5 Main Industrial Valves and Their Applications
Process valves are a type of fittings that are useful in many different industries, including power plants, gas plants, chemical plants, any refining process, and many more. Because of this wide range of applications, there are many different types of valves to fit each system and its requirements. In this article, we will discuss the main types of industrial valves and their applications in process systems.
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What Are the Main Types of Industrial Valves and Their Applications?
We have been using valves for decades now, and during this time various types of valves have been devised to carry the required tasks.
The main purpose of an industrial valve is to control, regulate, and direct a kind of fluid in a process piping system. This is done by partial or complete closing or opening of a passageway. The fluid can be liquid, gas, slurry, or fluidized solid that flows in a process system.
Nowadays, valves are mainly categorized into nine types.
- Gate valves,
- Ball valves,
- Butterfly valves,
- Check valves,
- Globe valves,
- Plug valves,
- Pressure-relief valves,
- Needle valves,
- Pinch valves.
Among these, the first five are the most commonly used industrial valves with the widest range of use.
Let’s briefly review these five popular industrial valves and their applications as well as their subtypes and pros and cons. In our next blog, we will discuss the other four types.
1. Gate Valves, a Great Choice for an Isolation Valve
Gate valves open and close the passageway to allow or halt the flow. The gate-like or wedge-shaped disk moves manually in a linear fashion. They are not usually used to regulate the flow but are mainly used as shut off/on valves (or isolating valves) in both home and commercial systems. They are also a good option for higher temperatures and pressure.
Gate valves come in different types. Based on how it is closed and the disk, there are
- Parallel disk gate valves
- Solid-wedge gate valves
- Flexible wedge gate valves
- Split wedge gate valves
They are also made of various materials, such as stainless steel, brass, alloy steel, bronze gate valves, cast steel, and cast-iron gate valves.
Except for these types, there are other forms of gate valves based on their bonnet types (union gate valve, bolted bonnet gate valve, screwed gate valve), their seat type (resilient seated gate valve and metal seated gate valve), and their stem types (rising stem gate valve or OS&Y gate valve and non-rising stem gate valve).
Advantages of Gate Valves
- The disk fully opens (or closes), which is why it does not cause any flow resistance, and therefore, there is no loss of pressure.
- They can be used bi-directionally.
- They are simple.
- They can be used in large-diameter pipes.
Disadvantages of Gate Valves
- If the high temperature changes irregularly in the system, there might be some leakages.
- They are slow to open and close.
- There can be some vibrations.
- Although the design is simple, in case of a problem, the repair and maintenance are complicated.
- They are not a good choice for throttling or regulating the flow.
2. Ball Valves, a Quick Valve Ideal for Gas Fluids
Another form of isolating valves, ball valves are quick as they just need a quarter turn to open or close. They are very popular because they can partially obstruct the passageway to regulate the flow, and when closed, they can make a good air-tight sealing.
The disk looks like a hollow ball that moves in a rotational motion. The design is very simple, which makes the maintenance and repair simple as well. They can be operated manually, pneumatically, and electrically.
Ball valves come in different types: One-piece ball valve, two-piece ball valve, three-piece ball valve, top entry ball valve (based on its body assembly); trunnion ball valve and floating ball valve (based on its stem); segmented ball valve, full bore ball valve, reduced bore ball valve, multi-port ball valve (based on its bore); welding ball valve, flanged ball valve, and threaded ball valve (based on its connection).
They also come in different materials, such as brass, stainless steel, carbon steel, PVC, polypropylene (PP), polyethylene (PE), glass fiber-reinforced polypropylene (GFPP), polyvinylidene difluoride (PVDF), and more.
Advantages of Ball Valves
- They operate well in pressures as high as 700 bars, and temperatures as high as 200 °C.
- They do not cause pressure drop.
- They are low-maintenance and simple.
- They are budget-friendly.
- They are leak-proof and make air-tight sealing.
- They are quick and can operate differently.
- They come in different designs and materials to fit each system.
Disadvantages of Ball Valves
- They do not work very well for control or throttling purposes.
- They do not work well with thick fluids. Fluids with particles may cause abrasion, leakage, etc.
- They are susceptible to surge pressure (water hammer).
3. Butterfly Valves, an Accurate Valve Great for Large Pipes
Butterfly valves are versatile and mainly used for regulating purposes. A perpendicular disk obstructs the passageway when closed, and it rotates to allow the fluid. They can operate manually (with a handle, gear, etc.), electrically, or pneumatically. Butterfly valves are also quarter-turn. They work specifically great in large pipes.
Different types of butterfly valves include
- Wafer butterfly valves,
- Lug butterfly valves,
- Flanged butterfly valves,
- Welded butterfly valves,
- Zero-offset butterfly valves,
- Double offset butterfly valves,
- Triple offset butterfly valves.
They also come in different metal, rubber-lined, and plastic-lined materials, such as EPDM (ethylene propylene diene monomer), PTFE, etc.
Advantages of Butterfly Valves
- They are very accurate and reliable, so you do not have to check them often.
- The design is compact and light-weighted.
- They are low-maintenance and cost-effective.
- They are good for regulating and limiting throttling (in low pressure and temperature).
- They do not cause pressure drop.
- They are easy to install or remove. There is no need to dislocate the system.
- Non-metallic seating butterfly valves are suitable for corrosive fluids.
Disadvantages of Butterfly Valves
- Higher pressures can affect the performance and cause leakages or other problems.
- They have limited control capabilities.
- They cannot make tight sealings.
Not sure what process valves to use in your pipe system? Ask us your questions about industrial valves and their applications.
4. Check Valves, a Valve to Stop the Backflow
Non-return valves (NRV) or check valves are most useful where the backflow of the gas or liquid fluid can disturb or damage the system, for example, compressors, pumps, or when there is more than one kind of gas flowing in the system.
As the design is simple, the valve does not require much human interaction. The internal pressure of the pipe makes the valve open or close by itself. However, as check valves are used to prevent damage, it is important to be very careful in installing and selecting the right type for your system and check them regularly to make sure they are working properly, especially in higher temperatures. These precautions can prevent check valve failure.
They are available in stainless steel, bronze, and cast steel. The two main types of check valves include lifting type check valves and swing type check valves, each of which has its own subtypes.
Advantages of Check Valves
- They have a simple design.
- There is no need to be operated manually or by automation.
- They are the best choice for backflow prevention.
- They are suitable to be used as a backup system.
- They are able to sustain the inside pressure.
Disadvantages of Check Valves
- They cannot work well in pulsating systems.
- They are not a good choice for throttling purposes.
- The disk or other parts can get stuck or crash and cause damage to the whole system.
5. Globe Valves, a Versatile Valve Best for Throttling
To complete this blog about common industrial valves and their applications, let’s discuss the versatile globe valves. They contain a plug or a disk that moves linearly to turn on/off, regulate and control the flow. They are also commonly used for throttling. Besides, globe valves can tolerate higher temperatures.
One of the factors that has made globe valves popular is the lower risk of leakage compared to other valves. In addition, they can be operated manually (by a handwheel or a gear), pneumatically, electrically, or hydraulically.
The type of body in globe valves can be different. Based on this, there are Tee pattern globe valves, Wye pattern globe valves (Y-body globe valves), angle globe valves, and Z-body globe valves.
Globe valves are available in cast iron, brass, bronze, carbon steel, and stainless steel. The last two are especially suited to be used at higher pressures and temperatures.
Advantages of Globe Valves
- They are good options for throttling purposes.
- They can continue controlling the flow in higher temperatures.
- They are not likely to leak.
- It takes a short time for them to open or close.
- They are a suitable choice for a stop-check valve.
- They do not wear off easily.
- The repair is easy.
- They have a good shutting mechanism.
Disadvantages of Globe Valves
- They are not suitable for higher pressures.
- They can cause high-pressure drops.
Order any Industrial Valve to Be Delivered to You Quickly
In this blog, we reviewed the most common industrial valves and their applications in process piping systems. We tried to shortly address gate valves, ball valves, globe valves, check valves, and butterfly valves, and their applications and pros and cons. Still, there is much more to each valve. That is why, we are ready to help you in choosing the right valves for your specific system. We also make custom assemblies to make your job easier for you.
At Process Valve and Instruments, in Alabama, we supply any kind of industrial valves, instrumentations, fittings, actuators, hoses, etc., and deliver them to our customers across the United States. So, just pick up a phone and place your order at 800-749-8068. The products will be delivered to you soon and safely.
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