An Introduction to Motorized Ball Valve

Posted on May 16, 2021

Motorized ball valves are electrically energized or de-energized to provide the on/off regulation for fluid flows. The electric motor can automatically open and close the ball valves after receiving the commands.

What Is a Motorized Ball Valve?

The motorized ball valves are automatic ball valves that are used to control the water flow. Valves can provide high flow rates, emergency shut off and prevent water hammering. The electric motorized ball valves, which are also called actuated ball valves, are popular solenoid valves that are available in a large range of voltages, functions, and body material to meet the requirements. Different kinds of solenoid valves are commonly used in modern machines and plants.

The ball valve is a type of control valve that has a quarter-turn feature and generally consists of a hollow, pivoting, perforated ball to regulate the water flow. When the motorized ball valve is open, the hole is in line with the liquid flow while being pivoted 90 degrees under control as it is at a close position. The motorized ball valves are typically durable and dependable for closing securely after numerous cycles or longer periods of disuse. The special features of motorized ball valves make them an essential investment for shut-off and flow regulation applications. 

The ball valves come in different bore styles and ball mechanisms, as well as different suitable working pressure. These ball valves can be basically classified into high-pressure ball valves and low-pressure ones. The high-pressure ball valves used across the industries are typically referred to when the devices work with pressure higher than 3000 psi.

Construction of Motorized Ball Valves

Motorized ball valves are electrically energized or de-energized to provide the on/off regulation for fluid flows. These actuated valves, unlike manual valves that require manual action of turning the handle or gears, the electric motor can automatically open and close the ball valves after receiving the commands. 

The construction of a motorized ball valve product is generally a combination of the ball valve, which is attached to an electric actuator. To electrically power the automated mechanism, the ball valve and the actuator must be capable of bolting together. 

To manufacture a valve product like this, modern actuated valve manufacturers generally integrate the mount as part of the “valve casting”, permitting the ball valve body and the cast mounting pad to be installed directly to the actuator. Motorized ball valves produced with this arrangement are known as direct mount valves.

:: Read more: What Is a Motorized Ball Valve?

How Motorized Ball Valves Are Actuated?

Electric actuators of the motorized ball valves are available in a wide range of voltages and torques. The available voltage ranges of modern actuated ball valves are 12V to 240V, AC or DC, which are very flexible for the user. As for the torque used in the actuated ball valve system, ranging from 17Nm to 600Nm with the powerful actuator today. Multi-voltage actuators used in motorized ball valves can automatically sense the input voltages and control the internal voltage to respond.

Depending on the valve body type and applications, the actuator valves need different functionality to ensure high-performance flow control operations. For motorized ball valves or butterfly valves, which rotate the ball or disc to regulate the water flows, the electric actuator only requires to rotate 90 degrees to fully complete the on/off mechanism. 

To compare with, there are other types of motorized valves that require multi-turn actuators, which are used for linear applications like gate valves, globe valves, and more. Completing the linear movement directly can be expensive and inaccurate, which can be achieved by a spinning jack screw that is driven by a motor.

Applications of Motorized Ball Valves

● On/Off Control: 

The motorized ball valves can be switched from open to fully closed without any stops at any position in between. Every time the actuated ball valve finishes the cycle of opening and closing, the electric motor will switch off through internal cams, which strikes the limit switches. 

For instance, when the electric motor receives a signal of closing the motorized ball valve, the motor is energized, rotating in order to close the ball valves. Subsequently, the limit switches travel on the cam as the internal cam rotates on the shaft until the lobe makes the switch to stop the electric motor, breaking the circuit. 

● Positioning Control:

Another type of application requires the motorized ball valves to open or close partially, detecting and responding to the various conditions of water flows. In this case, the goal can be achieved through the incorporation of a digital position sensor. 

Depending on the special flow requirements, the external control command signal will be created. This input signal will be compared by the actuator of the motorized ball valves consistently to the actual position through the output feedback element. Subsequently, the actuated ball valves will be driven to balance the commands and reach the required position. A signal of approximately 4mA or 0V is typically used to close the motorized ball valves.

Body Materials and Seal Materials

When it comes to the body materials of the motorized ball valves, the common materials include stainless steel, which is the most popular one, brass, bronze, chrome, titanium, PVC, and so on. 

As for the seals that are used in ball valves, there are various types and materials to achieve the special requirements in relation to pressure and temperature, and chemical compatibility. Some typical materials include TMF, reinforced Teflon, various metals, nylon, PEEK, UHMW Polyethylene, and many more.

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