Solenoid Valves Scaling Down Solenoid Valves Without Reducing Flowrates

Editor: Dr. Jörg Kempf

Over the course of their long existence solenoid valves have developed slowly but continuously so that they are opening up new fields of application. Today they are a central element in controlling fluids in a broad spectrum of different applications. One of the newer areas of application is in the life sciences. A new actuation technology now allows a significant reduction in size with no loss of performance.

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TwinPower type 6624 and 6626 miniature solenoid valves are winners thanks to their combination of high actuator power with compact design. (Picture: Bürkert)
TwinPower type 6624 and 6626 miniature solenoid valves are winners thanks to their combination of high actuator power with compact design. (Picture: Bürkert)

Modern analytical instruments are used in areas such as clinical chemistry, environmental analysis and food safety. Fluids play a central part in many of these processes — either as samples to be examined or in the form of reagents, washing solutions or buffers required for the analysis. And valves are needed to control these fluids.

The development of new analytical and laboratory instruments follows a trend towards miniaturization. Compact devices with lower volumes require not only less space but also smaller quantities of reagents. In view of the sometimes very high prices of these substances, compact instruments can therefore help to save costs. Smaller instruments also open up new areas of application. The reduced space requirements mean that they no longer have to be set up in large labs; instead, they can now be closer to the location where the sample is taken. For medical applications this can mean analysis right in the doctor’s office or even in an ambulance. The result is faster diagnosis, which in turn can allow faster treatment and better chances of recovery for the patient. This improves the quality of medical care while at the same time reducing costs.

New Valve Principles Meet Higher Standards

Valve technology for this area of application has to meet high standards. The valves should always be media-separated — this is the only way to prevent the medium from being contaminated by lubricants, for example, which would distort the results of the analysis. In the life sciences or the chemical industry, it also prevents damage to the valve from chemically aggressive media.

The most widespread valve principle used in the life sciences is the time-tested rocker technology. This design is characterized by good flushing properties, high reliability and back-pressure resistance, as well as a low pumping effect due to a constant volume in the fluid chamber. In addition, rocker valves feature a high degree of flexibility and adaptability to a wide range of fluid requirements. The valves can be customized at the factory with a choice of construction materials, fluid interfaces and user-specific mounting variants. In addition, the internal volume of the valves can be optimized.

With the new Type 6624 and 6626 valves Bürkert has gone one step further. The TwinPower technology used in these valves continues the trend toward miniaturization in the area of lab and analytical instruments, providing users and OEMs with valves that have the same performance as their predecessors yet are up to 50 percent smaller.