When one is dealing with an application or system that involves the use of fluid flow, there will almost always be some type of valve involved for fluid management. Valves may come in various types depending on the application in question, and flow control valves in particular are a common type that are used to regulate the flow of fluid in hydraulic circuits. By managing the amount of fluid supplied to various sections of a system, hydraulic motor assemblies, cylinders, and other apparatuses may be governed in terms of pressure, temperature, and other flow adjustments.
Flow control valves may vary in their design based on the application in question, but all feature some similar parts that enable fluid control. Generally, the most common elements are the body, bonnet, trim, disk and seat, stem, actuator, handwheel, and valve packing. While components like the body and valve packing are both important for containing and sealing all internal components, parts like the disc and seat are essential for actual fluid control. By adjusting the disc with the use of the stem, actuator, and handwheel, fluid flow can be restricted however necessary by adjusting the opening of the valve. The control of the disc and stem may be manual or electric, based on whether a manual adjustment tool is used or if an electric motor is present.
With all flow control valve components, adjusting the disc and opening will determine fluid flow. However, changing the flow of fluid will also cause an adjustment in pressure, that of which is an important factor to consider when shopping for such parts. For instance, hydraulic circuits depend on fluid pressure for actuation and other power processes, and pressure fluctuations can be detrimental to reliable operations. To avoid such issues, hydraulic circuits will often take advantage of a pressure compensated flow control valve that is able to uphold a stable flow rate even when loads begin to vary. As compared to other various options, pressure compensated flow control valves feature an adjustable spool which makes adjusting the field direction of the passage possible for a consistent flow and pressure rate.
As stated before, there are a number of flow control valve types, each of which feature different capabilities and designs to accommodate varying needs. Gate valves are commonly used for oil flow management, utilizing a gate or disc valve that is built perpendicular to the pipe. These flow control valves are often beneficial as they are able to allow flow with little to no resistance when fully opened, ensuring low losses. The plug valve is another option that is known for using a plug for managing fluid flow, and the turning of the plug allows for flow to be increased or decreased as needed.
While most flow control valves send fluids in a predetermined direction, the non-return valve is a type that is specifically designed to prevent the backward flow of any materials. These valves feature a valve body, poppet, spring, and seat. To permit flow, fluids will have to build enough force to overcome the spring so that the inlet port opens. As long as pressure remains, the fluids will continue to flow. Once pressure drops, the valve piston will be pushed back into its seat as a result of the spring force, and any reversal of flow will simply create extra force to keep the opening closed. Beyond such examples, other common options include the needle valve, non-return valve, butterfly valve, pressure compensated flow valve, pinch valve, globe valve, and diaphragm valve.
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