innovation continues to drive and inspire us to enhance our existing platforms and develop and deploy new technologies, all with one goal: continuously enable our customers to transform the performance of their systems and operations.