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Process Components Ltd is on the Move!

2017-03-31 13:56:02


2016-10-03 13:10:18

Process Components Ltd expands its range at Powtech 2016

2016-04-13 13:18:16

The future of KEK Powder Processing Equipment

2016-01-15 11:10:28

Business as usual at our USA subsidiary Kemutec Inc

2015-10-07 12:18:17

Mucon wins exclusive rights for Hygienic Valve sales to the UK

2015-02-24 09:43:11

Process Components Wear It Pink

2014-10-29 13:20:30

The New Mucon Series DSV Double Flange Slide Valve

2014-09-12 11:42:29

Spare Centrifugal Sifter Screens and Filter Bags

2014-05-14 10:58:24

Merry Christmas from Process Components

2014-05-14 10:58:48

Process Components hosts another Mucon training seminar

2013-12-12 15:54:03

New addition to the Mucon product range from Process Components Ltd

2013-07-22 11:08:39

Process Components announces new Sales Engineer

2013-04-08 15:42:30

Mucon Launches Its New Logo!

2013-09-06 12:24:51

Opportunity awaits……..

2012-07-03 10:49:30

Bearing Assembly Repair and Refurbishment

2012-05-16 16:05:04

Mucon Iris Diaphragm Valves, Not Just For Controlling Powder!

2012-05-14 15:50:23

New Sales & Marketing Manager at Process Components

2011-10-18 10:07:59

New addition to the Mucon product range

2011-06-30 14:44:34

The tools of your trade!

2011-04-04 11:35:30

Where did that seal go?

2011-02-04 16:54:58

New Senior Design Engineer at Process Components

2010-11-25 12:42:37

PPS Website Content Expanded

2010-09-02 16:47:25

A Sticky Problem Solved

2013-01-22 14:01:35

WOOD – you believe it!

2013-01-22 14:01:07

WOOD – you believe it!
A brief history of the MUCON Iris Diaphragm Valve

Wood is not a material normally associated with engineering products. However, the possible exception is during the manufacture of prototypes. This was certainly the case 65 years ago when, during the birth of the world famous MUCON Iris Diaphragm Valve, wood was used in the construction of the second prototype. The first attempt to prove the concept was actually made of cardboard. It was made in the home of one of the inventors on the kitchen table! Although, the wooded version still exists, alas, the cardboard model has not survived. Today, an extensive range of MUCON Iris Diaphragm Valves, not constructed from either wood or cardboard, are manufactured and marketed globally by Process Components Ltd.

 Wooden prototype Mucon IDV                       Latest powered Mucon IDV

‘Necessity is the mother of invention’ could not have been more applicable to describe the circumstances associated with the advent of the MUCON Iris Diaphragm Valve (IDV). At the time, two brothers, Alfred and Walter Douglas, working as engineers for Kodak were given the task of developing a valve to control the flow of the gelatine flakes used in the production of photographic films. Because of their very nature, these flakes kept getting into the guides of slide valves jamming their operation or finding their way through the seals and thus leaking to the atmosphere. Charged with this task, the two brothers turned to their previous experience in the flour industry where it was common practice to twist the sock at the outlet of a silo to control the discharge.

Together with a friend, Peter Dyson, the Douglas brothers made sketches and ultimately produced the models mentioned above to confirm the practicality of their creation – and a new valve was born! The key to the valve is a tube of flexible material (the diaphragm) held rigidly at each end. One end is then twisted up to 180 degrees relative to the other, resembling the iris of a camera, giving a complete shut off, even to the finest of free flowing powders. In practice, when assembled into the valve, the ends of the diaphragm are brought close to each other meaning that these valves are much slimmer than you might think. When closed, the diaphragm is extraordinarily strong. It proved so successful that a company, Mucon Engineering Co Ltd, was established by the inventors to promote the wider use of this new concept.

The diaphragm protects the metallic working parts from contact with the product and, therefore, there is no jamming or sticking during operation. Because the diaphragm is a continuous tube running from the inlet to the outlet, there is no leakage to atmosphere. The concentric nature of the valve opening is ideal for accurate flow regulation. As a result of this, and their ease of operation, MUCON IDV's soon found favour with operators the world over. In addition to these benefits, one of the valve’s major advantages is its ability to close around large lumps or foreign bodies whilst preventing the flow of smaller particles, an essential benefit when controlling the flow of products with a wide particle size distribution. A classic example of this being when Wedgwood experienced problems weighing out bone from silos for bone china. The bone was a combination of dust and almost complete animal bones. If the latter were trapped during closure of the previous slide valve, then dust continued to flow, exceeding the required weight and making a mess on the floor too. After the IDV was fitted, any bone trapped during closure was no longer a problem.

Today, the range includes models varying in size from 50 mm to 450 mm, with a choice of 16 diaphragm materials ensuring that even very abrasive, hot, moist or free-flowing products can be accommodated. One of the biggest obstacles to the wider use of the MUCON IDV has been the unwarranted concern about the fallibility of the diaphragm. Those who express such concerns happily drive cars at motorway speeds on rubber tyres, relying on fabric webbing if the unthinkable happens, their cars have an engine whose timing belt is of flexible plastic and whose oil seals are of rubber! Some may even enjoy sailing, white water rafting, parachuting, hang gliding, or bungee jumping – whatever, they put their faith in flexible materials! The diaphragms of MUCON IDV's are no less well engineered! In many respects, it may be said that MUCON were pioneers of flexible material engineering.

The current family of MUCON IDV’s

Testament to the success of the MUCON IDV is the sheer number sold over the years right around the globe. Thousands continue to be sold every year and the applications are as diverse as the valve types themselves. The IDV is a natural for IBC’s; models have been developed specifically for this high volume role, which are light, robust, weather resistant and economic. The advent of the FIBC brought further opportunities to exploit the unique advantages of the IDV. Valves have been designed specifically to satisfy the needs of the ever growing demand for FIBC (bulk bag) discharging applications. This is a demanding duty where valve durability and reliability are critical. Hand operated models have a ratchet arrangement to enable the valve aperture to be set to give the discharge rate required. For years, to combat wear, IDV’s have been furnished with liners ‘strangled’ by the operation of the valve – putting the neck of an FIBC through an IDV works just as well! IDV’s are thus popular with those manufacturing FIBC discharge stations. Given their strength, IDV’s are found on the bottom of large silos. The concentric design of the hand operated models in particular makes them the ideal partner for bin activator type dischargers. IDV’s are found on a myriad of dry bin / hopper applications and are probably the best valve for applications involving the dosing of products into containers on a weigh scale. Power operated models have a dribble feed function meaning that 95%+ of a weighment can be discharged rapidly, then the final few percent can be controlled at a slower rate to facilitate high accuracy. The inlets and outlets of mixers, sifters, dryers, are other typical applications. IDV’s are suited to virtually any application requiring a controlled flow of dry, and not so dry, bulk solids.. See below for some of the unusual, if not bizarre uses to which MUCON IDV's have been put over the years. Although these are not mainstream application, some graphically demonstrate the benefits that IDV’s have to offer.

The IDV concept may not have changed much over the last 60 years but MUCON have continually striven to develop both the valve mechanism and the all important diaphragm to keep abreast of technological changes and customer demands. The most recent developments include valves with moulded diaphragms where only the diaphragm comes into contact with the product: because it acts as the gaskets too. These valves, which can be disassembled without tools, were specifically designed for high hygiene pharmaceutical, dairy and food applications. Both hand and, more recently still, power operated versions are available. The very latest MUCON IDV development, general purpose power operated models, use some ingenious designs and state of the art engineering components. Being smaller, lighter and more competitively priced than their predecessors, whilst still retaining the same robustness and speed of operation, extending the scope of applications for which powered IDV’s are suited.

As Gerry Wetton, who has been selling MUCON IDV’s for 44 years now, concludes, “Like many a good invention, the MUCON IDV is simplicity itself. The fundamental concept has not been bettered in 60 years. It will be interesting to see how the valve mechanisms, diaphragms and applications develop over the next 60 years!” Gerry has been instrumental in developing applications for the IDV – including most of the unusual ones listed below.


Shot blast cabinets
Where long lengths of pipe have to be de-scaled in shorter cabinets, MUCON IDV’s make excellent seals around the apertures through which the long sections are fed.

Fish farming
The gentle outlet valve, ideal for tanks used to transport live fish from fish farm to reservoirs and rivers. IDV’s can be successfully used for slurries, pastes and solids in suspension.

Fish breeding / Snake venom
MUCON IDV’s have been used as a means of holding fish, underwater, whilst their eggs are extracted and to hold snakes whilst their venom is extracted, again confirming that the valve has a gentle action - meaning that products will not be damaged if trapped during closure.

The MUCON IDV has formed the basis of many a special device whether it’s been for closing polyethylene bags around lettuces out in the field, crimping hand made Christmas crackers and crimping sausages!

Machine vice
A US organ (as in Church) maker uses a MUCON IDV to hold organ pipes in a trimming machine. The valve holds the pipe rigidly enough for machining without marking the surface finish.

MUCON IDV’s act as the seal / gland through which the extruded pipe exits the cooling bath. Not only does it stop leakage, it wipes unwanted coolant from the surface of the tube. IDV’s have glanded cables from outside-broadcast vehicles and darkrooms.

In addition, MUCON IDV’s have been used for rubbish chute ‘lids’, baby incubator hand apertures and air conditioning flow control valves on US war ships.

In addition to Iris Diaphragm Valves MUCON offer Disc type valves, Butterfly valves, level indicators and a range of Silo Discharge Aids to provide customers with a complete range of flow promotion and control solutions. Further products within the Process Components Ltd range include, Spares Parts for Centrifugal Sifters, Cone Mills, Pin & Disc and Turbine & Screen Mills, PPS Air Classifier Mill Spares, a wide range of Metal Detectable seals.


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