Mechanically & hand operated pneumatic valves

Mechanical and manual pneumatic valves

Mechanically and manually actuated pneumatic valves are required in pneumatic systems to regulate air pressure or the compressed air as a medium. Manually actuated means that the directional control valves are operated (opened or closed) via a pushbutton, hand lever, rotary lever, mushroom pushbutton or using a foot switch.

Plungers or roller levers operate mechanical directional control valves. Mechanically actuated pneumatic valves are often used to directly control cylinders or clamping tools.


The energy generated by the air is transferred to various consumers in the system (for instance cylinders or grippers) so that they can generate a movement or gripping force. A mechanical valve can be used to determine in which direction the air is let through. The valves are therefore used as control valves in normal operation or as emergency-off pushbuttons on machines. In hazardous situations, for example, a system can be completely depressurised and the supply of new air can be stopped. Manually operated pneumatic valves can also be used for directional control, allowing air to flow through a tube in one direction rather than another, ensuring smooth operation of the pneumatic system. We have special manually and mechanically actuated valves in our product range, for example for use in control cabinets and control desks or for confirming workpiece positions using compressed air signals.

Different types of valves

Valves play an important role in pneumatic systems, regardless of whether electric, pneumatic or manual valves are used. However, since the requirements for a pneumatic valve can vary greatly depending on the project, environment or application, there are different models and variants that can be used.

One difference, for example, is the type of actuation. In addition to mechanical valves, there are also those that can be operated manually, hydraulically or electrically. Mechanically, pneumatically and manually operated valves are frequently used mainly because of their simplicity and reliability.

In addition to these valve types, there are also filter regulators. Here, the pressure regulator is combined with a compressed air filter in one device which then performs both functions in parallel. Such filter regulators can be ideal for removing impurities in the compressed air via filters and regulating the optimum working pressure at the same time, especially in processes where a high level of process reliability and little downtime are required.

Mechanically actuated valve, VMEF

This mechanical valve is included in the Festo Core Range. It is designed as just a stem actuated valve or with roller lever/roller lever, one way. Some versions of the valve are also suitable for vacuum operation. The valve is characterised by its sturdy metal housing and high pneumatic performance, making operation safe, reliable as well as ergonomic. This only requires low actuating forces and the valve can also be operated in reverse. Other highlights are the modern design and the attractive price.

Mechanically actuated valve VMEF

Manually operated valve, VHEF

This manually operated valve, too, is included in the Festo Core Range, as is its mechanical variant. Hand levers, finger levers or selector switches are available as actuating elements. Like the mechanical version, this valve has a sturdy metal housing, offers ergonomic operation, doesn't require much actuating force and its design is modern and impressive. Reversible operation is also possible.

Manually actuated valve, metric VHEF

Hand lever valves, VHER

This valve – also included in the Festo Core Range – has a metal or polymer lever for manual operation. This valve can be used to stop single-acting or double-acting cylinders within the stroke range. With the "mid-position closed" (C types), the piston of the actuator moves until the forces are in equilibrium. With "mid-position exhausting" (E types), the piston can be moved and only the frictional forces have to be overcome. However, in the version with "mid-position pressurised" (U types), the pressure at ports 2 and 4 is the same. The piston is not moved in the case of flat surfaces. If the surfaces are different, the piston extends to the smaller surface. These valves can be mounted on front panels or via through-holes or mounting holes. VHER valves also have the option of using sensors to detect the switching position.

Hand lever valve VHER

Application areas for pneumatic valves

Mechanically and manually operated pneumatic valves are needed in various industries and applications to regulate systems. For example, a pneumatic valve can be used in the following applications:

  • Material transport: pneumatic axes and drives in conveyor systems can be controlled automatically using mechanical valves. Manual valves can also be used to influence the transport process, especially in conveyor systems with roller conveyors.
  • Industrial processing: pneumatic processing equipment such as ironing and pressing machines can be regulated and made secure with a pneumatic valve. In case of overpressure, the pressure can be adjusted by overpressure valves so that no damage occurs in the system.
  • Packaging industry: in pneumatic packaging systems, such as packaging and wrapping machines, the process can be controlled manually or mechanically by using these valves.
  • Industrial processes can be easily designed via the mechanically and manually operated valves without the need for an electrical controller. For instance, stopping pallets on roller conveyor belt without sensors and electric controllers.
  • Manual valves control the compressed air at the machine, for example, for switching it on and off, clamping parts, sorting out parts, etc.
  • Manually operated valves are also used in the automotive industry, for example on car tyre changers.