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4 Reasons to Use Pilot-Operated Solenoid Valves in Pneumatic Manifolds

Chamber for testing high pressure hydraulic hoses. Testing of finished products at the factory.

Pilot-operated solenoid valves are directional control valves with an internal pilot-operated mechanism that utilises a small amount of compressed air or fluid to open and close the main valve port. This design allows them to have higher flow rates, higher pressure capabilities, and more accurate operation than other types of valves. Pilot-operated solenoid valves also allow for manual override in cases where the main valve needs to be opened or closed manually.

Importance of Fluid Control in Various Industries

Fluid control is an integral part of many industries. Proper fluid control is essential in the medical field to ensure accurate drug delivery and patient safety. In manufacturing, controlling fluids helps regulate temperatures, pressures, and other process variables that influence production output.

Fluid control also plays a critical role in industrial automation, which directs materials or parts through different processes. Finally, fluid control systems are used in power generation applications to regulate steam temperature and pressure levels for optimal efficiency.

4 Key Reasons to Use Pilot-Operated Solenoid Valves

1. Precise Control

Pilot-operated solenoid valves provide precise control by using an internal pilot-operated mechanism to open and close the main valve port. This mechanism is designed to allow for a small amount of compressed air or fluid to be used, which helps ensure that the flow rate and pressure remain consistent. Additionally, this type of valve offers greater accuracy than other types due to its ability to respond faster when triggered by an electrical signal.

2. High Flow Rates

Due to their internal pilot-operated mechanism, pilot-operated solenoid valves can handle higher flow rates than other valves. This design allows for a small amount of compressed air or fluid to be used, which results in less restriction and friction as the material is moved through the piping system.

These valves can also open and close quickly, allowing larger volumes of material to pass through at any given time, making them ideal for applications that require large volumes of air or fluid to be moved quickly.

3. Compact Design

Pilot-operated solenoid valves are designed to be small and low profile, making them perfect for use in pneumatic manifolds with limited space. Furthermore, these valves can be stacked together in a single manifold to reduce the space needed. This type of valve also requires less wiring than other types, which helps save even more space when compared to traditional valve designs.

4. Manual Override Capability

Pilot-operated solenoid valves offer manual override capability, allowing users to open or close the main valve port if necessary manually. This is beneficial in cases where emergency shutdowns or other adjustments need to be made quickly and without relying on an electrical signal.

Manual override capabilities also provide greater flexibility compared to other valves, making them ideal for applications requiring precise control and quick response times.

Benefits of Using Pilot-Operated Solenoid Valves

  • Improved Efficiency: Pilot-operated solenoid valves allow for more precise air or fluid flow control, resulting in improved efficiency and reduced energy consumption.
  • Increased Safety: The manual override capability of pilot-operated solenoid valves helps to minimise any potential risks associated with the pneumatic system by allowing the user to manually open or close the main valve port if necessary.
  • Low Maintenance Requirements: Pilot-operated solenoid valves are designed for long-term use, requiring minimal maintenance and upkeep over time. This can reduce the costs of operating a pneumatic manifold system over time.
  • Reduced Costs: Using pilot-operated solenoid valves instead of other types of directional control valves in a pneumatic manifold system, users can save on material costs while achieving reliable operation and performance levels.
  • Performance: Since pilot-operated solenoid valves have a high flow capacity, they offer quick response times and the ability to handle pressure variations. This can help enhance the performance of any pneumatic system by allowing for faster operations and more precise control.
  • Reliability: These valves have a lower risk of failure due to fewer moving parts. As such, they have a much longer service life. In addition, their reliability makes them suitable for use in harsh environments and extreme temperatures. 
  • Flexibility: These solenoid valves are compatible with various media types, offer a wide range of pressure and flow rates, and are available in different configurations and sizes. Therefore, they provide greater flexibility and convenience compared to other valves.
  • Cost-Effectiveness: Pilot-operated solenoid valves are often more cost-effective than other types of directional control valves due to their low material costs, minimal maintenance requirements, and lower energy use.

Types of Pilot-Operated Solenoid Valves

A man's hand turns on a set with for testing high pressure hydraulic hoses

Several types of pilot-operated solenoid valves are available, including normally open (NO) and normally closed (NC) designs. There are also proportional control valves that allow for more precise flow regulation and servo-operated valves that use a motor to regulate the valve’s position. Finally, explosion-proof designs can be used in hazardous environments where flammable gases or liquids may be present.

How Does a Pilot-Operated Solenoid Valve Work?

A pilot-operated solenoid valve uses an internal pilot-operated mechanism for closing and opening the valve port. This mechanism is designed to allow for a small amount of compressed air or fluid to be used, which helps ensure that the flow rate and pressure remain consistent.

An electrical signal is sent from a controller or other external device to activate the valve, causing a plunger inside the pilot chamber to move up or down, depending on whether it is NO or NC. This movement then opens or closes the main valve manifold port accordingly.

Why Choose Pilot-Operated Solenoid Valves?

Pilot-operated solenoid valves are an excellent choice for applications that require precise fluid control, high flow rates, and manual override capability. These valves offer a variety of benefits, such as improved efficiency, increased safety, low maintenance requirements, reduced costs, performance enhancements, and greater reliability.

Additionally, pilot-operated solenoid valves are available in various designs to suit specific needs and environments. With the proper selection and installation procedures, these versatile valves can help ensure optimal operation in any pneumatic manifold system.

If you are looking for reliable hydraulic components, including valves, for your equipment and machinery, look no further than White House Products, Ltd. With a wide selection of quality products and expert customer service staff to answer any questions, we have everything you need to ensure optimal performance in your pneumatic manifold system. Browse online or contact us at +44 (0) 1475 742500 today to get the right valves for your needs.

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