23 Jul 2024


Digital proportional valves are `a world first`

Digital proportional valves are `a world first`

Norgren claims to have developed the world`s first completely digital proportional valves. Unveiling them at the recent Hanover Fair, the company claimed that they represented “the next generation of proportional valve”.

For the first time, users can program valves off-line to precise specifications, avoiding the need to set them up after they have been installed, and saving time when maintenance is needed. Fine tuning of the valves can be carried out on line.

The digital electronics is said to ensure that the valves operate accurately at any speed and in any position. They can respond in less than 100ms to a 10-90% step change and are said to be ideal for points in the production process where accuracy and high-speed changes are needed. Norgren is aiming the valves, in particular, at printing, packaging, textile and adhesive applications.

Each valve has a unique “signature”, allowing it to be identified, its settings recorded and its performance monitored. The valves can be linked to a field bus, allowing data to be displayed via a PLC. There are also built-in LEDs to indicate changes in outlet pressure and tolerance limit settings.

The valves can be programmed in imperial or metric measurements using a choice of five languages. They are available in a choice of three diameters for pressure control (VP51) and two sizes for flow control (VP60).

Also at Hanover, Norgren unveiled a wide-ranging family called Smart Suite (shown above) that, it claims, heralds a new era pneumatics. The suite spans key pneumatic functions from air preparation, to pressure and vacuum control and actuation.

Chris Bramley, Norgren`s technical director and the man behind Smart Suite, says its will make pneumatics easier to install as well as leading to a better use of machines and reduced downtime.

One element of the Smart Suite is a cylinder which Norgren claims is the first integrated actuator to comply with VDMA and IP66 standards and to be interchangeable with other VDMA actuators with bore sizes from 32-100mm. It contains its own valve and solenoids, and fieldbus connections that allow remote diagnostics. The Smart cylinder is available in stroke lengths up to 1m and achieves a top speed of 1.5m/s.

Another element in the suite is what Norgren claims is the first microprocessor-controlled programmable proportional valve with integrated DeviceNet to provide diagnostics. The other components are: intelligent valves that can predict impending failure; a vacuum generating system that saves energy by maintaining the vacuum required in the cups; and an “intelligent” FRL (filtering, regulating and lubricating) system which warns the operators when items, such as filters, are outside their normal operating limits, and need to be replaced or serviced.