AS9120B, ISO 9001:2015, and FAA AC 0056B ACCREDITED

The Different Types of Flow Control Valves

When you are working with a hydraulic flow system that depends on fluids, it is important to have a means by which to control the water as it travels. Whether by regulating flow or pressure, flow control valves allow for control over a fluid system, and they typically react to signals generated by flow meters or temperature gauges. Depending on the specific industry and application in which your control valve will be used, different designs with varying levels of complexity are available. 

Common uses for flow control valves include controlling the speed of motors, depressurizing a service hose, prepping systems for fitting changes or repairs, and much more. Due to their design, flow control valves are typically long lasting as they are not prone to becoming clogged. With such flexible parameters, flow control valves are widely employed across many industries. The five we will discuss below include gate, globe, pinch, diaphragm, and needle valves.

A gate valve is used to control fluids flowing in a straight line by the means of lifting a gate up and down within the tubing. These valves are operated by a user twisting an external wheel in either a clockwise to close (CTC) or clockwise to open (CTO) motion, depending on the design. Regardless of direction, these valves require several wheel rotations to move the gate because this prevents water hammering effects. With minimal pressure losses, these valves are popular among engineering applications.

Another popular valve type is a globe valve, that of which also works to control linear motion. These valves use a disk that is also lifted and lowered into place, but they differ from gate valves in that their external shape is spherical, rather than flat. As such, they produce slightly higher pressure drops than other straight-through valves, so they are best used in applications where pressure drop through the valve is not a controlling factor of the flow.

Pinch valves are a more cost effective choice for your applications, and due to their functions, they work well for slurries or liquids with suspended solids. A pinch valve is created with flexible parts, like rubber tubes, to squeeze shut to control flow by the means of air or hydraulic pressure.

Another flexible design, diaphragm valves use a flexible disc that fits in a seat to form a barrier. Pressure-responsive, it transmits force to open, close, or control a valve. Their elastomer diaphragm shape allows for leak-proof use with corrosive and erosive mediums. At the same time, these valves are only useful for applications with lower pressure of around 300 psi.

A final popular option you may consider is the needle valve, that of which is good for restricting flow in small lines. Like globe valves, needle valves run on a threaded operating system, but they are more precise in that they are capable of being fine-tuned. Additionally, they do not require much force to operate.


December 13, 2022
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