eBook: Automating Manufacturing Systems; with PLCs



The flow of fluids and air can be controlled with solenoid controlled valves. An example of a solenoid controlled valve is shown in Figure 56. The solenoid is mounted on the side. When actuated it will drive the central spool left. The top of the valve body has two ports that will be connected to a device such as a hydraulic cylinder. The bottom of the valve body has a single pressure line in the center with two exhausts to the side. In the top drawing the power flows in through the center to the right hand cylinder port. The left hand cylinder port is allowed to exit through an exhaust port. In the bottom drawing the solenoid is in a new position and the pressure is now applied to the left hand port on the top, and the right hand port can exhaust. The symbols to the left of the figure show the schematic equivalent of the actual valve positions. Valves are also available that allow the valves to be blocked when unused.

Figure 56 A Solenoid Controlled 5 Ported, 4 Way 2 Position Valve

Valve types are listed below. In the standard terminology, the 'n-way' designates the number of connections for inlets and outlets. In some cases there are redundant ports for exhausts. The normally open/closed designation indicates the valve condition when power is off. All of the valves listed are two position valve, but three position valves are also available.

2-way normally closed - these have one inlet, and one outlet. When unenergized, the valve is closed. When energized, the valve will open, allowing flow. These are used to permit flows.
2-way normally open - these have one inlet, and one outlet. When unenergized, the valve is open, allowing flow. When energized, the valve will close. These are used to stop flows. When system power is off, flow will be allowed.
3-way normally closed - these have inlet, outlet, and exhaust ports. When unenergized, the outlet port is connected to the exhaust port. When energized, the inlet is connected to the outlet port. These are used for single acting cylinders.
3-way normally open - these have inlet, outlet and exhaust ports. When unenergized, the inlet is connected to the outlet. Energizing the valve connects the outlet to the exhaust. These are used for single acting cylinders
3-way universal - these have three ports. One of the ports acts as an inlet or outlet, and is connected to one of the other two, when energized/unenergized. These can be used to divert flows, or select alternating sources.
4-way - These valves have four ports, two inlets and two outlets. Energizing the valve causes connection between the inlets and outlets to be reversed. These are used for double acting cylinders.

Some of the ISO symbols for valves are shown in Figure 57. When using the symbols in drawings the connections are shown for the unenergized state. The arrows show the flow paths in different positions. The small triangles indicate an exhaust port.

Figure 57 ISO Valve Symbols

When selecting valves there are a number of details that should be considered, as listed below.

pipe size - inlets and outlets are typically threaded to accept NPT (national pipe thread).
flow rate - the maximum flow rate is often provided to hydraulic valves.
operating pressure - a maximum operating pressure will be indicated. Some valves will also require a minimum pressure to operate.
electrical - the solenoid coil will have a fixed supply voltage (AC or DC) and current.
response time - this is the time for the valve to fully open/close. Typical times for valves range from 5ms to 150ms.
enclosure - the housing for the valve will be rated as,
type 1 or 2 - for indoor use, requires protection against splashes
type 3 - for outdoor use, will resists some dirt and weathering
type 3R or 3S or 4 - water and dirt tight
type 4X - water and dirt tight, corrosion resistant

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