In the realm of mechanical automation, a pneumatic valve is used to create an automated flow through the opening and closing of the valve. A pneumatic valve utilizes compressed air, which causes it to either open or close upon compression or release. Whether it opens or closes depends on the mechanical design of the specific valve in the application which utilizes it. A pneumatic valve can also be manually operated by toggle switches or push buttons that engage or reset to allow the user of the machine to control the amount of time the valve is either opened or closed.
The design of a pneumatic valve typically depends on the application it will be used in. Most of them, however, are built as in-line applications that require no manual operation. Pneumatic valves also come in many different forms and shapes, and are often offered completely customizable in design according to the specifications of the machine they are to be used in. The amount of air used to operate them, as well as the amount of air released when they are disengaged, is all determined by the amount of air they require to perform their function.
As most pneumatic valves are used in light-duty or low-pressure applications, such as small automated manufacturing machinery, most pneumatic valves are constructed from components made of aluminum and plastic. This allows the unit to remain lightweight while still being sturdy enough to handle operating through long periods of operation, which is a must in most automated manufacturing facilities. If needed, a pneumatic valve can be made out of any cast metal or an alloy in order to be used in heavier-duty applications.
The technological and mechanical designs have resulted in such valves becoming popular as a means of providing power to many different parts of a machine from one main air source. This has created the demand for many different types of pneumatic devices, whereas in the past they were more often used in tools used for construction or mechanics. Pneumatic valves provide the ability to be fine-tuned in their operations. As such, they are able to control the speed of the automation process, as well as handle more delicate operations with finesse.