Festo Solenoid Valves and Manifold

So my team was looking into purchasing a manifold and the associated solenoid valves from Festo. Specifically, we were looking at 4 or 5 of the VUVG-S10-B52-T-M7-1P3 valve/solenoid and the VABM-L1-10S-G18-5 manifold (both product numbers are from the catalog found here).
As we have not bought this type of product before, we had several questions. First of all, are these legal for FRC? Is the solenoid valve similar to the one provided in the KOP last year (VUVG-L10-B52-T-M7-1P3)? What other parts would we have to purchase in addition to the valves and manifold themselves for the system to work? Finally, is there anything else we need to know about this?
Thank you for any help you can provide, we really appreciate it.

The pneumatics rules are often exceptionally specific, and change from year to year. Therefore, there’s no practical way to be sure what quantities or part numbers will be legal in 2011. (Except for the fact that one VUVG-L10-B52-T-M7-1P3 valve, catalogue number 566475, is a FIRST Choice option, and ought to be legal in at least that quantity.)

In 2010, FIRST was quite permissive, but that wasn’t true for many previous years. There have also been issues in the past relating to the question of whether a manifold counts as a “connecting fitting” (which was permissible under the rules), and whether an entire manifold preloaded with valves, when sold as a unit, qualified as “[s]olenoid valves” (also legal, subject to additional restrictions). See last year’s <R72> for more information.

Since you were looking at VUVG-S10-B52-T-M7-1P3—the manifold-mounted version of the valve in the kit—you’ll need to wait until the season begins to be sure that’s a legal part, and to see if there’s a quantity limit. (As far as I can tell, they’re the same valve, but the S10 version is sold with accessories like seals and screws.) And if the rule isn’t clear from the outset, you’ll have to ask on the Q&A forum to get official clarification.

In a sane world, it would absolutely be legal; in fact, in a sane world, if that model of valve was specified (because that’s what was supplied free in the KOP, or for whatever reason), the rules would also permit anything listed by part number in any December 2010 or later version of the Solenoid valves VUVG/valve terminal type 26 VTUG catalogue. That way, you’d be able to also buy a full range of compatible accessories without worrying about legality, and FIRST wouldn’t have to worry about excessive flow.

More simply: What was legal before may or may not be legal in the coming season.

The best advice: Avoid any major purchases until you understand the rules.

So, while the two of you have exhaustively dealt with the issue of whether or not the valves and manifold would be allowed within the rules, You did not cover whether there are any accessories that we need. You did mention that the VUVG-S10s are sold with hardware like screws and seals, but are you saying that we need to purchase those separately, or that they are included in with the valves? Looking at the catalog, it seems that it would be necessary to buy blanking plates, and screws/seals for inline valves. Are my observations accurate? Once again, thank you for your help, and as per your suggestions, we will wait to actually buy this stuff until we have verified its legal for the 2011 season.

Good questions.

On the Festo website, they have contact info (for example, their phone number is 800 99 FESTO). Call them and ask. They are tickled pink (honest!) to answer questions for paying customers. And they really know their products.