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Hartford Technologies Blog

What Buyers Look for in Flow Control Valves

Posted: Jul 13, 2020 4:30:28 PM

Every fluid system incorporates a flow control valve, often more than one. These range from simple check valves that stop fluid flowing the wrong way to complex globe and needle valves for precise flow rate control. With so much variety buyers can struggle to pick the best valve for their application.

The majority of valves sold have a ball as the main functional or operating element. For best performance the valve needs a ball of the right material and quality. If you're a flow control valve manufacturer here's some guidance for giving ball valve buyers what they need.

Understand Their Flow Control Needs

Start with the task. Does the application need precise control over flow rate or is a simple open-closed action sufficient? This question steers buyers to the type of valve needed.

Consider the media the valve will be used with. Is it for liquid or gas, and will it be corrosive?This restricts the range of material options, as can high temperatures. Food and medical applications pose particular challenges due to aggressive cleaning procedures and the need to avoid contamination or taint.

Actuation methods vary widely. Will the valve be operated by turning a handle, by servomotor or by a rod or cylinder?

Then there are flow rate, pressure, pressure drop and valve size or diameter to consider. This is when you get into the realm of fluid dynamics and it’s where buyers really need the help of a valve expert. This person, perhaps with the help of modeling tools, should determine optimal sizing from the flow rate and pressure drop required.

Consider Ball Quality

The heart of many flow control valves is the ball. This has to withstand the media flowing through or around it while providing a good seal over many thousands of actuations. In food, medical or pharmaceutical applications it must also be readily cleaned and sterilized.

Sealing action depends on ball precision, surface finish and housing or seat material compatibility. A hard ball will wear the seat quickly while one that’s too soft will deform. A rough surface will have trouble sealing and also increase pressure drop through the valve. Galvanic corrosion and the possibility of fretting are other concerns.

Precision Balls From Hartford Technologies

Over eight decades Hartford Technologies has mastered the art of making precision balls. Produced in materials ranging from stainless steel to glass, these are used in flow control products like check valves, pressure relief valves and poppet valves. End applications are as diverse as animal feeding systems and medical flow meters. Contact Us to learn more.