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Solenoid Actuator Kendrion

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Solenoid Actuator - Energy

Solenoid Actuator - Case Study Energy Applications

A large power handing company approached Kendrion Mishawaka to make a replacement solenoid actuator for their 36,000 volt line break power equipment. Due to urgent timing, we worked quickly with our new customer to firm up the requirements and develop a specification. The final result was a fist-sized electromagnetic actuator that saved them substantial costs in the production process. Other successes were:

  • the solenoid actuator drew less than 10 amps and developed hundreds of pounds of holding force in under 35 milliseconds.
  • the custom assembly added to the mounting feature eased the assembly and drove down the costs for required tooling within a year.
  • the overall system does not need any additional cams, linkages or struts.


The power handling company had a specific problem staring them directly in the face. Worst, they were in a time crunch and wanted a replacement solenoid actuator for their 36,000 volt line-break power equipment. There was one small detail missing: the current supplier has been purchased by a competitor. To make matters worse, the solenoid actuator they had been purchasing for 30 years was no longer available.

With these problems mounting and it needing to be fixed sooner rather than later, this energy company turned to Kendrion Mishawaka for answers. In addition to wanting a replacement solenoid actuator, the power handling company had additional improvements to be made. These improvements consisted of a smaller size, less power draw and lower cost. What company doesn’t want these three items to be addressed in order for increased efficiency, both production wise and bottom line? Kendrion Mishawaka gladly stepped up to the plate and accepted the challenge.

Kendrion Mishawaka knew that when re-designing solenoids, actuators or valves from a different generation, opportunities exist to improve the process. Thirty years ago, copper was cheaper for electromagnetic coils, rare-earth magnets were brand new and electronic control of power solenoid actuators was relatively unknown. In fact, their existing design was a more expensive, toaster sized, bi-stable two-coil design that used more power to move a heavier armature back and forth.

Meeting the energy company’s wish-list improvements for the new design included reducing copper content, utilizing the latest magnet technology and making good use of “smart” electronic controls. Despite all of these challenges and issues, Kendrion Mishawaka was able to develop initial concepts and put them in front of the customer within two weeks.

With the redesign there was an opportunity to reduce the copper amount through a single coil design with a spring return and Neodymium holding magnets - equaling to a reduction in cost.

These magnets are a member of the Rare Earth magnet family and are the most powerful permanent magnets in the world. The biggest challenge was obtaining the exact solenoid actuator speeds needed to prevent system damage or wear. Too fast and it would damage the electrical contacts as they slammed together at excessive speeds or too slow and it would fail to switch in a timely manner and prevent the continuation of the power-up sequence.

To overcome these speed issues, we utilized our Ansys Maxwell simulation software to analyze the system in the time frame with the effects of springs, gravity and linkages factored into the software. This helped us make performance predictions to get the optimal design they were aiming for in the original plan


In the beginning, the power handling company wanted an actuator with a smaller size and less power draw with a lower cost. What did Kendrion Mishawaka deliver?

A fist-sized solenoid actuator that drew less than 10 amps and developed hundreds of pounds of holding force in under 35 milliseconds with substantial cost savings achieved. Because of the custom assembly Kendrion Mishawaka was able to add a mounting feature which eased the production process and lessened the required tooling costs within one year.

At the end of the day, we met their goals. Kendrion Mishawaka works on projects like these everyday. A customer will approach us and have a certain problem that needs to be addressed. Our expert team of engineers will design an efficient product to meet your specifications. See our entire lineup of products and services to learn more about Kendrion and our capabilities. If you have an idea for a project or need help with a more cost-friendly solution, reach out to us directly and we’ll get to work on your question or issue.