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Electro-pneumatic regulator passes the test of time

While some products or gadgets simply disappear due to technology evolution – such as tape recorders, floppy discs or fax machines – others embrace the need for change and adapt accordingly. A case in point is the electro-pneumatic regulator. Sure enough, its function remains essentially the same: maintaining precise pressure control for actuators, grippers and other system devices. However, distinct evolution is evident regarding the way it interacts with its environment. Not just its interaction with humans, but with smart systems.

  By Mohamed Boudouhi | Product Manager at SMC Germany

It was in the 1980s when certain dynamic and/or highly precise applications began driving demand for a more automated way of performing pressure regulation. The launch of the IT series electro-pneumatic regulator in 1985 was a milestone, for the first time representing a shift from human interaction to the first hint of automation in the shape of electronic control. Our IT series featured analogue input (4-20 mA, 0-5 V), offering proportional pressure control over a fixed range and interacting with a PLC.

SMC´s first electro-pneumatic regulator – IT200 & 209 Series


In 1995, we undertook an upgrade project to incorporate a display and provide an adjustable pressure range, signifying the first ITV series electro-pneumatic regulator. The display supported the adjustment of several settings directly on the screen, including pressure range.

SMC´s electro-pneumatic regulator launched in the 90s – IT1000, 2000 & 4000 Series


Signals of progress
Perhaps the most significant evolution of our ITV series was the introduction of serial interface communication protocols, a process that began in 2008. With the addition of interfaces for protocols such as PROFIBUS DP and CC-Link, users could take advantage of direct bus communication for input/output signals, including diagnostic signals for fast and accurate identification of potential problems.

General benefits included greater flexibility, enhanced efficiency and a higher level of ITV monitoring and maintenance.

Link up with Industry 4.0
The most recent breakthrough for our ITV series was the incorporation of an IO-Link interface. Signalling a complete end to human interaction, the modern iteration of our ITV electro-pneumatic regulator is suitable for full integration with smart manufacturing systems, making it a key asset that acts as an ally to customised and flexible production.

The latest ITV series means users can store settings data in the PLC for easy and dynamic modification whenever required. Importantly, IO-Link process data exchange provides a wider output range, reading out diagnostic and pressure data. This capability ensures it can play a pivotal part in Industry 4.0 projects, allowing quick and secure data access for intelligent networking. System integration is straightforward. In fact, we even integrate the ITV series with our AMS (Air Management System), a powerful tool that permits users to reduce both compressed air and energy consumption, improving process efficiency and reducing CO2 emissions generated by the production of compressed air.

SMC´s electro-pneumatic regulator as an integrated part of our recently launched Air Management System


On the left, SMC´s electro-pneumatic regulator supporting IO-Link – ITV Series
On the right, ITV performing in a PET bottle moulding machine


If you’re looking for a way of regulating pressure to tight tolerances and achieving centralised control and monitoring in your next smart project, don’t assume electro-pneumatic regulator technology is stuck in the past: modern SMC solutions are far more capable than many imagine.

Discover more on SMC´s ITV on our product animation

By Mohamed Boudouhi | Product Manager at SMC Germany

After his M.Sc. degree in electrical engineering and information technology, Mohamed joined the German Technical Centre soon after finishing his studies.

After a couple of years decided to move to SMC Germany where now he is in Product management responsible for electric actuators, sensors and E/P regulators.

In his free time, Mohamed enjoys playing football with his friends, going to the gym and a good buggy ride.

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