Experts in Complex Manifolds

One of the core products offered at Axenics includes both simple and complex plastic and metal manifolds, which can be produced to meet the exacting standards required across a wide range of industrial applications. Manifolds are commonly used to move liquids, chemicals, gases or air and to distribute them to more than one place. We have more than 30 years of experience building simple and complex assemblies for our clients.

Axenics helps original equipment manufacturers choose the manifold solutions that are appropriate for their operations and helps them calculate flow ratios based on the materials that will pass through pipes. Then we build the manifold devices and test each one prior to shipment to ensure the highest quality components. Our processes eliminate the possibility of unwanted welding deformities so that only the highest quality manifolds are fabricated.

Axenics takes pride in our ability to produce manifolds in both stainless steel as well as several types of plastics. The design and fabrication of the manifolds we produce can vary greatly depending on their usage.

Working in such a diverse environment, we utilize cross-trained technicians who are able to handle multiple tasks throughout the process of building these manifolds. Because our staff is highly trained and certified on the manifold operations they perform, we can ensure the use of proper welding techniques and prevent unwanted deformities within our manifolds.

Since Axenics supplies manifolds for several different business sectors, each of the manifolds we produce must meet strict quality specifications and criteria required within their respective industry.

Axenics employee working on manifold

Manifold Solutions are Key to Your Success

There are several benefits to using a manifold system, some of which include cost savings, space savings, fewer leaks and easier maintenance. Among these benefits, the cost savings associated with assembly and installation, as well as the reduction in space requirements, are the most significant.

When manifolds contain valves, solenoids or pneumatics, they are usually required to adhere to certain flow criteria as well. This means that the internal areas of the manifolds must be free of any restrictions that may be caused by improper welding techniques. Inaccurate welding can lead to the development of weld drop-thru (an undesirable sagging or surface irregularity) or other unseen obstructions.

In manufacturing processes in the chemical, alternate energy or biomedical life science industries, there are instances where gas or liquid must be distributed to different sources after it enters a centralized pipe or piece of equipment. Additionally, the flow of these liquids and gases might have to be kept at a various rates; certain production areas may need lower flow rates while other workstations can handle higher distribution rates.

Manifold solutions allow for the distribution of liquids and gases through centralized process or pipe into branching pipes that can lead to multiple workstations or processes. Manifolds may also be used to combine different materials, such as mixing different chemicals together, since these additives flow through branching pipes into the main pipe system and into a processing area.

Types of Manifolds

The two main types of manifolds include a single-piece design and modular block design. A single-piece design is meant to support all necessary valves within a system and is made up of all passages within the system, in one piece. A modular-block design, on the other hand, typically supports just one valve, its internal passages and flow-through provisions. In a modular block design, there will usually be several modular blocks which are connected to each other and which make up the entire system.

There are advantages to each type of manifold, and which type will work best for your system is based on several factors, such as how much space is available, the intended function of the system, budget requirements and more.

Manifold types can be further categorized into subtypes. For single-piece manifolds, the two main designs include laminar and drilled metal block. The purposes of each and differences between the two are as follows:

Laminar-type manifolds consist of multiple layers of metal (or plastic) with passages machined through them where necessary. Each metal or plastic plate is stacked, allowing for a variety of fluid passages depending upon the shape of the overlapping passages. Once the end pieces are added, the stack is then brazed together. Laminar manifolds can handle pressures up to 10,000 psi and allow for an unlimited number of valves (of various sizes) to be mounted onto the manifold.

These manifolds are custom-designed, allowing for valves and other connections to be placed where necessary based on the particular application. One restriction that comes with laminar-type manifolds is that they can be difficult to modify if necessary, as the flow passages and construction create a relatively permanent system.

Drilled block manifolds consist of a metal (or plastic) block, which is drilled, creating flow passages to meet specific design preferences. The consolidation of components within a hydraulic valve block allows for fewer fittings and a neater layout, in addition to shortening assembly time and eliminating leakage and sudden pressure drops. With this type of manifold design, the drilled passages must be straight, which results in some limitations, though it does still allow for location of valves as necessary.

Unlike single-piece manifold systems, modular manifold systems are much easier to modify when necessary. The majority of modular systems can also be bench-assembled horizontally and stacked. End plates are usually placed on the assembled manifold to seal it but also can be drilled for the purposes of connecting to pumps and tanks.

Interconnecting, divider and spacer plates, which redirect flow from one passage to another or stop flow between blocks, are usually installed between the main building blocks. Spacer plates specifically help to increase dimensions between main blocks when necessary.

The tops of the main modular blocks are ported and drilled for connecting subplate-mounted valves. Blocks are usually available with different ports based on the valve and subplate type, and plates are identified based on the type of valve they are made to accept.

Tackling Issues when Creating Manifolds

Simple and complex manifold solutions are important for many manufacturers. The development of these manifold systems involves pipe cutting, welding and precision tube bending work in addition to expert assembly, all performed by experienced technicians and welders.

There are several issues that can arise during the manifold manufacturing process. A manifold system might include an array of valves, solenoids or pneumatic devices. If any of these devices are not welded correctly onto the manifold system, they could produce an uneven flow that doesn’t meet the process requirements. This could limit the movement of gases, liquids and other materials through pipes at the required rate or pressure. Also, an inferior weld could potentially block a pipe by creating a drop-thru, where the surface sags or creates an undesired irregularity.

With an uneven flow rate, manufacturing processes could be slowed down or or have to be stopped unexpectedly. Workers might not be able to finish creating products. In addition, the pressure could build to a dangerously high level capable of damaging equipment or causing an accident. Another problem that can occur is that end products are created with a poorer quality or are defective, leaving the manufacturer to deal with inventory waste, lost productivity or missed deadlines.

Do you have a complex project that requires a precise solution?

Contact Axenics to find out more about the simple and complex manifold solutions we offer.

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