Electric Solenoid Valves
When it comes to essential industries and practices such as engineering, agriculture, manufacturing, or even more domestic tasks like doing laundry and washing dishes, it is necessary to manage the flow of gas or fluid elements that are the core of the mechanical process of the encompassing machine or exercise. Electric solenoid valves are the premium choice for performing such undertakings as these. There are a multitude of practical industrial functions that require the employment of a solenoid apparatus such as: an on/off switch for the flow of gas or liquid, calibration and testing exercises, and for optimizing the efficiency of gas and liquid powered machinery. There are as many sizes, voltages, and styles of electric solenoid valves as there are applications for the device.
Quick links to Electric Solenoid Valves Information
What is a Solenoid
A solenoid is a coil wound into a tightly packed helix wrapped around a metallic core used as an electromagnet to generate a controlled magnetic field or as an inductor to manage and control electrical flow. This coil and core structure produces a magnetic field which powers the mechanical process of a given device. Variables such as the size of the core, the quantitative and qualitative value of the helix wound around the core, and the materials which construct the solenoid determine its function as well as its competence.
Benefits of Electric Valves
- Remotely Controlling Electric Valves
- As technology has evolved, automated products and services have become increasingly popular; the electrically powered valve allows the industrialist to keep up with this trend. Because this compact valve is operated by a plunger that is signaled by the magnetization of the coils, this device can be remotely controlled. This allows the user to set the device to shut on and/or off at set times without being present. These valves can also send feedback to a computer to allow the operator to keep a tab on the efficiency and functionality of the valve.
- Since electric solenoid valves can be operated remotely, they are well-suited to applications such as automatic faucets, automatic irrigation sprinklers and pneumatic and hydraulic systems. They can also be used to control cylinders, fluid power motors or larger industrial valves. In addition to industrial uses, electric solenoid valves can be used for activities like beer brewing and hydroponics. Because of its automatic features, these valves are widely used and have many more applications than just the few listed here. They serve both the at-home hobbyist, the big-name manufacturing companies and everyone in between.
- Compact Advantages
- Technology seems to get smaller while simultaneously upsurging in efficiency as it advances. The same can be said of electrically catalyzed valves. In these valves the ports range from an eighth of an inch to a quarter of an inch in diameter and the orifices anywhere from a twentieth of an inch to a quarter of an inch in diameter. These diminutive gadgets are capable of handling enormous tasks, making them little giants in their own right.
- Efficiency Benefits
- In terms of efficiency, many electric valves are capable of reacting to prompts and shutting on or off in milliseconds. This is even true of the servo operated valve with its complex and pressure reliant process. Electric valves are also easy to install and relatively cost efficient. It is worth mentioning that as great as these mechanisms are, they are not capable of throttling the pressure of the medium as the solenoid is either in the on or off position. What these devices lack in the ability to torque pressure is surely made up in the speed with which the device reacts to prompts, its low cost, and the fact that it can be remotely controlled and even automated.
Design of Electric Solenoid Valves
The electric valve is the most frequently used flow regulation instrument in the industrial world. This apparatus functions by compressing or expanding a plunger which is encased in a valve tube. The electromagnetic field generated by the tightly wound helix and its coaxial core generate the power necessary to thrust the plunger or valve upward or downward into an open or closed state, of course opening to allow gas or fluid to flow, and closing to restrict flow. The plunger remains in its controlled state, either on or off, until the power source is cut, at which juncture the valve returns to its original passive position. While the solenoid usually cannot be used to throttle pressure or produce a cyclical flow, it can be remotely controlled. This attribute makes the solenoid ideal for the busy manufacturer, industrialist,or operator who requires the ability to automate certain related procedures.
Electrically powered valves accomplish numerous objectives, come in various styles, sizes, and voltages. There are also many manufacturers of this device, but they generally employ only a few materials in constructing this part. Brass, stainless-steel, nylon and/or hard plastic have become the general standard components utilized to manufacture the electric valve. Those materials are best suited to neutral fluids. The valve material is determined by the type of fluid that will pass through it, and its characteristics. Considered along with this are the temperature, pressure and flow rate under which the fluid will be operated. Teflon (polytetrafluoroethylene), for example, withstands many harsh and corrosive chemicals, making it an excellent choice for the valve or valve seal of an electric solenoid valve in a laboratory setting. Metals, like steel, are the only appropriate option for valves through which pressurized gases will pass. The solenoid plunger is always made from a ferrous metal, for the purpose of magnetism.
Types of Electric Solenoid Valves
There is a multiplicity of electric solenoid types as well as many methods of employment, but they are typically broken down into two classes, direct and pilot operated, which will be the first variables discussed in the types of valves.
- Direct Operated Electric Valves
- Direct operated electric valves operate at the greatest level of simplicity. The gas or liquid flows through an aperture that is either open or closed depending on the up or down position of the plunger. A normally closed valve is one in which the rubber bottomed valve is closed when the coils are not powered; a normally open valve is of course the antithesis of the normally closed one. In a directly operated normally closed valve, when the coils are powered and the electromagnetic field is activated, the plunger is pulled upward towards the center of the coils and in a normally open valve the powering of the coils has the converse effect. This allows for the flow of the medium through the orifice, or the restriction of that flow. Because of the simplistic modus operandi adhered to by the direct operated valve, there is no minimum pressure or differential of pressure requirement for this device to operate. The maximum pressure output and flow rate of this apparatus correlate directly to the diameter of the aperture and the magnetic force that is produced by the solenoid device. This makes this particular valve ideal for procedures that require a low flow rate.
- Pilot Operated Electric Valve
- The pilot operated electric valve, also known as the servo operated valve, is a much more complex system than the aforementioned direct operated valve. The inlet and outlet ports on this mechanism are at opposite ends and are partitioned by a rubber bulb called a diaphragm. Aside from the ports and orifices in the valve there is also a hole in the diaphragm that allows for the gas or fluid to flow to the upper compartment. Above this diaphragm there is a spring that couples with the pressure above the bulb and keeps the valve closed. The chamber above the rubber bulb is connected to a low pressure port, which is also known as the pilot, hence the name pilot operated valve. This connection is properly obstructed by the solenoid when it is off or in the closed position. Once energized, the solenoid valve is drawn upward by the magnetic pull of the coils and the pilot portal is opened. As a result of the valve opening over the pilot, or servo as it is also known , the pressure drops above the diaphragm and the diaphragm is in turn lifted to allow the medium to flow from the inlet to the outlet. The sophisticated use of pressure championed by this mechanism makes it ideal for processes that require a high flow rate.
- Proportional Electric Valves
- The most multi-functional of the solenoid types. These particular valves react to electrical control signals that the device then turns into a mechanical force proportionate to the electrical signal that is sent. This converted mechanical force triggers the flow of the respective medium and moves the solenoid at times and intervals ordained by the operator. This unique tap regulates the flow of air, gas, and fluids at a rate of accuracy greater than its direct and pilot operated counterparts. The wide range of components contained within this apparatus may require more maintenance than some other electric valves, but in turn gives the user an incomparable level of control of the flow processes.
- This particular valve is most commonly used to regulate the flow of fluid in engines and hydraulically-powered equipment that are essential to aerospace, automation, and even automotive manufacturing. This device is rated in terms of its linearity, which concerns how seamlessly the device can shut on or off, as well as how readily it responds to external frequencies that regulate media flow, and its path dependent memory. Aside from its heightened functionality and precision, the proportional solenoid valve is considerably safer than other valve types. With this valve it is necessary to make sure the materials that compose it are compatible with the media that it will service.
- 12v Solenoid Valve
- The voltage of a solenoid valve, much like the type of materials it is constructed of, depends greatly upon the duty that mechanism is to perform. Electric solenoid valve coils may be rated on a range of voltages and duty cycle durations for alternating current (AC) or direct current (DC). AC powered valves may have up to a 600 volt caliber while DC powered ones can range from 3 to 24 volts, with the 12v solenoid valve being the standard most widely adhered to by manufacturers. Twelve volt solenoids have a wide range of uses from home appliances like ice makers and refrigerators, heating and cooling, and also for industrial and commercial tools. They are also ideal for use in medical and dental equipment.
- High Pressure Solenoid
- Just like the name suggests, the high pressure solenoid is ideal for high pressure applications. This particular is perfect for achieving a steady flow of the medium in circumstances in which the system governed by the valve operates at a lower pressure than the power supply; conversely this system is also capable of preventing the loss of pressure in a tall structure such as a skyscraper which tends to lose pressure with escalation. The high pressure electric solenoid is a gadget specially forged for other heavy duty procedures such as: controlling the flow of fluid in and out of an automatic transmission, regulating pressure in piping systems, and even facilitating the flow of water at a rate proficient enough to fight fires.
With each advancement made by science, both menial and heavy duty tasks are becoming increasingly automated and remotely operated. Whether for home, commercial, or industrial procedures, electric solenoids are right in step with the rest of the technologically progressing world. The cost efficiency, ease of installation, remotely operable technology, and enhanced safety in comparison with its pneumatically and hydraulically powered counterparts renders the electric solenoid valve idyllic to the do-it-yourselfer, engineer, manufacturer, maintenance specialist, and even medical professionals and first-responders. The goal of technology is to make products and tasks easier to master, safer to engage, and ultimately to alleviate the effort a user must apply; all of the aforementioned objectives of technological advancement are accomplished by the electric solenoid.