Ink jet valves have been used in micro dispensing for many years. Their high speed and consistent performance allow for the precise dispensing of fluids. Typically, these valves are integrated into a system using tubing, in a manner similar to jumper wires on a circuit board. Ink jet valves were not originally designed to be manifold-mounted. However, new developments have been made to provide a convenient, reliable method of mounting these valves. The Lee Company's VHS Injection Manifold Mounting System (VIMMS) allows VHS (very high speed) micro-dispense valves to be incorporated directly into most manifolds using a simple boss and nut set-up. The unique mounting system incorporates a simple mounting boss with a pressure plate and ferrule. Using this mounting hardware, the valve can now be mounted so that the outlet port is in close proximity to the flow stream which minimizes captive capillary volume and increases injected volume repeatability. This is beneficial in applications where a controlled amount of fluid must be added to a flow stream, such as in flow injection analysis.
The pressure plate and ferrule design allows the valve to be rotated after installation which permits the alignment of the electrical contacts without compromising the integrity of the seal. VIMMS allows the designer to incorporate VHS technology into manifold systems with a great deal of flexibility. The initial "plumbed" valves used in breadboard development hardware can also be used in the final manifold design. Should the application evolve after the manifold design is complete, valves with different flow and material characteristics can be substituted without modifications to the manifold design. Standard manifolds and boss plugs are available to help the designer during the manifold development.
Ralph Buck is the product manager for the Electro-Fluidic Systems (EFS) Group at The Lee Company.