Keep your solenoid valves clean

Solenoid valves are a critical component of any fluid management system, but because they’re typically a smaller, less discussed component, they sometimes get overlooked during the maintenance process.

However, these components need to be kept clean so that they can keep your system running efficiently. Like any other industrial component, valve performance can be negatively impacted by contamination.

Consider the following example:

An operator ran several Cincinnati machine tools with newly installed valves. However, the machines’ solenoid valves were regularly operating at elevated temperatures of more than 150 degrees Fahrenheit. Several of the dump and relief valves were operating at even higher temperatures of more than 160 degrees Fahrenheit.

Upon closer inspection, it was clear that the increased operating temperature resulted from partially hung solenoid valves caused by contamination.

Contamination can cause a solenoid valve to stick. When that happens, the coil attempts to shift the valve and meets resistance. The coil compensates for this by feeding additional current until it senses a shift in the valve. The increase in current causes the additional heat in the coil/valve, and when the temperature of the coil exceeds 150 degrees Fahrenheit, the epoxy wire coating begins to melt which eventually causes the mechanism to short out.

Partially hung valves are a significant maintenance problem, as they require frequent replacement. Additionally, hung valves add to the time required to produce parts, which can in turn add up and cost significant dollars over the long-term.

To reduce contamination in these valves, you can implement ongoing system filtration, which will help keep the system clean, ultimately extending component life and improving part productivity rates.