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The Pros and Cons of Air-Piloted Pinch Valves vs. Direct Acting Pinch Valves


How do air piloted pinch valves compare to direct acting pinch valves? Why choose one over the other? Clippard Product Manager Attila Kiss explains the pros and cons of each in this quick video.

Video filmed at Clippard in Cincinnati, Ohio


Hello, I’m Attila Kiss, product manager of pinch and isolation valves at Clippard. Today we’re going to talk about pros and cons of direct acting pinch valves vs. air-piloted pinch valves.

Both of these essentially have the same outcome—they pinch a tube, on and off, to control the flow of media. But they each have their own distinct characteristics. The first factor in choosing between an air-piloted pinch valve or a direct acting pinch valve is the availability of compressed air in your system. Let’s talk about the 5 key areas—power, heat buildup, size, simplicity, and cost:


Direct acting pinch valves take a considerably large amount of power to actuate vs. a small subminiature valve used to air pilot. A 10 mm pilot valve can be in the range of 0.5 to 1 watt, where a direct acting pinch valve can go from 5, 10, 30 watts—or even higher.

Heat Buildup

With higher power comes higher heat. In many Life Science applications, heat can alter and distort your system’s performance. You should carefully consider how heat will affect your system. Air piloting not only greatly reduces this, but can pilot a pinch valve from a remote distance within your device.


Both air piloted pinch valves and direct acting pinch valves are similar in size, but the air piloted pinch valves will have a miniature pilot valve. Although these valves can be very small, you still need to consider the space required for accommodating a compressed air source, regulators, and any other recommended filtration.


Simplicity, simply put, is just using one component. Direct acting is the simplest method as air piloting adds a few components and requires a compressed gas source.


Depending on the number of valves used in the system, the cost difference could be substantial. Assuming the system already has a compressed gas source available, air piloted valves, plus the pilot valve, not to mention the required fittings and tubing, can be half the cost compared to direct acting valves.

Clippard has a large variety of air piloted pinch valves and direct acting pinch valves. Give me a call to discuss your application. Thank you for watching, and don’t forget to subscribe to our YouTube channel.

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