The Flow Control Group supply a complete range of Solenoid Valves for a wide range of applications in the water, wastewater, oil and gas and industrial process sectors.

The specification and selection of a valve and its operating protocols is essential to the optimum performance of any valve. The Flow Control team have the knowledge and expertise to identify the correct valve for the desired application.

A Solenoid valve is used wherever fluid flow has to be controlled automatically. Solenoid valves are versatile and can be used to distribute fluids, mix fluids, shut off fluids or release them. Solenoid valves can be used with fluid power pneumatic and hydraulic systems to control larger industrial valves, fluid power motors or cylinders.

They are being used to an increasing degree in the most varied types of plants and equipment. The variety of different designs which are available enables a valve to be selected to specifically suit the application in question.

Solenoid valves are electromechanically operated valves and are used to control the rate of flow in fluid or air powered systems and are quite often just referred to as just ’solenoids’. With automatic operation, solenoid valves are incredibly useful to engineers as they remove the need to manually operate valves.

Benefits of Solenoid Valves

Automatic operation

Fast switching ability

Instant reaction time

Safe switching

Highly reliable

Can lead to a reduction of energy usage compared to a direct acting valve


Solenoid valves differ in the characteristics of the electric current they use, the strength of the magnetic field they generate, the mechanism they use to regulate the fluid, and the type and characteristics of fluid they control. The mechanism varies from linear action, plunger-type actuators to pivoted-armature actuators and rocker actuators. The valve can use a two-port design to regulate a flow or use a three or more port design to switch flows between ports. Multiple solenoid valves can be placed together on a manifold.

A Solenoid valve is a control units which, when electrically energized or de-energized, either shut off or allow fluid flow. The actuator takes the form of an electromagnet. When energized, a magnetic field builds up which pulls a plunger or pivoted armature against the action of a spring. When de-energized, the plunger or pivoted armature is returned to its original position by the spring action.

To the mode of actuation, a distinction is made between direct- valves, internally piloted valves, and externally piloted valves. A further distinguishing feature is the number of port connections or the number of flow paths (“ways”).

Direct-acting solenoid valve

With a direct-acting solenoid valve, the seat seal is attached to the solenoid core. In the de-energized condition, a seat orifice is closed, which opens when the valve is energized.

Direct-acting 2-way solenoid valve

inlet port and one outlet port solenoid valve Two-way solenoid operated valves are shut-off valves with one inlet port and one outlet port. In the de-energized condition, the core spring, assisted by the fluid pressure, holds the valve seal on the valve seat to shut off the flow. When energized, the core and seal are pulled into the solenoid coil and the valve opens. The electro-magnetic force is greater than the combined spring force and the static and dynamic pressure forces of the medium.

Direct-acting 3-way solenoid valve operation

3-way solenoid valve Three-way solenoid operated valves have three port connections and two valve seats. One valve seal always remains open and the other closed in the de-energized mode. When the coil is energized, the mode reverses. The 3-way solenoid valve  is designed with a plunger type core. Various valve operations can be obtained according to how the fluid medium is connected to the working ports in Fig. 2. The fluid pressure builds up under the valve seat. With the solenoid coil de-energized, a conical spring holds the lower core seal tightly against the valve seat and shuts off the fluid flow. Port A is exhausted through R. When the coil is energized the core is pulled in, the valve seat at Port R is sealed off by the spring-loaded upper core seal. The fluid medium now flows from P to A. Pivoted-armature solenoid valve Unlike the versions with plunger-type cores, pivoted-armature valves have all port connections in the valve body. An isolating diaphragm ensures that the fluid medium does not come into contact with the solenoid coil chamber. Pivoted-armature valves can be used to obtain any 3-way valve operation.

Internally piloted solenoid valve

With direct-acting valves, the static pressure forces increase with increasing orifice diameter which means that the magnetic forces, required to overcome the pressure forces, become correspondingly larger. Internally piloted solenoid valves are therefore employed for switching higher pressures in conjunction with larger orifice sizes; in this case, the differential fluid pressure performs the main work in opening and closing the valve.

Internally piloted 2-way solenoid valve

Internally piloted solenoid valves are fitted with either a 2- or 3-way solenoid valve. When the pilot valve is closed, the fluid pressure builds up on both sides of the diaphragm via a bleed orifice. As long as there is a pressure differential between the inlet and outlet ports, a shut-off force is available by virtue of the larger effective area on the top of the diaphragm. When the pilot valve is opened, the pressure is relieved from the upper side of the diaphragm. The greater effective net pressure force from below now raises the diaphragm and opens the valve. In general, internally piloted valves require a minimum pressure differential to ensure satisfactory opening and closing. Omega also offers internally piloted valves, designed with a coupled core and diaphragm that operate at zero pressure differential

Internally piloted multi-way solenoid valve

Internally piloted 4-way solenoid valves are used mainly in hydraulic and pneumatic applications to actuate double-acting cylinders. These valves have four port connections: a pressure inlet P, two cylinder port connections A and B, and one exhaust port connection R. An internally piloted 4/2-way poppet valve is shown in Fig. 6. When de-energized, the pilot valve opens at the connection from the pressure inlet to the pilot channel. Both poppets in the main valve are now pressurized and switch over. Now port connection P is connected to A, and B can exhaust via a second restrictor through R.

Externally piloted solenoid valve

With these types an independent pilot medium is used to actuate the valve. Fig. 7 shows a piston-operated angle-seat valve with closure spring. In the unpressurized condition, the valve seat is closed. A 3-way solenoid valve, which can be mounted on the actuator, controls the independent pilot medium. When the solenoid operated valve is energized, the piston is raised against the action of the spring and the valve opens. A normally-open valve version can be obtained if the spring is placed on the opposite side of the actuator piston. In these cases, the independent pilot medium is connected to the top of the actuator. Double-acting versions controlled by 4/2-way valves do not contain any spring.

Materials: Bronze, brass, cast Iron, ductile iron, stainless steel, various plastics and exotic alloys

Size Range: 10mm to 300mm

Operation: Electrically actuated 24v AC/DC / 48v / 110v / 240v

Connections: BSP, NPT, ANSI, BS4504 PN6 / PN10 / PN16

Other options: In addition to standard ranges we are able to offer WRAS and GAS approved valves, ATEX compliant and several port configurations.


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    Unit 1 Mount Street Business Park
    Mount Street Nechells
    West Midlands
    B7 5QU

    Tel: 0121 752 8870

    Oil and Gas Division

    Cooper Drive
    Springwood Industrial Estate
    Braintree Essex
    CM7 2RF

    Tel: 01376 321211

    Industrial Process Division

    Cambridge Mills Cambridge
    Nr Dursley
    GL 2 7AA

    Tel: 01453 826612