Alongside the two main sectors flat and hollow glass, the glass industry comprises other highly specialised sub-sectors. These include, for example, the production of special glass, glass fibres and the area of glass finishing and glass processing. In Germany alone, many hundreds of companies – from glassworks specialising in glass art through to highly technical manufacturers of glass fibres – produce a wide variety of different products made of glass. The transport of the base materials and the raw materials required for processing them are controlled by valves in all of these areas.
This is because companies who specialise in the production or processing of glass always have to transport, store and process the raw materials, mixtures and additives required for this purpose. The production of soda-lime glass – the most popular form of manufactured glass worldwide – requires, for example, quartz sand, soda, potash, feldspar, lime, dolomite and to an increasing extent recycled or waste glass.
These sometimes highly abrasive base materials often place high demands on the pipelines and valves. Wear-resistant components, especially in the valves, are thus indispensable for glass processing because there would otherwise be too many downtimes in production due to maintenance work.
Pinch valves are the ideal solution for control valves in this environment. Due to their simple design but effective operation, the anti-abrasive properties of the sleeve inside the valve and their constriction and dead space-free design, they are not susceptible to blockages, encrustation or major wear.
In particular, the abrasion-resistant sleeve (usually made out of a very robust natural rubber mixture) is ideal for use with sharp-edged and abrasive media.
In contrast to other types of valve, such as butterfly valves, pinch valves do not have any valve components directly in the product flow. Even when the media flow is being shut off or controlled, there are no valve components in the pipeline system that could cause blockages or deformations (which is the case e.g. in butterfly valves or ball valves). It is only the sleeve that closes in the pinch valve when compressed air is applied and it thus clamps – or squeezes – the product flow safely and reliably.
AKO pinch valves control the transport of the necessary additives such as soda, lime or dolomite in this company that processes waste glass.
Pinch valves from AKO control the flow of the blasting agent for engraving hand-blown glass.
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