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Efficient control of hydraulic systems with proportional valves

Proportional valves are used for the precision control of hydraulic systems, especially in demanding areas such as mechanical engineering or mobile hydraulics. ARGO-HYTOS, your partner for hydraulic technology, offers a wide range of proportional valves for high-precision control under variable conditions.

Proportional valves enable the fine adjustment of pressure and flow. Thanks to their ability to react quickly to dynamic load changes, they make a significant contribution to increasing efficiency and optimizing machine performance. Find out in this article what advantages proportional valves from ARGO-HYTOS can offer your company.

The advantages of proportional valves

In contrast to conventional switching valves, which only operate in open or closed states, proportional valves offer the option of adopting any intermediate position. This feature makes them a valuable component for the precise adjustment of pressure and volume flow to different operating situations.

The efficient control of hydraulic systems with proportional valves depends on several critical factors. Firstly, the accuracy of the valve control is crucial to ensure an optimal response to load changes. Secondly, the dynamic characteristics of the hydraulic system, such as response time and sensitivity of the control elements, play an essential role in overall efficiency.

With the best possible integration capability of the valves into existing system architectures, seamless function is ensured without extensive adjustments. Proportional valves from ARGO-HYTOS reduce operating costs, improve machine performance and extend the service life of the systems.

Choosing the right proportional valve for optimum system performance

Choosing the right proportional valve is crucial for the performance of hydraulic systems. Which valve is the right one for a specific application depends largely on the individual requirements.

Proportional valves can be divided into different categories, including:

  • Proportional directional control valves
  • Flow control valves
  • Pressure control valves
  • 2- and 3-way pressure compensators, which are available from ARGO-HYTOS in built-in and modular design

Proportional directional control valves such as PRM2-04 provide precise control over the position and speed of actuators in a hydraulic system. These valves are ideal for applications that require sensitive control.

Flow control valves such as the SF32P-C3/H are designed to maintain constant flow regardless of pressure fluctuations. This is particularly useful in systems with variable loads.

Pressure control valves such as SR1P2-A2 play a central role in maintaining a constant pressure in a hydraulic circuit. This is true even when load conditions change.

The selection of the right valve type should not only take into account the specific requirements of the application. The ambient conditions under which the valve is operated must also be considered.

How do you determine the correct dimensioning of a hydraulic valve?

The dimensioning of a hydraulic valve is directly dependent on the pressure and volume flow in the application. To ensure the optimum performance of a hydraulic system, the valve must be precisely matched to the actual requirement.

The volume flow that is to flow through the valve largely determines the size of the valve. The pressure that the system must withstand, in turn, influences the choice of material and the design of the valve.

In addition to the specific requirements of the application, users should also consider the ambient conditions such as temperature, contamination and humidity under which the valve will be operated.

With ARGO-HYTOS proportional valves, you can rely on advanced technology and high-quality materials. This ensures that the valves function reliably and deliver precise results even under the harshest conditions.

How is a proportional valve controlled?

A proportional valve is usually controlled by an electromagnetic control unit. It is either integrated into the valve (on board) or mounted externally in a control cabinet. These configurations offer flexible solutions for different industrial applications and make it possible to adapt the control of the valve to specific operating conditions.

Modern control systems offer both analog and digital control options. They ensure precise control over the valve functions and facilitate integration into complex machine systems.

The ability to communicate via CANopen significantly extends the functionality of the valves. The interface enables seamless networking and communication between the various components of a hydraulic system. CANopen is particularly efficient in automated environments where fast and reliable data transmission is required.

There are three different control concepts for proportional valves:

  • Systems without feedback
  • Systems with internal feedback via a valve position sensor
  • Systems with external feedback, where a sensor measures the controlled parameter in the circuit

Systems without feedback are often simpler and cheaper, but offer less precision. Internal feedback improves the accuracy of valve positioning. And external feedback provides the highest control accuracy by adjusting the performance of the system in real time. Each of these concepts has its specific advantages and disadvantages and must be selected according to the requirements of the specific application.

Why is regular maintenance of proportional valves important?

The maintenance and servicing of valves and hydraulic systems ensures a long service life and long-term fault-free operation. Regular inspections ensure that the systems function optimally and that potential failures can be detected and avoided at an early stage.

In particular, compliance with the hydraulic media standards is of crucial importance. Hydraulic oils of classes HM and HV according to ISO 6743-4 should be used,

  • to ensure the best properties for operation under variable temperatures and,
  • to maximize the aging resistance of the oil.

In addition, the cleanliness of the hydraulic oil must be taken into account in accordance with the ISO 4406 standard. A minimum oil cleanliness class of 19/16/13 must be maintained. The cleanliness classes are important in order to minimize the accumulation of particles in the system. These could otherwise lead to wear or blockages in the hydraulic components.

By adhering to these standards and carrying out regular checks, expensive repairs and system failures can be avoided. Companies that implement proactive maintenance strategies benefit from greater reliability of their machines. They also enjoy an improvement in operational efficiency and an extension of the overall service life of their equipment. Investing in regular maintenance is therefore a critical factor for the long-term reliable, economical operation of hydraulic systems.

What challenges arise when controlling with hydraulic proportional valves?

The control of proportional valves in hydraulic systems poses several challenges. One of the main factors is the sensitivity of the valves to the effects of temperature and contamination. Temperature fluctuations can change the viscosity of the hydraulic oil, which affects the responsiveness and performance of the valve. Contamination in the system can lead to wear and blockages, which further impair functionality.

In addition, proportional valves require a more complex control strategy compared to conventional switching valves. This complexity results from the need to define precise control parameters that are tailored to the specific requirements of the application. Vibrations and instabilities caused by external factors and influences can further complicate control quality. They require robust control mechanisms and precise calibration of the systems.

Discover the possibilities of hydraulic proportional valves from ARGO-HYTOS

ARGO-HYTOS is your competent partner when it comes to reliability and efficiency in sustainable hydraulic systems. Rely on our solutions that are specially tailored to your individual needs. To ensure that you find the optimum solution for your requirements, please get in touch with our team of experts. Simply use our contact form for a personal consultation.

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