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Protect Machines from Premature Wear with Soft-Start Valves

  • Jun 11, 2020, 13:51 PM

Optimizing machine productivity can manifest itself in many different forms such as: operating 24/7, running production lines at maximum throughput or minimizing machine downtime. One way to reduce machine downtime is by increasing its overall lifecycle or by extending the interval between regularly scheduled maintenance and repair.

A machine is subject to additional stress and risks to premature wear when it is powered up and pressurized with compressed air after a scheduled shut-down or a safety event because the surge in air pressure will create rapid movements in the actuators and that can cause premature wear or may even escalate into a hazardous situation.

One solution is to slowly and incrementally increase the air pressure into the machine until a preset air pressure threshold is achieved before fully pressurizing the machine’s air system to help avoid a harsh start and facilitate a soft-start to all downstream components. The advantages will be that downstream components will move slowly
into position allowing opposing air pressure to accumulate in the actuators in order to create enough air volume to meter out and protect from a runaway cylinder.

A soft start valve releases tiny bits of air, in small increments, so that the cylinders can start spinning and adjusting their positions slowly. They can assume their starting points, without risk of damage. The speed can make all the difference between a safe stop and a preventable emergency. 

Soft start valves can assist in emergency-stopping and restarting machines. The physics is similar to how car brakes if they stop abruptly, can cause a rapid forward motion. The valves slow down air flow enough to keep cylinders from spinning too fast and causing internal or external damage to the machine.

As you can see, having a soft start valve will assist you in operating pneumatic machines safely, because of the brakes that it applies to air pressure. You have many good reasons to get one, including the safety factor. Reducing future repairs also helps with setting budgets. When you purchase a soft start valve, you are investing in your workshop’s future.

Finding The Right Soft Start Valves For Your Machines
You believe in a workspace where the machines function regularly and do not cause harm to you and your employees or contractors. Also, you want to reduce the necessary repairs as much as possible, so that you can keep working and finish your projects. Having a soft valve will prevent injury to yourself or other people as well as cylinder damage to your machines.

SMC has the valves you need for installation and implementation. The Solenoid Actuated Dump Valve comes in six sizes and types, which should adjust well to your machines. It has a pressure range of 27 to 145 PSI. In addition, ambient and fluid temperature runs between 32 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit (0 to 60 degrees Celsius). 

Each dump valve can also accommodate to your electricity needs and expectations. Coil voltage includes the following: 100, 200, 110 to 120, 220 VAC (50/60 Hz), 240 VAC (50/60 Hz) 12, 24 VDC. The valves only need 1.8 watts of power, and you can choose an optional indicator light or voltage suppressor.

For more information about Soft Start Valves or prolonging the life of your pneumatic system, contact us today!