During Q1 2010, Smart Products has been testing the highest opening pressure in spring-loaded check valves.

“While creating an exclusive design for a customer, we discovered that it's theoretically possible to go much higher with our springs. The process involves designing each series of springs with the highest possible opening pressure, while trying to maintain an acceptable equilibrium between flow, stress, and material. I’m sure we can raise our existing limits and be able to manufacture any spring under that value all the way down to our lower limit,” says Smart Products CEO Mark Jernigan.

Prior to testing, the opening pressure of the valves ranged between 0.07 to 20 PSI. For this project, Smart Products’ engineers sampled an array of check valves including cartridge, NPT, modular, and miniature to test their springs. Valves were assembled specifically for this project with a variety of O-ring and spring size combinations. Smart Products categorizes springs into six groups based on size, increase in flow, and pressure. For the test, the performance of the valve was evaluated in high pressure environments.

A priority for this project was to test springs in cartridge valves from the Series 100 Cartridge Check Valves, Series 100 Cartridge Specialty Check Valves/Pressure Relief Valves, and Series 200 NPT Check Valves. The smaller size springs found in cartridge valves allows them to withstand higher pressures, and thus far, results yielded an increase up to 30+ PSI. Additionally, Smart Products Engineers were able to increase the opening pressure for the Series 300 Modular Check Valve Series by using an internal 160 cartridge valve, which is a significant achievement for Smart Products’ most popular series.

Jernigan adds, “We are still refining a test procedure to ensure these valves can withstand this pressure. Our next step is to test a higher durometer O-ring and engineer a test apparatus to withstand the higher pressures. We think we can go to 50 PSI, but do not have the data to support this theory – yet.”

Further testing over the next few months will involve revised O-rings and pin plates, as well as new machine fixtures to test the valves at higher pressures.

Smart Products’ valves are custom-built based on body material (plastic), O-ring, and pressure-specific criteria to fit application needs in low pressure, low flow systems. Once this study is complete, Smart Products will be able to expand its range of flow control solutions to the medical, automotive, pool and spa, food and beverage, water treatment, agriculture, and other markets. For more information, call (800) 338-0404 or visit www.smartproducts.com