Not only does the pharmaceutical industry handle hazardous chemicals for use in its products, but its cleaning processes use very high temperatures and the media used during these clean-downs can be extremely corrosive. The chemical industry handles different, but equally as challenging, fluids in it processing plants. Solenoid valves are an ideal solution for fluid control in industries like these where accuracy and speed are paramount. However, using a specially developed solenoid valve for chemical applications such as these is critical to ensure that the valve functions properly and without being compromised as a result of the environment within which it is working. We take a look at why stainless steel solenoid valves are a great choice for use in chemical and pharmaceutical manufacturing.

What are the advantages of using stainless steel for solenoid valves?

Stainless steel is a popular choice for media handling in the pharmaceutical industry because it is durable, able to withstand exposure to many of the chemicals used to sanitise pharmaceutical products, and has a high temperature tolerance that will withstand heat-based sanitation methods such as steam-in-place (SIP).

Grade 304 stainless steel is one of the most common variants and is often used because of its high resistance to chemical corrosion thanks to the addition of nickel in the mix. It is often referred to as “surgical stainless steel” as it is used for surgical instruments because of its ability to resist oxidation and how easily it can be cleaned and sterilised.

Grade 316 stainless steel is often used in cookware. It is generally preferred for materials handling applications where saline solutions or corrosive chemicals may come into contact with the metal. It is also useful for extremely high-temperature sanitation processes, as it has a maximum continuous use temperature of around 800˚C. The 316 grade of stainless steel contains both nickel and molybdenum, making the alloy more resistance to chlorides.

Stainless steel bodied solenoid valve types are, therefore, ideal for use with high temperatures and specific aggressive media such as those which you might find in chemical processing.

What to look out for when selecting stainless steel solenoid valves

MGA Controls has been supplying a range of solenoid valve types for many years, including stainless steel solenoid valves. Highlighted below are a couple of things to keep in mind when deciding which option to choose for your solenoid valve application.

Solenoid valves for chemical applications may come with specific approvals, such as ATEX EEx d IIC T6 approval, which means that they are suitable for use in hazardous areas such as chemical solenoid valve applications. An example of a stainless steel solenoid valve with this approval rating is our ICO4S series from Maxseal.

Where the key operating requirement is temperature, a stainless steel solenoid valve is a great solution; our Buschjost 82560 will work with fluids at an operating temperature of up to 90˚C, and the Bifold Fluid Power FP06P series will work at up to 130 ˚C. When you compare these stainless steel solenoid valves to the engineering plastic solenoid valve types that we supply, which are also suited to aggressive media, the stainless steel solenoid valves can withstand much higher temperatures, making them suitable the temperatures of the cleaning processes required – and, in some cases, for the corrosive media as well, though this depends on the other elements of the solenoid valve and specifically what it has been designed for.

Stainless steel solenoid valves from world-class manufacturers

At MGA Controls we work with the top manufacturers of measurement and control systems, stocking and supplying only those that we are happy to put our name to as industry experts. One of our key suppliers for the pharmaceutical industry is Burkert, who manufacture solutions for the full pharmaceutical manufacturing process, including areas such as fermentation, water treatment, purification, fluid separation and heat transfer. Burkert have a reputation for safe and effective pharmaceutical equipment including valves designed specifically with hygiene in mind.

If you are looking for stainless steel solenoid valves for chemical applications, you are in the right place. With technical expertise in control and instrumentation, we can offer guidance and advice on selecting the appropriate solenoid valve type to meet your particular requirements, and would be happy to talk to you about solenoid valve applications and which construction or configuration would be the most effective for yours. Call MGA Controls on +44 (0)1704 898980 and find the right valve for you.