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multi-port valve requiring about 40 percent less space than traditional valve manifolds using conventional diaphragm valves. The image adjacent shows a transparent view of a pneumatic operator. The actuator is made from aluminium and is finished in white with an epoxy coating. Each chamber has a pilot air connection and an exhaust port. For position indication it is possible to fit two proximity switches to each side – one for high (open indication) and one for low (closed indication). That means in total you can have four switches per actuator. Since less material is used in the valve bodies, they can be heated more quickly to the sterilization temperature required to destroy micro-organisms. A low internal volume, and elimination of dead space, also supports faster cleaning and, of course, means better process efficiency and higher product yield from the process.

Continuing the benefit of minimum space requirement, the overall number of valves, T- piece, weld joints and pipe runs are greatly reduced. The result is an optimized space footprint that enhances process efficiency, reduces installation and maintenance costs and minimizes downtime.

body sits a diaphragm; often manufactured of materials like EPDM, PTFE or silicone the diaphragm is completely moulded and does not have any metal parts. This is an advantage for diaphragm lifecycle.

Cleanability The cleanability of a pipe system is influenced by dead space volumes and the application of the xD rule. Currently, the industry is satisfied with the 3D rule. Its consistent application ensures sufficient flushing for many processes. The dead legs will be completely flushed and cleaned only if the length of the dead legs is less than three times the diameter of the main pipe.

It is usually not possible to consistently implement the 3D rule when arranging complex configurations with conventional valves; the goal of any plant operator and planning engineer is to remain well below the requirements of this rule. The ideal solution is to achieve the 1D rule now, and the Robolux valve solutions are capable of this. The internal volume of the valves and/or valve manifolds is significantly smaller than with conventional valve solutions and there is no dead volume inside them.

The Robolux Valve makes use of a body (typically machined from 316L stainless steel) which incorporates two traditional weirs located next to each other. On top of this

If four conventional DN25 diaphragm valves are welded in a typical steam cross configuration this results in an internal volume of 90 millilitres held in the pipe section between the 4 valve seats. If this solution is enhanced by using a standard valve block, the internal volume can be reduced to 50 millilitres. Finally, if the standard valve block is replaced with a Robolux valve, the total inner space volume is only 22 millilitres. These valves therefore minimize not only the required installation space, but also the amount of flushing agent needed, and time – with significantly improved cleanability.

Prevention of corrosion

The cleanability of the pipes and valve manifolds is also extremely important for another reason: Improper flow through the body may result in corrosion, which is a serious problem in production facilities. The cleaning or replacement of the corroded equipment entails great expense and lengthy downtimes.

The use of Robolux valve interfaces can effectively help prevent corrosion. This is confirmed by means of riboflavin or uranine tests in Burkert’s in-house test facility that allows simulation of actual operating conditions.

Process reliability and availability

Valve interfaces must meet high standards to guarantee reliable processes and yet remain flexible for different applications. Robolux valves can provide a “double block and bleed function” to prevent steam used for sterilization of the parallel line from contaminating the product and vice versa; it is achieved by using a relief valve in between the 2 seats. Multi-port valve bodies genuinely enable the effective implementation of many complex applications. For example, parallel operation is possible with the use of a Robolux DFP (Double Flow Path) interface which increases overall availability of the plant and saves production time.

Multi-port valves can also act as a reliable sterile barrier; a solution using two actuators and 2 diaphragms provides the function of a steam barrier with 4 connections and 4 seats that replaces four conventional valves with their single actuators, and the corresponding piping and connecting elements. In this way, Robolux multiport valves contribute significantly to cost reduction in hygienic processes.

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