Niche businesses – a look at the world of fluid control

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This is the age of the entrepreneur. There has never been a better time to start your own business, and it is a road on which a growing proportion of people are choosing to travel. This holds true on both sides of the Atlantic – indeed, despite all the confusion concerning the UK’s messy departure from the EU, Prime Minister Theresa May described small businesses and sole traders as the backbone of Britain.

Choosing your niche

There are a whole host of reasons for starting a small business, with disillusionment at the corporate world and the desire to be your own boss usually coming near the top of the list. But the make-or-break decision lies in choosing your niche. Talk about entrepreneurs, and you tend to think of tech innovators like Elon Musk or small businesses in emerging sectors like digital marketing. However, there are numerous other sectors that are not so high profile but are nevertheless a vitally important part of the economy. Here, we take a look at the world of fluid control, in which UK company Tameson has risen from humble beginnings as a Dutch startup to become a key player across Europe.

What is fluid control?

The topic might sound like something deeply scientific and specialized, but the truth is that fluid control is part of our everyday lives. Every time you take a shower, water your garden or wash the car, you are putting principles of fluid control into action.

You might think that there is nothing more at play here than basic plumbing, but think again. Fluid control has felt the influence of technology, just like every other sector, and one of the key innovations has been in the use of solenoid valves. So what is a solenoid valve? Essentially, it is used whenever there is a need to control or regulate fluid flow automatically. Solenoid valves are important in industry for operating plant and equipment, but in this age of home automation, they are also hugely significant in our domestic lives.

How do solenoid valves work?

A solenoid valve can be thought of as a control unit. When electrically activated, it allows fluid flow, and when deactivated it shuts it off. The actuator is in the form of an electromagnet, and when switched on, a magnetic field moves either a plunger or armature against a spring. When deactivated, the spring action returns it to its original position.

Everyday uses

In any home application that involves automation and fluids, solenoid valves will be working behind the scenes, making it all happen. Smart heating or cooling systems that regulate the temperature of your home at given times of day are one example. Similarly, if you have an automatic irrigation system that waters your garden depending on the weather conditions, time of day and so on, it could not happen without a solenoid valve.

As homes get smarter, so the applications become wider. We all like to sit and wonder about the future of smart homes, but whatever direction the combination of technology and fashion takes, you can be sure that solid engineering technology such as fluid control will be behind it.

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