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Based near Frankfurt, SMC Deutschland is a leading manufacturer, partner and solution provider for pneumatic and electric automation technology. SMC has developed a valve design that will significantly cut energy consumption, especially in systems that regularly stop operating for brief periods. During such breaks in operation, the innovative standby valves in the VEX1500/1700 series simply lower the system pressure. This also reduces the compressed air consumption resulting, among other things, from leakage under full service pressure. What’s more, systems in standby mode can return to the required service pressure in seconds. The more breaks in operation, the more effective the new standby mode – and short process interruptions are the norm in industry. Typical reasons for temporary stoppages include tool changes, shift changeovers, scheduled or non-scheduled maintenance, and system faults. Even in the case of longer breaks - overnight or over the weekend, for instance - SMC's new standby valve still helps cut energy costs. All consumers remain under a reduced pressure, which means they maintain a defined position. This cuts leakage losses and lowers the compressed air consumption during system start-up.

Ralf Heldenberger, Segment Leader Beverage at SMC, explains the savings that can be achieved in practice as follows: "Customer measurements have shown that the new VEX series standby valve can save a great deal of money. We equipped a brewer's keg filling and washing system with the VEX1500 for test purposes. The system operates around three days a week, with fully automated cleaning at night. Under service pressure, around 250 liters of compressed air per minute is lost due to leakage. We set the VEX valve to automatically reduce the system pressure to two bar during breaks and maintain it at this level. The pressure loss is marginal under these conditions and the system starts up again within seconds once operation resumes. The measurements revealed that savings of over 70 percent were achieved. The system's rapid start-up from standby mode also boosts productivity."