Tuesday 24 September 2013

Specifying valves and terminals

Festo has published a new whitepaper to help designers improve the electro-pneumatic control of their machines. The paper, Quality and an attractive price – the right way to buy valves / valve terminals, advises engineers and designers on how to choose the optimum valves and valve terminals and dispels some of the misleading information in the marketplace.

The whitepaper is free to download from www.festo.co.uk/valve-whitepaper and highlights some of the key factors affecting the total cost of ownership. There are a number of questions that engineers should consider to ensure they are making the right choice of valves and valve terminals enabling them to select the best valve design.

As a ‘hygienic factor’ valves and valve terminals must meet the necessary technical requirements such as flow rate, function, installation space and IP class. The whitepaper advises on other factors equally important to bear in mind. For example, much fuss has been made lately regarding electrical energy costs of solenoid valves. However, while power-saving solenoid functions are a good idea, as they cut down on heat generation and a small amount of wasted energy, the biggest potential for cutting energy costs is related to the sealing principles applied. Some valves, including many with power saving solenoids, require a permanent leakage to operate and also specify a five micron fine filter which creates a bigger pressure drop than a 40 micron filter. Costs associated with these factors can be many times the electrical savings.

The underlying message of the whitepaper is to ensure designers are more aware of all of the issues involved and not to be misled by headlines promising dramatic savings that only consider one narrow aspect of their design.

“Today’s global market for valves and valve terminals is so large that it is almost impossible for engineers to maintain an overview,” says Jacqui Hanbury, product manager at Festo. “Often price seems the only buying criterion, but it pays to look more closely, particularly with regard to total cost of ownership, higher productivity and process reliability. Here at Festo, we make it easy for our customers by offering attractively priced and long-lasting high-quality valves, and our new whitepaper makes it easier for engineers and designers to make an informed decision about how to specify valves and valve terminals.”

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