4 Way Ball Valve

What is a multi way ball valve?

Multi way ball valves are also known as the multi-port valves. The most common types of multi way ball valves are the 3 way ball valves and the 4 way ball valves. Valves are an essential component in a circulation system. The goal of a valve is to control the flow and pressure in a system. For example, the valves can be found in hydraulic and pneumatic power machines to control the liquid flow or gas flow so that the power output can be managed.

Typically, a valve has only two ways, or 2 ports. The ports are the inlet and outlet for the fluid to pass through. The inlet of a valve allows the fluid to enter the device and it exits the valve from the outlet. The multi way ball valves usually have more than 2 ports. For instance, a 4 way ball valve has 4 ports. The entrance and the exit of the fluid through the 4 way ball valves can be controlled by a switch.


How does a multi way ball valve work?

A multi way ball valve is called a ‘ball’ valve because of the mechanism it uses to control the entrance and exit of the fluid. A ball valve looks like a compact device with a cube-like figure. A multi way ball valve looks like a cube with a port on each side. A 4 way ball valves is a metal cube with a port on each of the four sides and a crank on the top side of the cube. Though being called as a 4 way ball valve, there is sometimes a 5th port on the bottom side of a 4 way ball valve.

The name ball valve comes from the rotary ball inside the valve which has a bore on it. By rotating the rotary ball a quarter turn around its axis, the fluid can pass through the valve or it can be blocked. The rotation of the ball is controlled by the crank on the ball valve. A 4 way ball valve allows 4 quarter turns; a quarter turn refers to turning the crank ninety degrees.

The crank, or called the handle, attaches to the stem on the rotary ball. When a person turns the handle, the stem turns accordingly and it rotates the ball to open or close the valve. Because the handle only allows ninety degrees turns (quarter turns), a ball valve is also called a quarter turn valve. When the handle is parallel to the pipe (the port), the valve is open, when the handle is perpendicular to the port, the valve is closed.

There are several ball types of a multi way ball valve. The ball types refer to the route that the fluid passes through the ball valve. For example, there are L horizontal position, L vertical, T horizontal, T vertical, or X port, etc. With a multi way ball valve, the direction which the fluid goes inside a system can be managed or changed easily. As a result, the multi way ball valves are also called the multi way directional valves.


The positions of 4 way ball valves

The directional control of a 4 way ball valves determines the flow path of the fluid inside a system. The positions are the ways the fluid passes through the valve. When viewing a 4 way ball valve from the top, the ports go in the directions of north, south, east and west. The L position refers to the flow paths that the fluid travels through the north port to the east port, or when the fluid goes through the two neighboring ports, which the flow path configures the letter L.

When it comes to the T positions in a 4 way ball valves, the 3 neighboring ports of the 4 are open while 1 is close. Once the handle is turned to the T position, the fluid can travel through the 3 neighboring ports. It can either go through the east, west and south ports, or it can go through the south, north and east ports, etc. There are 4 T positions on a 4 way ball valve as there are also 4 L positions on it.

The double L port position refers to the flow path that the fluid goes through the north and west ports on one hand and goes through the south and east ports on the other hand. There can be two double L positions on a 4 way ball valve. The one last port position type is the straight port position to which there are only two ports open in this case: one port for fluid entrance and the other for exit. The straight port position is also called I position because the two open ports are either the east and west or the south and north ports.


The pros and cons

Since the open and close of a multi way ball valve is controlled by the crank handle, the shut off mechanism allows fast shut off with only a simple turn. Consequently, it allows the fast opening as well. Furthermore, the open and close of the valve ports go along with the direction of the handle, it is easy to visually detect the state of the ball valve with the position of the handle. It offers more ease to control.

However, the cost of a multi way ball valves are normally more expensive and they take up more space to install due to the handle design. Though with these downfalls, the multi way ball valves are still commonly applied because they have good durability and the design of the valve body provides a long-term tight seal. The quality is guaranteed even after a long period of time.

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