Whatever the circuit type, be it electrical or hydraulic, the interconnecting lines in that circuit can’t work without control elements. Switches and transistors take up this duty in voltage-regulated circuits. In hydraulic/pneumatic applications, valves take their place. This is fluid control technology, not electric current, but the ruling principles are similar. For valves, pressures and fluid flow directions are controlled. With manifold valves, these functions bridge to deliver even more system operability.
Deconstructing Fluid Control Manifold Valves
Done with energy comparisons for the moment, let’s break down a hydraulic manifold block. Maybe it’s been rejected for some unknown reason, or maybe it’s a leftover from a finished repair project. Whatever the reason, it’s not being used, so it’s been volunteered as a test piece for this article. The device does indeed look rather blocky, although it’s dotted in porting apertures, too. Essentially, it’s a modular construct, which combines a select number of fluid controlling elements into a single housing. Consequently, the block consumes less space than a similarly equipped valve array. As a result of the component shrinkage, of the design consolidation, there’s also a drop in part’s costs. That, of course, is just the beginning. What about all the energy reduction benefits?
Single Body Configuration Benefits
Think about the different forces that push and pull at each other when valve arrays are mounted on mobile hydraulics equipment. Then there are common system energy losses to offset. Designers find clever ways to bypass such issues, but they never disappear, not completely. By installing a manifold valve, a mobile equipment rig does indeed benefit from a reduction in allocated device space. More relevantly, however, the common external porting arrangements connect to shorter flow pathways. Following on from this design, common system architectures combine inside the device blocks to minimize likely valving pressure drops. As an upshot of the consolidated design, heat losses are minimized too. Finally, going back to the universal modular architecture, manifold blocks are available as easy-to-replace cartridges, which are so much more compact than a discrete valving package.
Modular valves are equipment node prodigies; at least that’s how their designers view them. As mobile hydraulic apparatus operators and owners have come to learn, those valves are feature-rich devices. Manifold valves are the very embodiment of this space-saving, energy-maximizing rule. They integrate different valving functions. Whether it’s the shorter flow paths, the universal porting arrangements, or the knowledge that they require far less upkeep, manifold valves really do earn their keep. Commonly made out of 316 grade stainless steel, two-way, three-way, and five-way manifolds suit every industrial and commercial application.
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