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How to Choose a Solenoid

Posted by: Magnet-Schultz of America

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Thu, Aug 17, 2017 @ 07:11 PM

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The latest entry in the Magnet-Schultz of America Solenoid 101 blog explains the process for selecting a part to suit your application. Check our blog history for information on more technical subjects and feel free to make suggestions for future posts.

Choosing a solenoid can be overwhelming. The sheer number of parts offered makes it difficult to identify all of the possibilities, and comparing specification sheets and force curves is time consuming. You can always send your requirements to us and we can identify a best fit for you, but some prefer to explore their options independently. This blog will act as a guide that allows you to quickly narrow the possibilities to find a best fit. The Magnet-Schultz of America cdesign atalog allows you to sort reference designs using this method by selecting traits from the drop down selection boxes at the top of each column, but the same process applies in any online or paper design/product catalog.

The traits listed roughly most to least vital are:

1. Function

2. Stroke Length and Force

3. Duty Cycle

4. Size

5. Voltage

Take a look at the above list and see which items have been predetermined by the requirements of your application. Record them. Having more of these parameters known will make the selection process easier but not all are required to get a result. There are many more traits to consider and some may require custom design and manufacturing, but going through this process of elimination will help identify the best base design for modification. If any of your requirements fall outside of the range of standard options, skip that trait for the time being so that you can find out the closest pre-existing part to use for modification. We start with Function.

1. Function

Push or Pull? This is the best place to start. It narrows the candidate pool by half. If you require a spring return, you will still be selecting push or pull, but you should consider adding your expected spring return force to the stroke force requirement you will be looking at next.

2. Stroke Length and Force

Since these two traits are dependent on each other we will wrap them both up as one step. In the Magnet-Schultz of America catalog, you can use the force/stroke search option at the top of the page. If you are using a print or other catalog types that don’t allow for sorting by force, save this step until the end of the process of elimination. Comparing force curves manually is the most time consuming aspect of part selection. If manual comparison is necessary, it should be saved until you have narrowed your search as much as possible.

3. Duty Cycle

Continuous, Intermittent, or Pulse? Select the on/off cycle that is required by your application. If you do not know what duty cycle might be necessary, take a look at our past blog that gives a basic explanation of the concept. During this and the following step, you may find that you have eliminated all potential parts. This means that something about your force or stroke length requirement is exceptionally high for the size of device you are seeking. You may need to look into more customized options or re-evaluate the best way to accomplish your goals.

4. Size

Sort out all the parts that are too large to fit your application.

5. Voltage

Voltage is selected last because this is the easiest trait to change. 12, 24, and 120vdc are the most commonly available voltages but a rewind can be accomplished at a much lower cost and volume threshold than modifications to the plunger or frame.

Other Considerations

Custom plungers or frames, ingression protection, different connector types push/pull functionality, latching, and spring returns are all features that are typically customized in an MSA design but will not be found in our standard design catalog. Still, finding the closest standard part design creates a starting reference that can be used to jump start the design process.

Magnet-Schultz of America specializes in the custom engineering and manufacturing of solenoids, solenoid valves, electromagnets, voice coils, hydraulic tubes and coils, and locking devices. If you have any questions related to sourcing or manufacturing, please contact us. We will be happy to assist in the development of your application. Browse past blogs for a more in-depth look at solenoid functions and subscribe to the notifications for future posts!

Topics: Choosing a Solenoid, Specialty Solenoids, Electromagnetic devices