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Proportional Solenoid Valves: An Alternative to Stepper Motor and Cartridge Systems

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At Hydralectric, we continue to invest in cutting edge technology to improve components and products. In recent years, our dedicated research and development team launched the Proportional Solenoid Valve – a patented solution designed for the electronic (digital) control of hot and cold water supplies used in thermostatic shower and tap applications. Our Proportional Solenoid Valve has been developed primarily for use in domestic showers and faucets that operate from digital platform.

Generally, showers operating under digital platform use a combination of solenoid valves to control on/off function and stepper motors to adjust flow of incoming hot and cold-water supplies to generate controlled mixed water temperature. The mix of valves and stepper motors makes them bulky and a less attractive proposition.

By adopting a Proportional Solenoid Valve, provides both on/off function together with direct flow control. The proportional valve systems are fast acting and will react instantly to changes in supply pressure thereby providing stable flows to within 0.2lit/min and ultimately temperature variations of less than 0.5°C

A Unique Solution

Our Proportional Solenoid Valve provides users with a fast and accurate digital platform to control the flow and temperature of water. For OEMs and Design Engineers, it offers a unique, compact solution to replace traditional stepper motor or cartridge systems – something that can drastically increase the appeal and value of a product.

Proportional control is offered across hot and cold water supplies from 0.5 up to 12 liters per minute within a dynamic pressure range of 0.5-10 bar.

How Proportional Solenoid Valves Work

The proportional valve is based on a unique pilot operated actuator which allows the diaphragm to move in and out of the flow orifice proportional to the signal provided. When used in conjunction with control systems (with feedback for flow and temperature), the system will achieve dynamic control of both flow and temperature.

The proportional valve uses a unique double spring system to provide positive opening and closing against rated pressures from 0.2 to 10bar throughout its service life. Unlike other proportional systems the valve requires no calibration and is supplied ready for immediate use in closed loop systems. The valve can be controlled using 12-24VDC power supply or pulse width modulated signal to provide variable control when used in closed loop systems.

Hydralectric’s range of Proportional Solenoid Valves is extensive. We offer single, double and triple valves supported by a single standard plumbing inlet connection. The compact and robust construction uses technical polymers to provide safe conveyance and control of water. It has been tested up to 50,000 operations in hot and cold water supplies up to 85°C.

The proportional solenoid valves are approved to EU standard for electrical and safety standards applicable, plus Hydralectric proportional solenoid valves are approved to potable water standards including WRAS (UK) and ACS (France).

Potential Applications

As well as being used in domestic shower and faucet applications, the technology behind our Proportional Valve lends itself perfectly to a variety of applications, including domestic baths, coffee machines and drinks vending machines.

Domestic Baths

Bath tub

Similar to the way in which our Proportional Solenoid Valve can be used to control the temperature and flow of water in domestic showers, the high flow rates of 16lit/min at nominal 3bar make it ideal for bath fill applications.

Coffee Machines

Coffee machine

‘Bean to cup’ coffee machines could also benefit from the use of Proportional Solenoid Valves – especially when it comes to Americanos (black coffees). The temperature of milk used in lattes and cappuccinos is regulated, but in most cases Americanos are made with boiling water. Systems can be generated to provide controlled flows at 100-200 ml/min, the temperature of the water could be controlled to enable the drink to be consumed as soon as it’s ready – rather than having to let the drink cool down before drinking it.

Drinks Vending Machines

Vending machine

In the same way a Proportional Valve can be used to regulate the temperature of water in ‘Bean to cup’ coffee machines, it could also be used in a variety of drinks to optimise the vend temperature of the water.

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