Back to News
5 Things To Consider When Picking A Solenoid Valve For Food and Beverages
Solenoid valves are used in everything from household appliances to space ships but most people have no idea what they are. A solenoid valve is operated by an electrical signal that can either open or close the valve depending on it’s function. Solenoid valves can remotely control the flow of fluids, air, inert gases, steam, corrosive fluids, and more in a system.
They are incredibly helpful devices that have a wide range of uses in the food and beverage industry. However, not all solenoid valves are created equally. Some valves will work better for some applications and certain purposes than others. To get the most benefits out of your solenoid valve you need to choose the right one according to the media, media and ambient temperature, operating pressure, operating voltage, NEMA concerns, etc.. To help you make the correct choice here are 5 things to take into account when deciding on a solenoid valve for your application in the food and beverage industry.

1. Media:

The first thing to consider when choosing the right solenoid valve is to determine what’s going through it. Is it something neutral like water or a corrosive acidic fluid like orange juice or soda? This can affect which material the valve should be made out of. For instance, untreated brass or bronze can be vulnerable to corrosion from some acids and salt so it would be a poor choice for acidic fluids. The preferred choice would be a stainless steel or complete 316ss solenoid valve like Gould Solenoid Valves K or KX series.
In the food and beverage industry, corrosive cleaning agents are often used to sanitize equipment, so don’t forget to consider the liquids that will be on the outside of the valve as well as the inside.

2. Temperature:

The type of media isn’t the only consideration to take into account when choosing a solenoid valve. The temperature is also very important. For instance, a plastic valve may be a decent choice for room temperature water but not for very hot water or steam applications. If you’re working with hot air, gasses, fluids, oils, or steam, metal valves are typically recommended. In particular, corrosion resistant stainless steel valves are often an excellent choice.
Every solenoid valve has a temperature range that it can withstand, so make sure to check the indicated value before making your choice. If the valve is in an environment that is too hot, the coil could burn out. It is also not ideal to place a valve in below freezing temperatures or for cryogenic applications unless the valve is specifically built for those conditions.

3. Environment:

What goes on outside of the solenoid valve is sometimes just as important as what passes through it. Especially in the food and beverage industry, the environment the valve is in can drastically affect its performance. A valve used in a grocery store or brewery will likely be different from one used as irrigation at a winery or in a factory environment.
The environment will dictate how resilient and durable the solenoid valve needs to be. Outdoor environments can often be harsh, but some indoor spaces can be equally as severe. It’s important to choose a solenoid valve that can withstand any potential obstacles, including corrosive materials, high temperatures, and humidity.
If the application is inside or is in a control room and is not subject to the elements you are fine with a standard NEMA 1 enclosure. If the valve is in an environment where it will get wet from rain, wash down, etc, you will need a NEMA 4 watertight, or NEMA 4X watertight & corrosive resistant coil or enclosure. If the area is dusty from such things as processing cereals, animal fodder, or powdered milk the valve should be NEMA 5 dust tight. In a caustic environment where there are volatile gasses you would want a NEMA 7 explosion proof coil enclosure to encapsulate any spark from the valves coil to prevent a fire or explosion. Gould Solenoid Valves offers valves in NEMA 1,4,4X, 5, & 7.
Matching your solenoid valve to the environment it will be in is key to ensuring the durability and performance of the valve, as well as the safety of your project.

4. Material:

Solenoid valves can be made from many different materials, including plastic, bronze, brass, stainless steel, or aluminum. Each material has its strengths and weaknesses, so you’ll need to choose the right one for your needs.
Your application in the food and beverage industry will dictate which materials are best for your needs. Bronze valves are completely fine for many applications but they can have trace amounts of lead so they aren’t the best option for every use. Stainless steel or complete 316ss are often a good choice for most applications in the f & b industry because they resist contaminants. Stainless steel tends to be a more expensive material, but it’s strength and durability make the price tag worth it in the long run. Stainless steel valves even work well in high-pressure and high-temperature environments.

5. Type of Seal:

The final thing to consider when purchasing a solenoid valve is the type of seal. The material the seal is made of will determine the compatibility with the media, highest and lowest temperature the valve can tolerate, and the pressure range it’s good for. Some common seals used in the food and beverage industry are:
  • Ethylene Propylene: This is a popular material for solenoid valve seals because it’s resistant to acids, alkalis, and salts. However, it is not good for oils and concentrated acids, and it does not function well above temperatures of 90°C. It’s best for transporting things like water or air
  • Polytetrafluoroethylene (AKA Teflon): Teflon is used in solenoid valve seals because of its high resistance to chemical corrosion. It’s a very durable material that can withstand high temperatures and harsh conditions.
Though the seal may seem like an afterthought, it’s key to consider it before making your choice of solenoid valves. Gould Solenoid Valves offers EP, Teflon, Viton, Buna, and more for your choice of seals.

High Quality Solenoid Valves for Food and Beverage Applications:

When it comes to picking solenoid valves for use in the food and beverage industry, there are many materials and designs to choose from. But you  know that when you go with Gould Solenoid Valves, you’re getting the best quality valves on the market. Contact us today to see what Gould Solenoid Valves can do for you.

Share this post

Back to News