Measurement and Testing

Should solenoid valves be classed as more than a commodity item?

May 09 2018 Read 128 Times

There are those who view solenoid valves as merely a commodity, and there are those who are interested in long-term reliability. The overall reliability of any system in a process plant cannot exceed the reliability of the final link in the control chain.

Unfortunately, however, low cost and high reliability may be divergent ambitions when it comes to valves. Engineers seeking operational longevity and high-quality performance should think beyond initial purchase price, as any other strategy is likely to cost far more in the long run.

Driven by cost pressures, some engineers and purchasers buy solenoid valves based on price. They specify a solenoid valve that will do its job but mistakenly believe all valves are created equal, thinking that very little can go wrong with these seemingly simple devices that typically comprise of a coil, plunger and sleeve. On that basis people may see the solenoid valve as a commodity item. The reality, however, is far different: a highly-engineered solenoid valve may come with a higher purchase price, but its lifetime costs are far lower than other “commodity” counterparts.

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