Flow control valve recommendation

Hi, were attempting to have three kicking distances by varying the flow rate to a cylinder. It was suggested that we use multiple adjustable flow control valves or needle valves with multiple solenoid valves for each flow rate.

Has anyone done this before? Were trying to stay away from mechnisms for the kicker. If you have experience with this could you recommend who to buy the valves from? Were new to the and want to do it right the first time.

Much appreciate for your time!

I think what you’ll find is you can’t get enough flow to make a cylinder work effectively. Do you have any cylinders to make a prototype? In our testing a simple kicker could roll the ball, but not lift it the minimum 12".

We’ve done some experimentation, and the result is that a narrow cylinder will extend quickly, but not impart much energy into the ball. The large cylinder, while it looks like it should do the job, is starved for air because of the narrow tubes, valves, regulator, and can’t extend very fast.

The cylinders, particularly the larger ones, work like dampers, resisting moving faster with increasing force.

Some teams are working on “pre-charging” the cylinders, where the piston is partially extended, physically blocked and filled with the 60psi air, then released quickly.

That said, you can connect two solenoids feeding one piston that have different flow control connectors (inline ones are convenient), or use a second regulator on the other circuit. If the regulator is downstream from the valve you can get pressures lower than the 30psi needed to activate the solenoid.

Here is our piping diagram. We are using 3 solenoids to preserve the air pressure in our 60 psi surge volume during kicker retraction. It’s just a quick sketch, so if something doesn’t make sense, or there is a mistake let me know. Like I have to ask. :smiley: