Pneumatic ball valves are essential for controlling the flow of liquids, gases, and other media. With a rotating ball with a bore, the pneumatic actuator can turn it to open, close, or partially open the flow. This type of valve is highly valued for its ease of operation, reliability, long service life, and wide range of uses in many industries. Installation and maintenance costs are also kept low, making it a practical yet cost-effective solution for any application.
Pneumatic actuators are used to automate ball valves, giving rise to the name “pneumatic ball valve. There are two different actuators: quarter-turn actuators (90° rotation) for a ball and butterfly valves and linear actuators for diaphragm valves. Both types are available in three configurations, determined by the application or on-site situation.
Valves are a crucial component of many systems and industries, and knowing the differences and categories they fall under is essential. Whether you are working with steam systems, sanitary systems, or any other type of system, these four categories of valves can help you select the right one for your needs.
- Ball valve or Butterfly valve – The valve element ‘swivels’ in the flow path to stop the flow.
- Globe valve: The valve element acts as a seal or plugs in the passageway to stop the flow.
- Gate valve – The valve element is ‘inserted’ into the flow path to stop the flow.
- Diaphragm valve – The passageway is ‘throttled from the outside’ to stop a flow.
Understanding the different valve types will help you select the most appropriate one for your needs. Each class, from ball to diaphragm valves, has unique features and capabilities that suit different system requirements.
Let’s dive deeper into the differences between ball and globe valves, two types commonly used in steam systems. From their construction and functionality to their various applications, let’s explore the pros and cons of each. With this knowledge, you’ll be better equipped to choose the suitable valve for your steam system.
Ball Valves provide unparalleled shut-off values and fast response cuts, making them an ideal choice for various applications. This type of valve features a polished steel ball with a hole in the center that rotates in the valve body. When the hole is aligned with the pipe, materials can flow through it, but when the ball is turned at right angles, the flow is cut off. This fast actuation travel, combined with the perfect seal provided by the average arrangement of the balls, makes motorized ball valves an excellent choice for precise and reliable flow control.
Ball valves provide an excellent shut-off, making them a practical and cost-effective option. To open and close the valve, you only need to turn the lever by 90°C. Furthermore, they can be a complete bore, meaning the inside of the pipe is the same size as the opening of the valve, helping to reduce pressure loss. Additionally, they are less likely to experience gasket leakage due to the valve stem only needing to turn 90°C.
It should be noted that this valve is designed for use only when it is fully opened or fully closed. It is unsuitable for use in a partially open position for any application, including flow control. Therefore, it is not ideal for applications requiring partial opening or closing of the valve.
The Globe Valve is ideal for many applications, from flow control to zero flow. When the valve is closed, it presses tightly against the valve seat, preventing liquid flow. To open the valve, the valve must be lifted away from the valve seat, allowing for precise flow regulation. A unique feature of the Globe Valve is its resistance to damage caused by the fluid, even when partially open. The best type of Globe Valve for applications requiring precise flow control is the Needle Valve.
Nevertheless, because of the S-shaped passageway of this valve, the pressure drop is significantly higher than with other valve types. Additionally, the valve stem must be frequently turned to open or close the valve, resulting in a tendency for the gasket to leak. Moreover, it is difficult to determine when the valve is fully closed because it requires firmly seating the valve stem against the valve seat. In some cases, an accidental overturning of the valve stem has caused damage to the seating surfaces.
Pneumatic Ball Valves
Pneumatic valves, also known as pneumatically actuated angle seat valves or externally piloted valves are ideal when a standard solenoid valve doesn’t meet your application requirements. These valves offer superior precision and durability, making them an excellent option for applications that require precise control and reliable performance. Thanks to their pneumatically actuated design, these valves are also incredibly easy to install, helping you save time and money by avoiding costly installation and maintenance costs. With their superior performance, reliability, and ease of installation, pneumatic valves are the perfect choice when you need a reliable, high-performance solution.
This valve is an excellent choice for difficult applications. It offers ultra-high flow rates, can start from 0 differential pressure, and can handle high temperatures. It’s also capable of handling fluids with high viscosity or contamination. For EEx zones, the pilot valve can be placed outside the area for safe use. This valve is typically paired with a pneumatic actuator powered by a 3-way valve solenoid to get the most out of this valve. The high pressure of the pilot fluid drives the actuator cylinder, pushing the piston to open or close the seal. This precise and reliable action ensures a perfect seal every time.
When the process is complete, the seal returns to its resting position using a return spring within the pneumatic actuator.
A ball valve is not inherently pneumatic. When someone says “pneumatic ball valve,” they mean a ball valve with a pneumatic actuator. This actuator is designed to be mounted to an industry-standard ISO 5211 4-bolt mounting pad, allowing for easy integration into automated systems. Adding a pneumatic actuator to a ball valve allows for remote operation and control of the valve.
Pneumatic Valve Applications
A pneumatic ball valve is a versatile tool that can be used in a variety of applications.
It can offer various benefits for industrial and commercial operations, from cooling and pre-heating to sterilizers and autoclaves. It is also suitable for high-pressure lubrication and distribution of steam, as well as for bottling, textile production equipment, industrial steam ironing equipment, and the mixing of paints, inks and colors. Additionally, it can be used in industrial washing and cleaning equipment. You can handle various tasks quickly and efficiently with a pneumatic ball valve.
Other Uses for Pneumatic Valves
Pneumatic valves are versatile and have a wide range of applications in all industry sectors’ automation and remote-control systems, from machine tools, chemicals, petrochemicals, medical, pharmaceuticals, and food to transport. They are used to facilitate efficient and effective operations and can also be applied to benefit communities. For instance, they can control hot water, air or steam heating, air conditioning, transport of liquid or gaseous fuels, and fire-fighting systems. In addition, pneumatic valves provide reliable control and precision in these systems, ensuring a safe and secure environment for people and property.