How to choose solenoid valve
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Solenoid valves come in different types, with different specifications to match specific applications. With these many differences, it’s possible to install an incompatible solenoid valve if care is not taken when choosing the type to use.

That’s what this article helps you to avoid. It contains valuable information on the factors to consider when choosing the solenoid valve and the mistakes to stay clear of.

Without further ado, let’s start with the essential considerations when selecting a solenoid valve.


1. Type of Medium

Solenoid valves are made from different materials. It can be plastic, steel, brass, and sometimes bronze or aluminum. These materials have different chemical properties and will resist corrosion differently.

When choosing the type of solenoid valve to use, it’s essential that you consider the material that makes it and its compatibility with the media to be regulated.

Plastic is known to withstand various types of media. However, it performs poorly if the medium is too hot.

For hot fluids, metal solenoid valves are better. Fluids that contain acidic compounds or alkalis need compatible materials for the valve.

In that case,  Brass doesn’t resist the corrosive action of acids and some salts unless it’s plated with nickel. An oil solenoid valve needs to be resistant to oil, and a steam solenoid valve the effects of hot vapor.


2. Type of Environment

Type of Solenoid Valve Environment Applications
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Depending on the application, a solenoid valve will be exposed to specific surroundings- some harsh and others mild. An irrigation solenoid valve, for example, is likely to be exposed to the tough outdoor conditions.

That requires that it be made from materials that can withstand the environment. If looking for a sprinkler solenoid valve, you may want to choose one made from a sturdy and durable material such as metal.

Indoor environments can also be harsh or gentle. Some are hot and need a solenoid valve that can withstand the heat. Others will have corrosive substances around, and you need a valve material that can resist corrosion.

Explosive environments need an explosion-proof valve, while dusty conditions require you to choose a dust-proof valve

Moist environments or those that pose the solenoid valve to splashes need you to choose a higher IP rating for the valve. That ensures the valve can withstand the environment. The same case applies to a valve that will operate in submerged conditions.

In a nutshell, choose a valve that matches the operating environment. That means selecting not only quality ones but also the right materials.


3. Cost

Cost of Solenoid Valve
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Solenoid valves cost varies across models and brands. Several factors cause the differences, such as the material used, valve type, solenoid valve supplier rates, and more.

Usually, valve manufacturers set own prices which can be high or low. The solenoid valve price you choose should be based on adequate information and research.

High price tags mean quality materials that are also tougher. Go for that if looking for a top-class valve that will withstand tough conditions and last a long time.

If looking for a simple valve to regulate a mild fluid, you may not need to buy a solenoid valve that costs an arm and a leg. The advice is to go for expensive valves if necessary, such as when the valve needs to withstand tough conditions.

Otherwise, a moderately priced solenoid valve would do. While the materials to make these may not be tough, the environment they operate in and the type of media will not damage them easily.

Consider the best or most popular solenoid valve manufacturers and compare their products. An online search will bring the results of those brands, such as Asco solenoid valve, Burkert solenoid valve, SMC solenoid valve, and Festo solenoid valve brands.

These are the popular companies. Consider the emerging ones, too, and whose products are high-quality. They will often price their solenoid valves at a lower amount than the well known manufacturers.


4. Safety

This relates to the valve application, and how it will likely affect the set safety standards. Solenoid valves used to regulate beverages, for instance, need to conform to certain guidelines.

If looking for a food liquid line solenoid valve, ensure the material is completely safe. This applies to booth the valve body and the seal or membrane.

Stainless steel valves are the most recommended if fluids for human consumption is the type of media to be controlled.


5. Valve Specifications

Valve Specification

These are the requirements if the solenoid valve and the values that must not be exceeded or lowered. The specifications to pick depend on the usage of the valve as well as the conditions. They include:

1) Working principle

Solenoid valves exist in different types with different working mechanisms. There are the direct acting solenoid valve, semi-direct operated, and indirect or pilot operated solenoid valve.

Each type is suited for specific applications. Direct operated valves are suitable for situations where only shut off and opening is required and where little closing force is needed.

A pilot solenoid valve is most suited for larger flow lines and where immense closing forces are a necessity. A normally open solenoid valve is suitable if the valve is to remain open for most of the time. 

If the orifice only opens for a short time or less frequently, a normally closed solenoid valve is the most appropriate.


2) Voltage

Solenoid valves exist as AC and DC valves. Lower DC voltage valves are safer when compared to AC valves. However, they’re less powerful. Unless large valve closing forces are required, a simple 12V solenoid valve would suffice.

There are also powerful ones that used direct current, such as the 24-volt solenoid valve.


3) Valve size and threading

Compatibility is essential when selecting a solenoid valve. It makes installation easier and tightly secures the valve to the line. Solenoid valves usually come with female threads, but whose sizes vary.

Ensure you select the right one for your system. The valve size should match the flow capacity of the system.

If too low, it might not meet the flow requirements. A capacity that’s too large would serve no purpose and only wastes space.


4) Pressure range

This refers to the operating pressure of the solenoid valve. Exceeding the specified values can be dangerous. You risk damaging the valve, sometimes even bursting it.

Pressure values are different for different fluids. This makes the system pressure and the type of medium important considerations when choosing the right valve pressure values.


5) Temperature range

Consider the highest and lowest temperature levels of the valve. Indicated temperature ranges should not be exceeded. If too high, you may be looking to burn the valve’s coil.

Also, it’s advisable not to choose valves whose temperature range goes below 0°. It would make the device prone to freezing, which can lead to damage.


6) IP Rating

Short form of Ingress Protection,  the IP rating or code of a solenoid valve refers to its level of protection against harmful parts and substances.


It’s an international standard and usually a two-digit code. The first digit shows the protection against parts while the second indicates protection from water or moisture. 


7) Response time

Different solenoid valves have different response times. It depends on various factors, such as construction, size, coil characteristics, valve working mechanism and whether it’s a direct current or alternating current device.

Medium type and atmospheric pressure also determine the speed of the valve.

The response time of a direct acting solenoid valve is higher than that of a pilot operated solenoid valve. On the other hand, AC valves are faster than those that use direct current.

In some applications, it’s not good to fast response valves due to the problem of water hammer. A solenoid valve that’s too fast can also produce pressure waves, a situation that could result in damage to the system or pipes.


Conclusion

Solenoid valves perform important functions and having the right type for the specific application is necessary.

It ensures the valve works as required, prevents damage to the valve body or coil, and provides for safe operation.

The considerations discussed here should help you make a better decision when choosing a solenoid valve.

Remember, only the best valve for your specific application will perform as expected.

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