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Innovations to help bumper crop production
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Festo, the leading supplier of automation technology, has launched a new pneumatic pinch valve – the VZQA – which provides reliable control and shut off in food and drink production processes.  The valves are durable, energy efficient, easy to service, and flexible, thanks to their simple construction, and as a result provide a cost-effective alternative to conventional valves such as diaphragm and ball valves, says the company.

Festo’s VZQA pinch valves are a clean and technically straightforward solution for use with a wide range of media such as liquid, fibrous, particulates or granular substances.  They provide smooth media flow and as such they are ideal for optimising filling and metering systems as well as for use with suction and compressed gas controls.  In all applications, their compact design saves valuable installation space, which enables engineers to enhance the design of their process.
There are two versions of the pinch valve available: a normally open (N/O) version for media pressures from 0 – 4 bar and a unique, normally closed (N/C) version for media pressures from 0 – 6 bar.  By increasing or decreasing the pilot pressure, the valve’s sealing cartridge opens or shuts off the flow, as appropriate to the version, without any additional actuators and with no risk of blockage.

The VZQA pinch valve can be actuated with low operating pressures.  Depending on the medium and media pressure, an operating pressure of just 0.3 – 1 bar is sufficient in filling and metering applications to tightly shut off the media flow.
The high-performance valves are extremely easy to service which enables food processing managers to save downtime and associated costs, promises Festo.  The pinch valve’s sealing cartridge can be changed in just a few minutes in four simple steps and without special tools, and they can be cleaned easily in-situ thanks to their full media passage flow and very little dead space. The sealing cartridge is available in EPDM, NBR, EPDM-FPA and silicone to suit a wide range of demanding applications and media.

Made from aluminium or stainless steel, the pinch valves prove themselves in even the most challenging environments and the internal parts offer the same durability against aggressive media. Thanks to a patented sealing cartridge, the valves can withstand the very high demands in continuous daily operation, whether abrasive, corrosive, highly viscous or neutral media is used.

The free flow design of the VZQA pinch valves minimises flow resistance, reliably preventing them from becoming blocked or clogged and since they are operated directly via the pilot air signal, they are extremely cost effective,” says Steve Sands, product manager at Festo.  The new valves are available with different connections, housing materials and sealing components for a wide variety of configuration options to suit individual application requirements.

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