Safety Valve for Pneumatically-Operated Automation

10 July 2009

Festo has launched an electrically-operated pneumatic soft-start and exhaust valve that provides safer start-up and quick and reliable venting of compressed air supplies in the event of an emergency.

Festo MS6-SV valve
Festo MS6-SV valve

Known as the MS6-SV, the valve provides machine builders with a compact, all-in-one solution for maximising the safety of automation systems. It is fully compliant with the new EN ISO 13849-1 standard on machinery safety and is certified to categories 3 and 4.

The valve provides a 3/2-way function and features exceptionally fast venting. It has an exhaust flow rate of 6,000 litres per minute, which is 1.5 times its standard maximum operational flow rate, making it ideal for implementing 'emergency stop' functions in safety-critical system areas.

The design incorporates parallel valves to ensure fail-safe exhaust of the system, even in the event of one of the valves developing a fault. Fully integrated sensors continuously monitor the physical position of the valve components to confirm the valve's condition and status, and built-in self-test facilities automatically check the safety functions at system power-up and every hour thereafter.
The overall system safety is further enhanced by the MS6-SV's soft-start function whereby the gradual—and adjustable—pressurisation of the system ensures that pre-exhausted actuators move steadily to their start positions without shocks or impacts that could damage machinery or operators.

All MS6-SV valves feature an integral LED status display for local condition monitoring, diagnostics and troubleshooting.
Configuration options include an easy-to-read built-in pressure gauge, and an exhaust silencer which is a safety device in its own right. It features a labyrinth design with a minimum internal bore size of 4mm, to preserve air flow even in the presence of heavy contamination.

The soft-start and exhaust valves can be optimally combined with Festo’s complete MS range of configurable air service and preparation units to create ready assembled and tested, fully EN ISO 13849-1 compliant, compressed air safety systems.

EN ISO 13849-1 replaces the existing EN 954-1 safety standard on 30 November 2009, and forms part of the Machinery Directive 2006/42/EC which becomes mandatory at the end of 2009. The valve helps designers and machine builders address some of the key issues in the directive, including mean time to (dangerous) failure, self diagnostics, common cause failure protection, and external validation and certification.

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