Pneumatic valves have come a long way since the development of the compressor more than a century ago and it can be a real challenge to ensure you’re taking full advantage of the latest development for your organization.
The valves on today’s market are smaller, faster and more advanced than their predecessors and offer many advantages and opportunities for organizations that can be easily overlooked. Here are three ways to adopt the latest advances in pneumatic valve technology.
1. Choose components that adhere to ISO valve standards
ISO International Standards ensure that products are safe, reliable and of good quality, helping to deliver increased customer satisfaction through consistent quality. ISO standards can also be used strategically by businesses to help reduce costs through improved systems and processes, minimize waste and errors, and increase productivity.
ISO valve standards were initiated on to proprietary designed valves more than 20 years ago, including Parker’s H Series 15407 and 5599, and more recently on to collective wiring solutions. Both end users and OEMs can benefit from significant cost reductions from multi-supplier support, simplification of wiring and a decrease in unwanted machine downtime.
2. Opt for intelligent and simple wiring solutions
Utilizing collective wiring solutions provides an elegant mechanism to consolidate solenoid wiring into a single “collective” connection on the valve manifold. This method significantly reduces costs and complexity, as the valve manifold can be moved out of the control cabinet to the point-of-use application located near the pneumatic process, eliminating long tubing runs and delayed responses in operation.
When integrating a fieldbus solution, there is a sharp reduction in the number of components needed on the bill of material as junction boxes and control cabinets are reduced to simple connections. Now, two cables – one for communication and one for power – can handle the workload of hundreds. Large machines can be broken down for shipment and reassembled with an absolute minimum amount of labor since the wiring is bus connected with only two cables.
With fewer components in the system, electrical losses are reduced and overall energy efficiency is increased. Additionally, the reduction of wiring into a collective wiring solution offers a low probability of wiring errors. Combined with elimination of junction boxes and conduit runs, this translates into simplified engineering drawings saving additional unnecessary time.
3. Incorporate cloud-connected innovations
Incorporating a fieldbus solution, such as our industrial communication series, to control pneumatic valves could be the first step towards implementing intelligent, cloud-connected Industry 4.0 innovations on the assembly line. These solutions create an automated industrial network, specifically designed for communications between programmable logic controls (PLCs) via a communications system such as Ethernet.
With many end users adopting lean principles of manufacturing and continually striving to eliminate waste and improve material flow, collective wiring offers the additional benefit of easy relocation of manufacturing centers. With the elimination of junction boxes, disassembling a station can be as easy as disconnecting a few cord sets and reconnecting after the move. The control panel and overall machine size will be reduced because valve manifolds can be located conveniently around the machine, rather than in one large, central location.
The next time an opportunity to specify a pneumatic valve solution arises, consider specifying an ISO standard with integrated fieldbus. If rising labor costs and wiring complexity are causing increases in machine cost and maintenance complications, look into the ever-advancing capabilities of collective wiring solutions and diagnostic capabilities. Improved profitability and decreased machine build times are all possible with today’s pneumatic valve solutions.
Take advantage of the advances in pneumatic technology. Compare the features of pneumatic valve solutions to help you specify the right component for your application.
Article contributed by Patrick Berdal, product manager for Valves, Pneumatic Division Europe, Parker Hannifin Corporation.