MANIFOLD FAQS

manifold faq
How much do bonded manifolds cost? Are they less expensive than drilled manifolds?

Price varies by the number of layers, material choice, channel size, feature density, and other factors. There is no general pricing, as manifold costs are design-dependent.

Due to the plastic bonding process, a bonded manifold is more expense than an “identical” drill manifold. However, the bonding process allows for geometries that would be difficult, if not impossible, in a drilled manifold. Tighter packing, reduction of manifold count and associated tubing, and component integration make bonded manifold economics attractive! From a total-system-design viewpoint, the cost of ownership is competitive.

Why use a bonded manifold?

A bonded manifold is a good choice for customers looking for the smallest manifold envelope size while integrating the maximum number of components at a single location. This technology allows the engineers to achieve device-size reduction while also reducing complexity. Additionally, top-mounted designs are the simplest to conceptualize and place into a workspace, with convenient tubing and all hardware easily accessible.

What channel sizes can Controlled Fluidics make?

Channels for microfluidics can be as small as 100 microns. For larger fluidic devices, 0.5 mm to 3 mm is common.

What are the various channel shapes? Is any one shape better than the others?

Channels can be single sided or double sided. Channel shapes are square, “D” shape, or full round. Controlled Fluidics recommends full round channels for best flow characteristics with minimum particle entrapment. The cost of the additional machining for full round channels is minimal for the average laminated manifold.

Are “bonded in” components possible?

Yes, they are. Controlled Fluidics bonds a number of different types of components into multi-layer manifolds. We also are able to obtain a leak-proof seal around components. However, please note that the components will not be serviceable after bonding.

How many layers can my manifold have?

Theoretically, we can bond an unlimited number of layers! Practically, six layers is desirable. Often, it is wise to divide very large and complex manifold designs into two separate manifolds. Fallout rate and installation damage can be costly with a single large manifold. Also consider building each layer 1.5 mm below standard imperial sizes. This saves money. Why purchase thicker materials only for machining purposes?

What advantages does Controlled Fluidics have over competitors' manifolds?

Our technology allows us to build very precise, intricate plastic manifolds. We prefer full round channels, and features maintain their shape through the bonding process. Reservoirs and accumulators integral to a manifold are our specialties! Our prices are competitive, with minimal NRE/tooling cost for new projects. Expect a quick response on quotes.

What is your lead-time? Does Controlled Fluidics have a prototype service?

Our standard lead-time is four weeks for most two-layer manifolds. Complex projects (above two layers) will require additional time. If time is of the essence, we do have a Rapid Response prototype service that can deliver laminated manifolds in two weeks or less.

Can Controlled Fluidics bond injection molded blanks?

Yes, we can! As each application is unique, please contact engineering to discuss your project details.

What pressures can I run in my manifold?

Pressure specifications are highly design dependent. Our manifolds have been successfully run to over 500 psi in the channels.

How close can the features be to each other?

We have successfully produced manifolds with channels as close as 0.5 mm.

When should I use inserts?

Inserts make sense for manifolds that are repeatedly disassembled for servicing. Metal inserts will tolerate repeated torqueing better than plastic ones will. For single assembly situations, a plastic thread is reliable. For very small threads, we recommend inserts for every application (i.e. 0-80 and 2-56). Helicoils add stress to the finished manifold, and Controlled Fluidics does not recommend them for inclusion in your manifold design.

How strong is the bond joint?

Our bond strength is near parent-material strength. Threads and channel outlets on the bond line are okay.

Does the bonding process change the internal feature size?

No. We maintain size and position.

What is your most commonly used material?

For pneumatics, acrylic is an excellent choice. For liquids, polycarbonate is popular. Polycarbonate is slightly more expensive than acrylic, with better chemical resistance and temperature range.

Does Controlled Fluidics pressure test manifolds before delivery?

We can pressure test your manifolds at your request. Controlled Fluidics has yet to experience a field failure in any of our manifolds from delamination or cross-talk – our quality is uncompromising!