Proportional pressure regulator is controlled via fieldbus

Paul Boughton

Festo is launching what is claimed to be the world's first fieldbus-controlled proportional valve regulator for mounting directly on a valve manifold. This fully-integrated architecture offers control flexibility and conveys numerous cost-saving advantages, including reduced parts-count, simplified installation and maintenance, less wiring and powerful remote diagnostics.

The VPPM-MPA proportional pressure regulator provides design engineers with an easy and precise means of varying air pressure for pneumatic actuators to facilitate accurate control of speed, force, pressure and torque.

Proportional pressure regulators are used extensively in the process and industrial automation industries. Typical applications include controlling the contact force in polishing and friction welding, controlling web tension, providing active load cushioning and weight compensation, controlling the speed of pneumatic motors, and regulating the torque applied by pneumatic wrenches. The regulators are also now beginning to be used in the leisure and medical engineering industries.

Designed specifically for use with Festo's renowned MPA series valve manifolds, the VPPM-MPA proportional pressure regulator features a 1/8-inch proportional pressure valve and is available with a pressure range of 0-2 bar, 0-6 bar or 0-10 bar. The 0-10 bar model accommodates a flow rate of up to 1400 l/min. By employing an innovative cascaded dual-stage regulator design - each with its own pressure sensor - the VPPM-MPA is able to maintain extremely tight regulation under a wide range of operating conditions, and provides exceptionally accurate control.

Festo's MPA valve manifolds feature a built-in serial bus system, which accommodates all the fieldbus/Ethernet connections required by the modules that go to make up the system; these can include digital and analogue I/O modules, pressure sensors and regulators, and the valves themselves. This feature is said to be unique - Festo says there are no competitive products on the market that offer a comparable level of pneumatic and electrical functional integration. The advantages are significantly reduced installation time and cost.

VPPM-MPA proportional pressure regulators can either be commissioned remotely via fieldbus or Ethernet, or locally by using Festo's CPX-MMI handheld control unit. Programmable functions include setpoint, upper and lower limits, and a choice of three preset response profiles to facilitate fine tuning of the system without the need to set up complex PID control loops. Both the programmed setpoint and the actual pressure value can be monitored locally or remotely, and users can choose to display pressure units in bar, MPa or psi. The regulators are capable of returning a comprehensive range of diagnostic data via fieldbus or Ethernet, and are also equipped with front-panel LEDs to indicate power and operational status.

Festo's VPPM-MPA proportional pressure regulators can be freely mixed with standard and proportional valves on the same manifold. They can also be used for multiplexing, whereby a single VPPM-MPA module can sequentially switch to several different pressure settings - even across multiple MPA valve manifolds - to facilitate highly cost-effective pneumatic actuator control schemes.

For more information, visit

Recent Issues