Monday, March 15, 2010

Ultra-fast jet valves

The operating boundaries of solenoid valves for switching compressed air are being pushed back aided by advanced CAE techniques. Festo has launched a new series of jet valves providing exceptionally rapid switching times of less than 1 ms – an order of magnitude faster than standard pneumatic solenoid valves. Based on a unique design featuring just one moving part, the new MHJ series jet valves also provide very high switching time repetition accuracies, and have an industry-leading service life of 10 billion switching cycles. The jet valves are ideal for diverse high-volume sorting applications, especially in the food processing and waste recycling industries.

These MHJ series jet valves are designed for use with standard 40 µm filtered compressed air supplies, and accommodate a wide range of operating pressures from 0.5 to 6 bar. 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 switching characteristics. To switch at this speed and provide such a long life, the novel design completely 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 lifetime of specialist sorting machines.

The MHJ series jet valves have a trigger signal voltage range of 3 to 30 Vdc, enabling them to accommodate standard 5 V PLC-level signals without any need for voltage conversion. The valves have a power consumption of 7 W, which can be reduced to 2 W 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.

The valves are available as individual units with integrated push-in fittings, and can be supplied with sub-bases for manifold mounting. Festo also produces customised manifolds which enable a group of valves to share the same air supply, and these can be fitted with integrated jet nozzles, if required.

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