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Solenoids and Electromagnets

The humble solenoid coil is in its basic form a simple affair – yet through various design principles and ancillary components they can be adapted to perform many tasks.


Reversible, latching, linear, bistable are all terms for solenoid design and performance characteristics. They can be used to simply operate a switch with an impulse of voltage and return when the voltage is removed, right through to 3 position twin coil solenoids used for positioning with detent (holding) force.


Solenoids are also used in electromagnetic locks and security bolts. These can be power to lock or unlock and feature strong mounting options for security applications.


A natural adoption of the technology is holding electromagnets. These are again designed on the solenoid principles and allow a magnet to hold a mass fastened, closed or indeed open with or without voltage as required.


The many options from NAFSA can be found below, with typical applications being;

  • Door locking and access control – electromagnet to hold door open or closed
  • Food and medical machinery – solenoids as locking pins once a section is in place
  • Factory automation – machine part holding electromagnets
  • Vending machines – solenoids to open or lock access points, move vending flaps and guides
  • Lifts and elevators – locking bolts as security and safety features
  • Agricultural machinery – solenoid to open / close dispensing valves on casting machinery
  • Automotive industry – multiple options for solenoid locks, holding magnets to lock doors
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