AKO UK supply their reliable pinch valve products to a company manufacturing moulds and final products for large camera stands that are seen on television news shows, as well as taps and ball valves.
They have been using AKO Pinch Valves (VF050-03X-31-30LA) for over 25 years, and were recommended to use AKO products by a similar foundry. This company originally found AKO after purchasing a machine from an Original Equipment Manufacturer with an AKO pinch valve installed on it. Since then, they have been purchasing valves and spares direct from AKO UK.
The media going through AKO pinch valves is sand at 25-40 degrees C, flowing through at a pressure of 2.5 BAR. The valves are installed high up in line, and kept normally open. 60 cycles per day are operated. There is 5 BAR air pressure being used to shut off the pinch valves.
The rubber sleeves inside the valves for sand foundry are replaced between every 6 months to 5 years, depending on how often they are used and where the valves are positioned in the plant.
Accessories such as solenoid valves, pressure switches and regulators are used on site.
Clive Essex, the site manager, is more keen on repairing the existing valves rather than purchasing brand new valves which will save him money. There is now a potential for the foundry to be using stainless steel bushings on the flanges of the VF type valves, rather than mild steel – this will help with abrasion from the sand.
The sand foundry have used butterfly valves in the past. However, the butterfly valves clogged up and one of the valves had a blockage in the pipe. The blockage was so bad that the restriction of the disc would not allow the product to pass through.