Case Study | Casting Ceramic Fiber
Application: Dosing Valve for Casting Ceramic Crucibles to Molton Super Alloys (Abrasive Materials)
Description: AKO Pinch Valves Used for Casting
Valves Used: Type VMP (VMP25.03XK.72NPT- 1” diameter Pinch Valve)
Casting companies often utilize pinch valves to control the flow of abrasive product into a casting molds. In this particular application, 80 pinch valves are utilized on each automated casting machine to dose powdered alloys and other abrasive components into casting cavities. Pinch valves are also air tight valves that can hold a complete vacuum when closed, since they can be 100% air tight and do not wear or lead like ball valves or slide gates.
This application is demanding! Due to the abrasive nature of the materials and the high actuation frequency demanded by the filling application. Ball valves and even other competitor pinch valves have failed in this application and machine downtime and operating efficiencies have suffered.
In 2018, one complete machine was fitted with AKO VMP series pinch valves (over 80 valves per machine) and the results are in:
- 1 year life cycle (and counting) vs. the previous ~2 week life cycle of the competitor pinch valves and ball valves;
- Near zero machine down time associated with valve failures and operating efficiencies were drastically improved from less than 95% to over 99.8% .
- Ball Valves and competitor pinch valves were completely removed from all existing machines due to premature socket wear and high failure rates;
- The entire fleet of machines was retrofit with AKO pinch valves to improve OEE and operating efficiencies.
The success of the AKO series valves was due in large part to the fiber reinforced, abrasive resistant natural rubber sleeves specified and specifically made by AKO. These sleeves when fit with the proper pinch valve bodies proved to withstand the high cycle rates and abrasive material aspects of this application.
The VMP Pinch Valves are appropriate for casting applications with abrasive properties. The VMP Series are available in the following bore sizes, 10mm to 50mm. The VMP Series valve is versatile and compact unit, not only suitable for casting application but many other industries. There are many types of sleeves (Natural Rubber, EPDM, Silicone, Viton and Nitrile) which make this valve a good option. Also, FDA approved sleeves can be requested.
The VMP Series valve is made up of 3 components, valve body, connection ends and sleeve. The sleeve is typically the only part that needs to be replaced. The sleeves can be replaced on-site in less than 15 minutes. The sleeve lifespan is determined by the number of cycles, abrasion of the material, and material pressure. The sleeves can last up to 500,000 – 750,000 cycles.