Welcome back to the MSA blog!  In this post, we will take a look at how side load can affect solenoids.

Magnet-Schultz’s Program Management Checklist allows us to play cards up with our customers at the start of each new project so that our Program Management, Design, Manufacturing Engineering, and Operations/Production teams can fully understand our customer’s product requirements.

One of the General Questions we ask our customers when working on the development of a new program is: Is there any side loading on the device during operation?  If so, please specify side loading force.

What is a Side Load

Another way to understand side load is that it is an external radial force acting on the solenoid plunger or body.  It’s important to note that this side load is perpendicular to the plunger movement.

Side load on a solenoid can have several adverse effects which can be detrimental to its performance.

Some of these effects may include:

Reduced Efficiency: If there is a side load on the solenoid, it may cause the plunger to bind or stick, which can reduce the efficiency of the solenoid. This can cause the solenoid to require more energy to operate, or it may prevent the solenoid from working altogether.

Increased Wear and Tear: If the solenoid is subject to a side load, it can cause increased wear and tear on the plunger and other parts of the solenoid. This can result in the solenoid wearing out more quickly and requiring more frequent maintenance.

Changes in Magnetic Field: If there is a side load on the solenoid, it can cause changes in the magnetic field that the solenoid produces. This can affect the accuracy and consistency of the solenoid’s operation, which can be a problem if the solenoid is being used for applications which require high precision.

Mechanical Failure: In extreme cases, side load on a solenoid can cause mechanical failure, which can result in the solenoid no longer working at all. This can be a serious problem if the solenoid is being used in a critical application.  For this reason, it’s also important for us to understand the FMEA severity level and how the solenoid will function in the application.

As a general overall rule of thumb, avoid side loads on a solenoid whenever possible to ensure optimal performance and increase the solenoid’s product life cycle.

We hope you found this information useful!  Have any questions about an existing or upcoming product which may be impacted by side load?  Contact us today!  Our team of experts would be glad to assist you in your specific application challenges.