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Hartford Technologies Blog

The Fundamentals of Ball Valves

Posted: Sep 16, 2022 11:54:16 AM

In the next five years, the ball valve market is projected to reach $16.2 billion, making them an essential component in many applications. A number of leading industries look to manufacturing companies to produce quality-grade precision balls for their day-to-day operations.

In this blog, we will be taking a look at why ball valves are important to everyday life, and how their capabilities impact a substantial number of industries and their daily functions.

Defining Ball Valves

In order to understand what makes a ball valve so important, we must take a look at what a ball valve is and its anatomy.

Closed (2)-1With help from precision balls, ball valves act as a necessary part of a control tool that allows fluids and/or gases to flow in a designated direction.

Operating in an open and close mechanism, when a valve is open, the ball's hole is in line with the flow inlet. When closed, the ball’s hole is pivoted at a 90-degree angle by the valve’s handle, halting liquids from passing through. You should not use ball valves to control flow in a half-open or half-closed way. This is because the pressure could damage parts of the valve.

Ball Valve Applications and Advantages

Ball valves are an essential tool for many people that work in commercial and industrial settings. Millions of valves are working on a daily basis in various industries globally. Wherever fluids move in a pipe, valves are needed to secure their safe and reliable flow. Ball valves are used in a wide variety of industries, including:

  • Water purification and processing equipment
  • Energy production
  • Chemical industries
  • Oil refineries

Ball valves are essential in gas and water piping systems, which is one of the major reasons they are used so much in the natural gas and chemical industries. Ball valves are cost-effective, easy to operate, provide airtight closure, are easily repairable, and are safe to use–even when the temperature and pressure are high.

Anatomy of a Ball Valve

1. The Body

The body of the ball valve is the structure. It keeps all the other components together. The body attaches to the pipes that are part of the pipe network. You can get the body of ball valves in either one, two, or three separate pieces.

2. The Stem

You call the shaft that links the internal ball to a handle the ball valve stem. It transmits the actual quarter-turn pressure movement from the lever to the remote ball part.

3. The Ball In the Valve

The hollow sphere in the center of the valve is the ball part. When you turn the valve, it either allows or prevents the media from moving through. The ball is the integral component of the ball valve that Hartford Technologies manufactures to precision tolerance.

4. Ball Valve Packing

The ball valve packing section prevents any leakage from the valve. The packing also prevents the escape of media to the outside environment.

5. The Ball Valve Bonnet

The bonnet is the valve housing, which covers the packing and the stem. It provides secondary leakage protection.

6. The Ball Valve Seat

The ball valve seat secures the ball component, providing a secondary layer of protection against leaks as the valve closes.

7. The Actuator or Handle

This actuator or handle exists outside of the body. This item is responsible for opening and closing the valve.

Types of Ball Valves 

Ball valves come in a variety of different designs and options. There are five general body styles of ball valves: one-part, two-part or split body, three-part, top entry, and welded. The solid, cast body of a one-part ball valve makes it less likely that it will leak. In addition, these types of ball valves are cheap and usually don't need to be repaired.

Some of the most common ball valves consist of two parts. As the name suggests, this type of valve is made up of two parts; the body and a connector piece at the end. The two parts of the body are held together by a flange. Most of the time, these valves cannot be fixed in situ unless taken out of service.

Three-piece ball valves are made of a body and two end caps. Most end caps are welded or threaded to the pipe. The main body section can be quickly taken off for cleanup or repair without removing the end caps. This is a handy choice, as it keeps the manufacturing line from stopping production when necessary for maintenance.

Top-entry ball valves are used mainly for piping systems. This is because the top of the valve can be removed in order to gain access to the ball and seats without removing the entire valve from the system. It is common for top entry ball valves to be used in high-pressure applications that require little to no maintenance like high integrity pressure protection systems (HIPPS) for example.

Welded ball valves are typically used in gas transmission distribution pipelines that are installed underground. A fully welded valve is designed to reduce density and increase the strength of flow while eliminating potential leak points.

There is a wide range of design options and construction materials available for ball valves. Choosing the correct ball valve for your particular application can be difficult and time-consuming.

About Hartford Technologies 

Hartford Technologies is a leading manufacturer of precision balls, an essential component in a valve's structure. Our rapid prototyping service is recognized as one of the industry’s pre-eminent resources for the development and testing of precision balls for valves. Hartford’s two-continent operations provides additional advantages in lead time, logistics and cost. Working with other essential industry suppliers we are able to assure the best solutions and uses for the precision balls in order to produce quality valves on the market today. By considering application requirements, deploying automated processes, and utilizing a formal QMS, Hartford strives to incorporate safety into every ball and ball retainer they make.

To request a quote or learn more, contact Hartford today.