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What are the issues when buying an industrial ball valve

industrial valve

Ball valves are versatile flow control devices used in various industrial applications. Their versatility makes them suitable for use in sanitary, petrochemical, and cryogenic applications.

Fluid flow is controlled by hollow, pivoting balls with reduced or full ports. Internal diameters of adjacent pipelines are equal to full port valve dimensions. A reduced port valve has an internal diameter that is one pipe size smaller than the adjacent pipe. A 1″ reduced port valve, for example, will use a ball with a 34″ port diameter.

The following are the most notable advantages of ball valves over other industrial valves:

  • They offer watertight seals.  
  • They can quickly open and close. •
  • They last longer than most other industrial valves.

There are several classifications for valves. The performance characteristics of the valve are determined by the category or design. Among the categories are:

  • Ball movement-based valve design: floating and trunnion-mounted
  • Port type: full port, standard port, or V-port valve.
  • Body type: single, split, top-entry, 3-piece, or welded.

Before selecting ball valves, industrial engineers must ask a few questions. Finding answers to these questions guides experts through the complex valve selection process and aids in selecting dependable ball valves that meet the piping system’s requirements.

What are these inquiries?

1. What kind of fluid will pass through the Ball Valve?

The first question the engineers must answer is what kind of fluid will pass through the pipeline. What is it: a liquid, a gas, or a semi-solid (slurry)? Understanding the fluid’s physical and chemical properties aids in analyzing its behavior as it flows past the valve.

2.Which methods of actuation will you employ?

Pipeline designers must specify the type of valve actuation that will be used to supplement flow control operations. Some piping systems necessitate frequent valve operation and high precision levels. Other flow operations necessitate a single-time activation of the ball valve. When selecting ball valves, the designer must consider the frequency of valve operations. They must also assess the energy requirements and the complexity of actuation technologies.

The following actuation methods are available for ball valves:

  • Pneumatic
  • Electric
  • Manual
  • Hydraulic

In processes that require fast cycle times, pneumatic actuation for ball valves is the best option. These low-cycle valves must be operated only a few times per year.

3.What are the pipeline’s temperature and pressure ratings?

When selecting ball valves, it is critical to specify the pressure and temperature conditions of the service fluid and the working environment. The mechanical strength of the valve can be affected by the temperature ranges of the service fluid. If the temperature fluctuations are too large, the valve will experience non-uniform expansion and contraction, which may eventually lead to surface fractures. Ball valves should maintain the pressure of the service fluid. Excessive pressures have an impact on sealing quality and can cause premature wear. Therefore, choose a ball valve with temperature and pressure ratings equal to or greater than the pipeline ratings.

4.What are the annual cycles expected to be?

The frequency with which a ball valve cycles affects its durability. Engineers should calculate annual operating cycles to determine the durability of various ball valves in the piping system—other factors, such as maintenance and media abrasion, impact valve reliability throughout their lifecycle. Before selecting an actuation mechanism, designers should estimate the life expectancy of ball valves. Ball valves can withstand tens of thousands of operations without failure if adequately specified. After determining the cycling requirements, engineers may opt for pneumatically actuated valves, which are more durable and reliable than electrically actuated counterparts.

5.What are your plans for the Ball valve?

While various types and brands of ball valves are available on the market, each has a specific application area. For example, a steel ball valve for a chemical processing facility may not meet the specifications for use in a sanitary application.

When selecting application-specific valves, the designer should be aware of whether:

  • The valve completely stops the flow.  
  • The valve alternates flow between sources.  
  • Splits flow from a single source to two destinations (applies to 3-way ball valves).

Different pressure and temperature conditions are encountered in industrial applications. As a result, various classes of ball valves have strict emission and leakage control requirements.

6.What materials are used to make the valve?

The properties of the service fluid determine the type of valve materials. Engineers should confirm the following when evaluating valve materials:

  • Interoperability with the service media
  • Anti-corrosion properties
  • Cost

Brass, stainless steel, plastic, Monel, Inconel, Molybdenum, Chromium alloys, nickel alloys, or copper are the most commonly used materials for ball valve bodies. However, materials with higher strength and corrosion resistance values, such as Monel or Inconel, are required for severe service ball valves.

Designers should consider the composition of seal materials when examining valve materials. For example, rubber or PTFE seals may be used in soft-seated ball valves. Metal-to-metal seats are used in ball valves for extreme fluid service.

Which quality assurance and testing procedures does your valve vendor employ?

When working with vendors or manufacturers, the company should inquire about its testing protocols and quality assurance measures. To ensure that valves are safe for specific applications, testing procedures analyze the performance of various ball valves, leak and emission tests, and pressure tests.

Do not buy ball valves simply because they are the cheapest on the market.  It’s pointless to buy a bunch of ball valves only to have them fail after a few uses.

7.What credentials should the valve have?

Ball valves are used in numerous industries. Appointed organizations certify products in each sector to ensure compliance with health and safety regulations. Ball valves and their actuators are subject to the following certifications, depending on the application:

  • ANSI certifications: Determines pipe flange pressure and temperature ratings.
  • NEMA certifications: Specifies the design of electrically actuated ball valves.
  • NSF certifications: These provide guidelines for selecting ball valves in food, beverage, and pharmaceutical manufacturing facilities.

Ball valves should be certified for the fluid applications that you use in your facility.

8.What are the Ball valve maintenance requirements?

Ball valves typically only necessitate a small number of maintenance interventions. They have straightforward flow control mechanisms and are less prone to failure. However, this does not negate that industrial valves occasionally require maintenance. Establish a plan for inspection and maintenance when selecting valves. Maintain a low inventory of repair and replacement parts such as valve seals and actuator consumables. Manual ball valves may require less maintenance than actuated valves.


It is difficult to select ball valves for various industrial applications. It necessitates a thorough examination of the pipeline’s technical specifications, as well as the careful selection of manufacturing materials and researching the different valve industry codes and standards.

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