How Much Energy Does That Valve Use?
Back when gasoline was 35 cents a gallon, the term “environmental technology” was not well known. Engineers did not often promote the benefits of building low-energy consumption pneumatic valves among their peers. Recycling or conservation of resources was seldom discussed with any seriousness. In reality, the conversation was more likely to have turned to the muscle cars of the day and how much horsepower they would generate.
The “bigger-is-better” philosophy not only produced big block engines with three carburetors, but also pneumatic valves with large direct solenoids and bulky steel construction. Then one day some of us woke up to find out the meaning of an Arab Oil Embargo. Suddenly the thought that our energy supply was cheap, plentiful, and secure evaporated.
A typical pneumatic solenoid valve of that era may have consumed 6 Watts of power and lasted 10 million cycles. Today a pneumatic valve can be operated with power consumption as low as 0.1 Watt with a life of over 200 million cycles. This is an amazing 60 times less energy with 20 times the life.