A valve is a device that allows us to close or open the passage of an element, whether gaseous, liquid or viscous, through a pipeline, manually or piloted through some external device.
What is a pneumatic valve?
Pneumatic valves are elements that serve to control the flow of air, or another gaseous element, through a circuit. They allow you to close or open your passage, or even regulate the flow we need.
How do they work?
The valves have internal mechanisms that are mobile, and move when we operate them manually or remotely. The valves function as a tap that cuts off the flow or lets the water pass.
What types of pneumatic valves are there?
They can be cataloged in different ways. By the number of routes or positions they have.
2-way and 2-position valves: They have 2 ways, one inlet and one outlet. They only have the utility of being a stopcock, like a tap, without any exhaust that releases pressure from the circuit.
- 3-way and 2-position valves: Its 3 ways are normally used, one to supply pressure to the circuit, one to connect the circuit and another to release pressure. They are ideal for single-acting cylinders, while they supply pressure the cylinder pushes and when they no longer have pressure, the cylinder returns by its spring and the pressure is released by the exhaust.
- 4-way and 2-position valves: They are similar to the previous ones but these have one more way, by which pressure is sent for the double-acting cylinders that work under pressure in the 2 directions without return spring, they give more possibilities but in return they consume more air.
- 5-way and 2-position valves: They are very similar to the previous ones with the difference that instead of having one, it has 2 exhausts, adding more control over the operation to be performed.
4-way and 3-position valves: This system allows us to carry out the operation only when we give the order to the valve. By having 3 positions, the control panel can be open or closed depending on whether we want the pressure to go out or remain in the circuit, and each of the other positions will make a movement.
5-way and 3-position valves: Finally, the 5/3 valves are a mixture between 4/3 and 5/2, they have 5 ways, 2 being exhausts, 1 pressure and 2 operating, and also with 3 positions, being able to be open or closed central.
Which one do I need?
That will depend on what installation you need to make, the most common are 3/2 since they serve both for manual actuations, such as a pneumatic pedal, and for limit switches that have a mechanical drive.
Pneumatic valve actuators
Drives that exist for the pneumatic valves are many, but let’s catalog in manual, pneumatic and electrical or electronic.
Manual or mechanical:
Manual drives, as its name suggests, are drives that are performed by hand or foot in the case of a pedal.
Mechanical drives are those made by another element such as a cylinder, which, when making contact, actuate the valve that can be used as a limit switch.
The most used cases of pneumatic actuators are those that give another valve by letting the pressure pass, when this pressure ceases to exist, the valve returns to its initial position.
Electrically operated valves are also very common to find in the market, since not all circuits have to be with pressurized air. We can have an electrical circuit that gives a signal to the valve and this is excited through the coil that carries the drive internally.
The great variety of types of valves and drives allows us to create very simple and complex installations at the same time.
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