Mechanical & hand operated valves

Mechanical and manual pneumatic valves

Mechanical and manual pneumatic valves are required in pneumatic systems to regulate air pressure or the compressed air as a medium. Manual operation means that the directional control valves are operated (opened or closed) by a pushbutton, hand lever, rotary lever, mushroom pushbutton or with the help of 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 (e.g. 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 allowed to pass. 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 depressurized and new air supply can be stopped. Manually actuated 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 portfolio, 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 they are used as electric, pneumatic or manual valves. However, since the requirements for a pneumatic valve can vary greatly depending on the project, environment or application, there are several models and variants that can be used.

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

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

Mechanically actuated valve, VMEF

This mechanical valve is included in Festo's core range. It is available as a stem actuated valve or with roller lever (with idle return). Some versions of the valve are also suitable for vacuum operation. The valve is characterized by its robust metal housing and high pneumatic performance. The ergonomic operation works safely and reliably. Only low actuating forces are required and the valve can also be operated reversibly. Other highlights are the modern design and the attractive price.

Mechanically actuated pneumatic valve, metric VMEF

Manually actuated valve, VHEF

Like the mechanical variant, this manually operated valve is also included in Festo's core range. Hand levers, finger levers or selector switches are available as actuating elements for this purpose. Like the mechanical version, this valve has a sturdy metal housing, offers ergonomic operation, requires little actuating force and has an impressive modern design. In addition, reversible operation is also possible here.

Manually actuated valve, metric VHEF

Hand lever valve, VHER

This valve – also included in the Festo core range – offers a lever in metal or polymer design 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" variants (C types), the piston of the actuator moves until the forces are in equilibrium. With "mid-position exhausting" variants (E types), the piston can be moved and only the frictional forces have to be overcome. On the other hand, the same pressure is applied to ports 2 and 4 in the "mid-position exhausting" (U types). 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 offer front panel mounting and through-holes or mounting holes. VHER valves also offer the possibility to monitor the switching position with sensors.

Hand lever valve, metric VHER

Applications of pneumatic valves

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

  • Material handling: Pneumatic axes and drives can be controlled automatically with mechanical valves in materials handling technology. Manual valves can also be used to influence the transport process – especially in conveyor systems with roller conveyors.
  • Industrial finishing: Pneumatic finishing equipment such as ironing and pressing machines can be regulated and secured with a pneumatic valve. In case of overpressure, the pressure can be adjusted by pressure relief valves so that no damage occurs in the system.
  • Packaging industry: The process can also be controlled manually or mechanically using the valves in the pneumatic packaging systems, such as packaging and wrapping machines.
  • Via the mechanically and manually operated valves, industrial processes can be easily achieved without the need for electrical controllers. For example, stopping pallets on roller conveyor belts – without sensors and electrical controllers.
  • Manual valves control the compressed air at the machine, for example, for switching on and off, clamping parts, sorting out parts, etc.
  • Manuel actuated valves are also used in the automotive industry, for example on tire changers.