A solenoid is a metal coil which can be magnetized into an electromechanical device, moving valve parts when triggered electrically. Not all pneumatic valves are controlled by solenoids, but those that are solenoid are controlled remotely through sensors, electrical triggers, or hysteresis (programmable device memory).
The many different types of solenoid valves have varied configurations and actuation methods. Pneumatic solenoid valves are one of the most common types and are used to regulate the flow of air and other gasses through the use of diaphragms and gas pressure. While some pneumatic valves regulate air or gas flow at relatively normal pressures, other pneumatic valves are designed to output gas at extremely high pressures.
Pneumatic valves can also be referred to as gas solenoid valves, solenoid air valves, or just air valves. Pneumatic solenoid valves are used widely for many different industries, and applications may include compressed air-powered tools such as jackhammers and nail guns, vacuums, ventilation systems, laser printers, and medical and dental air-powered equipment.
Because strong force can be largely self-generated within pneumatic valve chambers, pneumatic valves are valued for their low energy requirement. Pneumatic air valves are also considered cleaner and lower maintenance than many fluid valves.
Many industries rely on proportional solenoid valves to accurately regulate fluid, gas, and air flow to and from components in a wide range of applications. These valves may be constructed from plastic or metal such as stainless steel. Pneumatic air valves are convenient for multiple-line valves since air can be easily compressed and directed to different outlets, and solenoid pilots make applications like space heating easy to automate, activate, or trigger remotely. Another variable is the power source, such as a 12 volt battery.
Pneumatic valves that use solenoids are often called “piloted valves” since they are actually a combination of a pneumatic valve and a small piloting solenoid vent chamber. The pneumatic valve chamber is designed similarly to normal pneumatics chambers, with a diaphragm sealing the valve with the help of air pressure within the input chamber; the solenoid operates a small vent chamber, venting the chamber when triggered and causing the pneumatic chamber to change pressure and allow flow. The pneumatic solenoid valve functions through changes in gas pressure activated remotely by the solenoid.
While some pneumatic valves regulate air or gas flow at relatively normal pressures, such as in home heating and cooling, other pneumatic valves are designed to output gas at extremely high pressures. These types of high-pressure releasing valves are often used to power tools such as jackhammers, guns, riveters, and power cleaners.