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New Product Development - Stepper-Controlled Proportional Valve




Published July, 2012, New Equipment Digest

Company: Clippard Instrument Laboratory, Inc.


Brad Thompson, (former) Clippard Design Engineer

Why did Clippard decide to develop this product?

The Stepper-Controlled Proportional Valve fills a niche for a high-flow proportional flow control valve that has excellent linerarity, hysteresis, and repeatability.

How is this valve different from similar products?

Have I mentioned that these valves have excellent linearity, hysteresis, and repeatability? Additionally, because of the lead screw design, power is only required to make valve adjustments.

What problems did you encounter during the development process?

In many systems utilizing a proportional valve, an additional shutoff valve is required. In order to eliminate that additional valve, we focused a lot of energy on developing a bonded FKM seat, which provides both long life and a leak-free seal.

Did cost factors affect the final design of the product?

Not so much. Because of the unique design, the SCPV already offers a significant cost savings compared to other solutions.

How long did it take from conception to the final production?

Approximately 13 months. In the first 6 months of development, we designed prototypes, life tested, and established beta test sites for analyzing the valve. We then made design enhancements and placed the final design back on the life test for 7 months, achieving over 7 million cycles. The life testing was the longest part of the development stage.

Who do you consider your target audience to be and what benefits will they achieve from using this product?

Like so many of Clippard's standard products, the SCPV will be at home in numerous markets such as analytical, process control and life science. This valve was designed for applications requiring metering or mixing of inert gases.

Please add any other interesting sidelights that you think our readers would enjoy knowing.

This product was the result of an innovation that Tech Solve invited Clippard to attend at Doug Hall's Eureka Ranch in Cincinnati, OH. During the course of the 3-day seminar, our company generated over 90 new product ideas. From those ideas, four were chosen for our team to further research. After the seminar, we met 30 minutes every Tuesday for a month with Tech Solve, Dave Couchot, who facilitated the meeting. The purpose was to accelerate this big impact idea to market smarter, faster, and at lower cost. At the end of the 30 days, our company leadership voted whether to continue the project or not, with the Eureka Ranch mantra: "Fail Fast, Fail Cheap" still ringing in their ears.

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