Jet valves switch ten times faster than solenoid valves

Paul Boughton

Festo is launching a new series of jet valves that are said to provide exceptionally rapid switching times of less than 1ms - an order of magnitude faster than standard pneumatic solenoid valves. Based on a new design featuring just one moving part, the new MHJ series jet valves also provide very high switching time repetition accuracies, and are claimed to have an industry-leading service life of 10billion switching cycles. The jet valves are suitable for diverse high-volume sorting applications, especially in the food processing and waste recycling industries.

Festo's MHJ series jet valves are designed for use with standard 40um filtered compressed air supplies and accommodate a wide range of operating pressures from 0.5 to 6bar. They offer a choice of three 2/2-way fast-switching models, with nominal flow rates of 50, 100 and 150 litres per minute. The valves employ a special short-stroke solenoid and patented damping plate developed using extensive CAE modelling of the magnetic, temperature and flow characteristics to optimise the switching characteristics. To switch at this speed and provide such a long life, the novel design dispenses with dynamic seals and lubrication. The design of the solenoid and damped flat plate also enables the valve to deliver the consistent switching repetition of less than 0.1ms required throughout the operating life of specialist sorting machines.

MHJ series jet valves have a trigger signal voltage range of 3 to 30V DC, enabling them to accommodate standard 5V PLC-level signals without any need for voltage conversion. The valves have a power consumption of 7W, which can be reduced to 2W after the initial turn-on period by use of a holding current control feature, which can be supplied by Festo either integrated into the coil assemblies or incorporated into the application control board.

Festo's MHJ series jet valves are available as individual units with integrated push-in fittings and can also be supplied with sub-bases for manifold mounting. Festo also produces customised manifolds that enable groups of valves to share the same air supply; these can be fitted with integral jet nozzles, if required.

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