Soft-start and exhaust valve ensures safety of pneumatics

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Soft-start and exhaust valve ensures safety of pneumaticsAs if it were not enough that machine builders will have to comply with the new Machinery Directive by the end of 2009, pressure is also increasing on those responsible for production to reduce the number of safety-related shutdowns to a minimum.

The Machinery Directive stipulates a risk analysis for machines and systems, as well as risk minimisation if applicable. Appropriate technical safety measures can be derived from the results, and further defined. Safe operation of the machine in all of its operating modes and service-life stages must be taken into consideration, including, for example, commissioning and automatic operation. Whatever the risk analysis reveals, Festo says it can provide suitable safety technology to ensure that machines comply with the standards and can be operated safely.

Safe pressurisation and exhaust

Where the safety of entire processes has to be ensured, it makes sense to take advantage of the MS6-SV soft-start and exhaust valve, which serves as a decentralised/centralised unit for supplying machines and systems with compressed air. The 3/2-way valve vents the system in critical safety areas in the event of an emergency stop. Exhaust performance amounts to 6000 litres per minute, which is 1.5 times pressurisation performance and, therefore, highly suitable for implementing 'emergency stop' functions in safety-critical system areas. The valve can be connected, for example, to a safety guard at an assembly station; if an employee opens the guard, the pressurised system is vented.

The MS6-SV soft-start and exhaust valve is a high-reliability, self-testing mechatronic system with built-in redundancy (dual valves); it complies with the requirements of ISO 13849-1 and has been certified to Performance Level e (Safety Category 3 and 4 of EN 954-1). Customers wishing to achieve Performance Level e only need to purchase a single unit to do so, and the pneumatic safety measure of reliable venting is ensured even if defects occur within the valve. Moreover, the valve components' positions are checked automatically at power-up and hourly thereafter. Overall system safety is further enhanced by the MS6-SV's soft-start function whereby the gradual - and adjustable - pressurisation of the system ensures that pre-exhausted actuators move steadily to their start positions without shocks or impacts that could damage machinery or injure operators.

All MS6-SV valves feature an integral LED status display for local condition monitoring, diagnostics and troubleshooting. Configuration options include an easy-to-read built-in pressure gauge, and an exhaust silencer that acts as a safety device in its own right - it features a labyrinth design with a minimum internal bore size of 4mm to preserve air flow even in the presence of heavy contamination.

Festo's MS6-SV valves can be combined with the company's complete MS range of configurable air service and preparation units to create ready-assembled and tested compressed air safety systems that help machine designs comply with the requirements of EN ISO 13849-1.

Follow the link for more information about the MS6-SV soft-start and exhaust valve.

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