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Air Operated Valves

Air operated valves rely solely on compressed air to function. They drive air pressure against either a piston or a diaphragm in order to produce some type of motion. Engineers could design air operated valves that provide either linear or circular motion in their operation. All of these would fall into one of several different categories:

  • 2-way normally closed valves
  • 2-way normally open valves
  • 3-way valves
  • 4-way valves

While this should be more than enough in the way of options for a majority of users, you could even request more exotic designs if necessary.

Defining What Air Operated Valves Are

Think of pneumatic actuators as the components that do the real work and generate the effort at the end of any compressed air-driven workflow. If that’s the case, then air operated valves are essentially switches that help you regulate the directional flow of air. You could have one direct air in one direction to activate an actuator in that downstream path and then have a separate line going to another passageway.

Several variations on pneumatic valves have come around over the years, which are generally divvied up based on their energy source and the number of ports they use. Each of these opens or closes an individual pathway installed inside of a device, which helps to regulate pressure and power. When the machine switches off and there’s no compressed air moving through it, the air-operated valve returns to a resting position.

Simple valves have only a single direction of flow. At most, they feature a single port. Any air moving through the module is essentially limited, though this does encourage the operator to manage the system with far fewer features than would otherwise be necessary. Multiple ports permit additional airflows to move all at once, which can lead to systems that incorporate additional levels of complexity and provides a greater degree of output.

As the years have gone on, engineers have developed an equally wide array of uses for this kind of technology.

Use Cases For Air Operated Valves

Technicians will want to consider the use cases for each valve. Take, for instance, mechanical valve systems, which are some of the earliest ever designed. In spite of their longevity in the industry, they continue to prove very popular in certain applications. These predated modern air-operated valves, but you might want to look into them if you’re trying to make a major purchasing decision before you start your next big project.

Mechanical valves require some sort of external force to open or close them. Series VH rotary hand valves are like this, and they’re best for use cases that require a device that’s easy to operate and provides an extremely high tolerance when it comes to getting contaminated. That’s because it includes a sophisticated self-cleaning and wiping action that helps to keep the device working even if you’re in an environment that’s not the best when it comes to materials that could stop up a more heavily automated valve.

The VHS series has proven so popular that they’ve actually come out with a revamped version of them. These new VHS valves offer users a continuous way to isolate the pressure that’s supplied by a pneumatic system while simultaneously exhausting the downstream pressure for maintenance reasons, which makes them an ideal shutoff.

Each of these units can be locked into their predetermined exhaust position, and they can then be an integral portion of an energy isolation design in the process. The actual direction of airflow can be identified by your crew simply by looking at the orientation of the handle and the integrated labeling. Anyone can get an idea of their position by merely glancing over at them.

Best of all, these modules can connect to FRL assemblies merely by attaching them with spacers. That makes it easier to integrate them into an existing installation easily. Solenoid valves, on the other hand, use electrical signals to figure out whether they should be opened or closed. They’ve become one of the most common rotating actuator valves. Each of these actuators rotate and send a signal to their motors. Direct-operated valves and both 3-4 port and 5-port versions have been developed.

However, it’s true air operated valves that hold the widest appeal. All of these other designs are practical and have proven their worth time and time again. Make no mistake; there are innumerable reasons that you’d want to incorporate these other types of technologies into your designs. However, there is a time and a place for true air operated valves as well. These don’t need anything but your compressor or cylinder to activate at any given time.

Genuine Air Operated Valve Technology

A true genuine air operated valve will rely only on air pressure that acts again a piston or some sort of diaphragm to produce motion. That means you’ll be able to actuate the valve itself using compressed air. Considering that compressed air is what your equipment is powered by to begin with, there’s no reason that you wouldn’t want to leverage the power that it provides to accomplish other tasks.

Some managers might want to eventually transition to a system that incorporates air operated valves and no other technologies. This is good when you don’t wish to be depending on electric currents. Technicians will often recommend that you still have some sort of hand valve that functions as an emergency shutoff, but there’s no reason that you can’t migrate all of your other gear to an air operated platform.

Optimize Flow Control With Orange Coast Pneumatics

At Orange Coast Pneumatics, our team has made sure to put together a diverse collection of air operated valves. Each should suit the needs of a wide variety of potential consumers. You simply need to inquire. You can manage a high flow, or control one over a steady speed.
Regardless of what kind of workflows you’re managing and what source of power they run on, you’ll want to make sure to contact Orange Coast Pneumatics online today, so that our experienced crews can help you find all of the valves you need. We always do our best to keep our product catalog and offerings up-to-date, so you’ll be able to get the gear that best fits your company’s use cases.

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