Smaller valves focus on high performance

Paul Boughton

The Precision Fluidics Division of Parker Hannifin, a global leader in motion and control technologies, has announced the release of its newest miniature proportional valve, the VSO Max. This high-flow proportional valve provides flows greater than 200slpm while consuming less than two watts of power.

"The VSO Max is a compact, high flowing proportional valve that enables higher flows at lower pressures, which saves our customers power in their instruments," explained Todd Milne, marketing manager at Precision Fluidics Division.

The VSO Max is the latest expansion of the Precision Fluidics Divisions VSO family of proportional valve products into a higher flow range. The company says its offers 18 per cent more flow while using 25 per cent less power than the nearest competitive valve on the market (Fig. 1).

It can be used with operating inlet pressures of up to 60psi, offers less than 20msec response times, and includes three standard control voltage ranges (5, 12, and 24VDC). The compact 0.68-in x 0.63-in x 2.08-in valve footprint features a manifold body and is oxygen service cleaned.

Parker Hannifin says that as systems become smaller and more portable, power concerns are increased - which is fuelling the demand for miniature, low power, light weight, high performance fluidic products.

ASCO Numatics, a leading manufacturer of comprehensive fluid automation, flow control, and pneumatics solutions, has introduced the ASCO 411 Series miniature solenoid valve that offers up to twice the life of competing products plus higher flow rate performance (Fig. 2). The new valve is ideal for applications in pharmaceutical, medical, analytical, and instrumentation products.

"Now, original equipment manufacturers (OEM) can receive the benefits of longer life, smaller size, lighter weight, higher flow, and lower power consumption - all in one miniature solenoid valve," said Robert W Kemple, Jr, executive vice president, sales and marketing - Americas, ASCO Numatics. "The 411 Series dramatically reduces the design tradeoffs and compromises engineers must make in applying valves to their products."

The 411 Series' novel plunger design significantly reduces wear on the poppet and is resistant to internal elastomer swelling that can disrupt performance. The new valve has been tested to exceed 500 million cycles in normal operating conditions, which the company says makes it the longest-lived, most reliable product of its kind on the market.

ASCO has increased the valve's flow rate by 12-15 per cent over previous models, and the maximum operating pressure differential has been improved. "These factors will enable engineers to design products with greater operating speeds, higher pressures, and smaller volumes," said Kemple.

The new valve family incorporates a smaller, lighter weight plastic body that also achieves a 12- 15 per cent overall weight reduction when compared to stainless steel and brass-bodied valves. This makes the 411 Series a good choice for miniaturised and portable medical devices and pharmaceutical products. Lower power consumption means the valve also is attractive for use in battery-powered applications. In addition, ASCO says it is the only miniature solenoid valve that is fully compliant with RoHS regulations.

"The 411 Series is assembled and tested in a specially built Class 100 cleanroom that is dedicated to miniature solenoid valve production," Kemple said. "Our valve's exceptional reliability and its flexibility to address a wide range of specifications and operating characteristics provide the OEM with the widest variety of design options." For its part, Burkert has combined dynamic performance with compact design and a highly precise proportional valve in its new Liquid Flow Controller (LFC).

The company says that the integration of sensor, control electronics and proportional valves into a single compact device make the LFC ideally suited for applications requiring the fully-automatic metered dosing of small amounts of liquids. It complements the company's portfolio of compact fluid control devices for the measurement and dosage of liquids with a nominal flow rate of 10-600ml per minute and a span of 1:10. The LFC is based on the successfully proven and tested software, hardware and mechanics of the MFC series. Thanks to its compact design, the controller can be installed in difficult locations, such as directly behind angled piping.

Due to its fast and accurate flow rate measurement, the LFC can be used in a large number of industrial applications such as process engineering, packaging, surface finishing, coating, filling or machine tool construction. Some examples of potential applications are: heat treatment by carburisation or endogas generators; the testing of fuel cells; the coating of surfaces; and the cooling of machine tools.

Burkert says the big advantage of the LFC is that it is a one-stop system solution combining reliability and functionality with a truly convincing cost-performance ratio.

Vortex has launched its new Quantum series Orifice Gate. It has fewer parts than the original Vortex Orifice Gate, along with other benefits including weather resistance, superior sealing capabilities, fast and easy maintenance, self-cleaning, wear compensating seals and a narrow profile. Using a patented Vortex design, the company says that the Orifice Gate valve offers significant advantages over traditional knife gates and butterfly valves.

"Other gate valves, knife gates, slide gates, and butterfly valves rely on soft rubber seals that erode away or tear when handling dry bulk material. The Vortex Quantum series Orifice Gate valve eliminates these problems by using 'live loaded' hard polymer seals," it says.

Oliver Twinsafe is set to increase the efficiency of its double block and bleed valve production having ordered a bespoke test rig from Ventil Test Equipment in Holland.

"The state-of-the-art computerised facility boasts a 275 t clamping load and has been designed specifically for Oliver's double block and bleed product. Ventil have been fantastic," said engineering director Craig Furnival. "From their first site visit to the correspondence we've had during the development of the rig they've been extremely helpful."

"These rigs are popular for testing single isolate valves but DBB valves have more seats so the software that runs the test is unique to Twinsafe. The size of our valves was also a consideration as our clamping load requirements are higher than that offered by Ventil's standard range," he added.

The fully automated rig will run through Oliver Twinsafe's entire test cycle, hydrostatic and gas, at the push of a button and utilises a vacuum fill system which effectively sucks water into the valve body rather than pumping water into the cavities.

"If we pump water in then there are often voids which trap air. If we are populating a vacuum then we know that every space will be filled," added Furnival.

The rig will accommodate valves with bore sizes from 2-in to 14-in including 8-in 2500lb, 12-in 1500lb and 14-in 600lb pressure classes.

"This rig offers a full digital reporting service so not only will it significantly increase our output, it will also offer another level of traceability for our customers," concluded Furnival

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