Pneumatic valve terminal
Product Exclusive: Festo’s new VTUG Pneumatic Valve Terminal delivers high-performance in a compact, low-cost unit, with many control options for machine builders and end users seeking greater flexibility.
The new compact, low-cost VTUG pneumatic valve terminal from Festo offers flexibility in the choice of control options, including simplified field bus connectivity, and many other performance benefits for machine builders and end users in high-volume industries.
The VTUG is designed for food, beverage, packaging, electronics, semiconductor, and light assembly industries where low cost and assured performance (high flow rate, small footprint, and long cycle life) is essential. Compact, lightweight VTUG aluminum manifold and valve housings can be mounted in cabinets, on machines, and on robotic end effectors. The VTUG valve terminal is also ideal for compact pilot valve applications when using an available dual 3/2-way function valve to accommodate from 4 to 48 solenoids.
The VTUG is said to be ideal for the machine builder that wants to standardize on one valve terminal and offer customers control options from conventional multi-pin up to fieldbus. The original VUVG design, introduced in early 2011, included the “E-Box” approach for electrical connectivity, allowing users to stock one valve body and choose from many designs to match application needs. Each E-Box uses a different electrical connector (such as Festo connectors, standard M8 connector, and other choices). Flexible design philosophy allows the user to select a desired communication preference for the VTUG valve terminal and modify it in the future. The VTUG valve terminal can be controlled through a multi-pin connector, one cable IO-link interface to a master controller, or through Festo’s new CTEU fieldbus module to DeviceNet, EtherCAT, CANopen, Profibus, and several other protocols. Multi-pin and I/O link modules are available as spare parts to easily convert existing valve terminal configurations, ensuring flexible communications.
VTUG is Festo’s most cost-effective and simplest to apply universal valve manifold. The company reduced costs by using the latest technology, design concepts, and production techniques from existing valve series, such as the VUVG. Each valve body shares similar internal VUVG designs so the same tooling can be used to produce both valve types. The valves also share the same cartridge seal design, common to many Festo valves. Finally, solenoids used were taken from Festo’s existing VTOC valve line, all adding to greater economies of scale.
Cartridge seal design allows for reversible operation, two-pressure operation in one valve—one valve can produce a vacuum and positive pressure for greater flexibility. Cartridge seal’s design, proven in other products, has demonstrated a long service life, Festo said.
Terminal design simplifies modifications, replacing faulty valves or exchanging existing valves for those with other functions. Using a captive screw design and defined gasket compression makes the exchange of valves simple and low risk. Unique, self-locking plugs can be set in the manifold to enable on-the-go pressure zone modification.
These valves are suitable for low- and high-pressure operation, up to 10 bar. High pressure minimizes the size of actuation cylinders. Smaller cylinders reduce overall cost and improve compressed airflow, increasing machine performance.
Festo’s integrated “current reduction” technology lowers overall energy consumption and enables 100% duty cycle performance by decreasing current draw after the first few milliseconds the solenoid is energized. Another benefit of reduced current draw is that less heat is generated within the valve, to extend service life. An air spring return system (instead of mechanical spring) provides for a more balanced overall switching time within the valve and decreases production costs by eliminating the need for wearing parts.
The new VTUG from Festo proves to be one of the most economic and reliable solutions for high-volume applications where performance is required, but cost effectiveness is key, the company said.
- Edited by Mark T. Hoske, content manager CFE Media, Control Engineering and Plant Engineering, email@example.com.
Annual Salary Survey
After almost a decade of uncertainty, the confidence of plant floor managers is soaring. Even with a number of challenges and while implementing new technologies, there is a renewed sense of optimism among plant managers about their business and their future.
The respondents to the 2014 Plant Engineering Salary Survey come from throughout the U.S. and serve a variety of industries, but they are uniform in their optimism about manufacturing. This year’s survey found 79% consider manufacturing a secure career. That’s up from 75% in 2013 and significantly higher than the 63% figure when Plant Engineering first started asking that question a decade ago.