Solenoid coil is a versatile electrical component that utilizes a tightly wound wire around a metal core to generate an electromagnetic field (EMF). When an electrical current passes through the coil, the resulting EMF provides ample energy for linear motion. Solenoid coils find use in irrigation systems, toys, appliances, and other forms of automated equipment, and they are generally used to automatically turn any given application on or off.
Solenoid coils are equipped with a movable armature that is activated when voltage passes through it, causing it to increase its linkage to activate the area it is affixed to. In industrial settings, solenoid coils vary. While some serve as central parts of a locking mechanism, others are incorporated in automated production machines. In most cases, a solenoid coil is used to activate hydraulic and pneumatic valves.
How Are Solenoid Coils Made
In terms of construction, solenoid coils consist of a wire, usually copper or aluminum, that is wound around a hollow core. The coils can have direct or alternating currents with the ability to work with voltages ranging from 6-220 V. The two most common types of solenoid coils are tape wrapped and encapsulated or molded coil types.
Tape wrapped solenoid coils are utilized in environments that experience little exposure to solvents and chemicals, such as clocks, timers, and electronic circuits. Encapsulated coils, on the other hand, are enclosed in a tightly sealed material like polyester, rubber, or epoxy. Sealing a solenoid coil provides it with insulation, dielectric strength, enhanced structural integrity, and impact resistance. As such, encapsulation allows users to place solenoid coils in harsh conditions while keeping them amply protected.
How a Solenoid Coil Works
The main purpose of a solenoid coil is to convert electrical energy into mechanical energy to obtain linear motion. The benefit of a solenoid coil over a magnet lies in the fact that it can be turned off which makes it perfect for switches, valves, and automated devices. Like all forms of magnets, solenoid coils have positive and negative poles that attract or repel any form of ferromagnetic metal. With a solenoid, the EMF causes the core or piston to move forward or backward to activate an application or turn it off. Moreover, the reason solenoid coils can produce a strong magnetic field is a result of the wires being curled around the coil, which produces the same magnetic field as a single, straight wire.
Different Types of Solenoid Coils
There are various solenoid coil types available on the market, with AC laminated, DC C frame, linear, and rotary variations serving as the most common.
AC Laminated Solenoid Coils
An AC solenoid coil has the ability to deliver a large amount of force in the first stroke as a result of the high input of current it has when the coil is first turned on. This coil type is ideal for applications that necessitate immediate action like medical equipment, vehicles, printers, and appliances.
DC C Frame Solenoid Coils
DC C frame solenoid coils have an open frame to provide linear motion. Serving as the most basic type, DC C frame solenoid coils have a cost effective design that provides high performance. That being said, they find use in circuit breakers, scanners, coin counters, and more.
Linear Solenoid Coils
Also called a linear electromechanical actuator (LEMA), a linear solenoid coil can be continuously energized, or it can serve as an on and off switch.
Rotary Solenoid Coils
Rotary solenoid coils convert linear motion into rotary motion by using three ball bearings. When the coil is energized, the armature is drawn to the stator and rotated through an arc. It is important to note that the coil can move in 25, 35, 45, 60, and 90 degrees increments.
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