Automated stream switching

Parker Instrumentation has announced a new valve system for automated stream switching in gas and liquid analysis applications. The new product, R-max, uses surface-mounting techniques to reduce the size of control systems for process analysers and gas chromatographs, and to provide modularity for assembling compact switches for any quantity of fluid streams. Purpose-designed for automated applications, the pneumatically operated R-max uses three-way double-block-and-bleed valve modules to eliminate cross-contamination of fluid streams, combined with needle valves offering operating lifetimes in excess of one million cycles. R-max operates over a vacuum to 500 PSIG/34 bar pressure range, and may be actuated using a low air pressure supply of 40 PSIG/3 bar. Systems are based on three basic components: valve modules, substrates housing the stream switching channels, and a venting unit. These interconnect using just two screws, allowing the number of streams to be extended without breaking the connections throughout the entire substrate.
The surface mounting approach means that stream switches are much smaller than systems built using standard valves and tubing – by up to as much as 90%. A complete three-stream switch system for example, can be constructed in an area of around 7 x 7 x 20 cm for example. This has considerable follow-on benefits for users, allowing end users and analyser OEMs to build highly compact systems, which have extremely small dead volumes for faster and more economic purging, and which require much simpler heating arrangements.

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