USD technology



Ultra Scale-Down
Rotating Disc Shear Device



The kompAs ultra scale-down (USD) shear device is designed to produce controlled levels of energy dissipation similar in range to those found in industrial scale processing equipment, such as centrifuges, pumps and mixers. A particular application is the mimic of the hydrodynamic shear forces encountered in the feed zone of high-speed, continuous flow, industrial-scale centrifuges. By exposing process material to shear forces in this way, it it possible to:

  • determine the susceptibility of the material of interest (e.g. cells, proteins, macromolecules, etc.) to damage caused by processing

  • condition or prepare the process material to closely resemble that found at industrial scale for further processing studies (e.g. USD centrifugation or filtration)


kompAs comprises a sample processing unit and a speed control unit. The sample processing unit consists of a hollow chamber (20 mL internal capacity) inside which a rotating disc is fitted. Both are made of stainless steel. The speed of the rotating disc (0-18,000 rpm) is adjusted via the controller. The device sample chamber is fitted with a double envelope so that the temperature control can be achieved through circulation of cooling/heating liquid. The choice of the disc speed and time (max. 1 min) of sample exposure to shear is dependent on the specific process operation to be mimicked.


  • Enables early stage manufacturability assessment

  • Provides insight on manufacturability

  • Mimics larger-scale environment. The device speeds are equivalent to energy dissipation rates of 103 to106 W/kg and shear rates in the order of 104 to 106 /s which correspond to the hydrodynamic conditions in most bioprocess equipment

  • Small sample volume. Large-scale manufacturing insights using sample volume of just 20 mL

  • Rank process materials. Identify which process materials have robust product forms, increased impurities, or aggregate formation after exposure to shear stress

  • Link with other scale-down tools. Generate process materials for other scale-down tools, for example the USD centrifugation, to investigate how exposure to shear stress impacts processing operations further downstream

  • Examine impact of shear stress without air-liquid interfaces. Designed to remove air bubbles to ensure that the energy dissipation is only due to hydrodynamic shear stress and not due to air-liquid interfaces.


USD studies of the effect of shear on crystals, flocs, genetically modified plants, human cells for therapy, mammalian cells, precipitates, proteins and enzymes


Ultra Scale-Down


The Ultra Scale-Down (USD) approach, invented at University College London, facilitates the establishment of the most cost-effective and scaleable biomanufacturing route using just millilitre quantities of material. This approach aims to create full-scale process conditions at the laboratory scale and is based on the analysis and understanding of the conditions in the full-scale equipment.

USD tools and methods allow research at an early discovery stage with small quantities of bioprocess material, providing rapid insight of the effect of the engineering environment on process materials and into the performance of full-scale processes. This enables researchers to develop and assess manufacturing routes early in development.

Benefits of USD technologies for end-users

  • Understand the impact of processing environment

  • Speed up process development

  • Develop robust manufacturing

  • Reduced cost of goods at full scale

  • Reduced cost of development in terms of labour and materials

  • Increased capacity for more development projects

  • Shorter development timeline


Contact us

Please complete the form below to register your interest, and check the box if you would like to receive a quote. 

For all enquiries, please contact kompas@gowerlabs.co.uk


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Gowerlabs focuses on high quality engineering for the research and healthcare communities.

All of our technologies are designed and developed in close collaboration with University College London. Together, our team of engineers and physicists brings over 50 years of experience in research and development.

We are now working closely with UCL's Biochemical Engineering department to bring kompAs to the commercial market.