Pneumatics & Hydraulics


Protect machines with soft-start valves

February 2021 Pneumatics & Hydraulics

Optimising machine productivity can be achieved by operating 24/7, running production lines at maximum throughput or minimising machine downtime by regularly scheduled maintenance and repair.

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

One solution is to slow the increase in air pressure into the machine until a pre-set air pressure threshold is achieved, before fully pressurising the machine’s air system. This helps avoid a harsh start and facilitate a soft start of all downstream components. The advantage is 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 against a runaway cylinder.

SMC’s soft startup valve, the AV series, will gradually increase system air pressure until 50% of the incoming pressure is achieved, then its main valve will open to complete full pressurisation.

Other features include:

• Operating pressure: 0,2-1 MPa.

• Voltage: 12, 24 V DC; 100, 110-120, 200, 220 V AC.

• Flow direction: left to right, right to left.

• Modular assembly with FRL units.


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