AKO UK Pinch Valves improve customers working performance by increasing running time.

Abrasive Media conveyed through Valves

A profile cutting shop based in the UK, also carrying out precision machining, welding & fabrication are using AKO’s compact and lightweight plastic Pinch Valve with screwed BSP end connections for their waterjet cutting application.

The application involves feeding abrasive media to a waterjet cutting machine.

pinch valve for garnet on waterjet cutting machine
pinch valve for garnet hopper

Application Details

The 80Mesh garnet (a group of silicate minerals) is passing through the VMP type Pinch Valve at 2 – 2.5 BAR and is ambient temperature. The Pinch Valve is positioned below a 1 tonne bulk supply hopper, and is installed in the normally open position. The valve is used to regulate the flow of Garnet to the cutting head. A signal is sent from the PLC (programmable logic controller) when the bottom pressure vessel is out of abrasive media. This then depressurises the valve, allowing it to open and feed abrasive media back into the system. The fill time is around 20 seconds.

The number of cycles that the Pinch Valve performs per day varies due to the work load, but is usually approximately between 200 to 400 cycles. There is no degree of vacuum used within this application, and 6 BAR is being used to shut off the Pinch Valve.

Pinch Valve used within this application – VMP025.03X.72

VMP model, air operated, POM body, POM BSP internal thread end connections, natural rubber sleeve.

AKO Advisory

After realising this company’s application details, and noting that they are closing the valve off with 6 BAR., we advised that only 2 – 2.5 BAR above the line pressure is required to fully shut off AKO valves. Since the line pressure of the Garnet is only between 2 – 2.5 BAR, then only 5 BAR maximum should be needed to close the valve. We recommended regulating the closing pressure down, which will help prolong the lifetime of the rubber sleeve slightly.
The company mentioned that the body of the valve periodically becomes worn due to the abrasive flow. Since they are using AKO’s plastic VMP type Pinch Valve, we then offered AKO’s VMC type Pinch Valve – an aluminium bodied valve with stainless steel threaded ends that would be a lot more robust for this particular application and should save the company money in the long run.
Pinch Valves for Garnet Experience

The above mentioned company have been using the VMP plastic Pinch Valve for garnet for 4 years. An AKO Pinch Valve was supplied as a standard fitment with their new waterjet machine and they have maintained it ever since. The profile cutting company are satisfied with the performance of the Pinch Valve overall, and are going to look into the option of the VMC model which will be more suitable for the abrasive application.

Success of Switching from Butterfly Valve to Pinch Valve

AKO UK got in touch with another customer using the same AKO Pinch Valve for the same application, who said that they were originally using butterfly valves which would clog with the abrasive garnet media and that butterfly valves are more expensive to replace. As they are using abrasive media, they do expect the valves to wear out over time, but they expressed that they found the Pinch Valve the easiest to control the flow.

They realised that the Pinch Valve was the best option for their application because of the ease and speed of the installation, as well as the fact that they are inexpensive to replace. They also find that AKO Pinch Valves require zero maintenance, and have fast availability from AKO UK.

Depending on their workload, the rubber sleeve inside the valve for garnet is replaced every 12-24 months within this particular application.

“With the AKO Pinch Valve on our system, we have now increased the running time from our bulk feed hoppers from 8 hours to 40 hours before the need to fill the system.”

– Neil Morris, Machining Specialist.

waterjet cutting machine
valve on waterjet cutting machine

Experts in Valves for Garnet in Waterjet Cutting

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