Hydraulic Valves

What Do Hydraulic Valves Do?

The hydraulic valves are a type of mechanical devices that are made for the flow rate and fluid pressure regulation as well as the flow redirection of the fluid flow within a hydraulic circuit or a piping system. The hydraulic valves are mounted between pipes to connect the pipes inside a system. The valves control and regulate the flow of the fluid by means of opening and closing, partially or completely. The open and close of the valves can not only regulate the fluid flow but also change the direction of the flow. This type of device comes with a wide variety of designs so that the application of the valves can be as versatile as possible to fit into different kinds of piping systems.

With particular designs, the hydraulic valves can be controlled manually by the mechanists or automatically by an incorporated control unit. In fact, besides the hydraulic valves, there are also mechanical valves, pneumatic valves or electrical valves, etc. Whichever the design or mechanism is, in order to effectively manage the fluid flow inside a circuit, the valves need to be able to deal with a certain level of fluid pressure without allowing any fluid leakage or pressure loss during operation.


Material to build a hydraulic valve

In a hydraulic circuit that the hydraulic valves are involved, the working pressure of the system is normally at the level of three thousand psi and sometimes even higher. To take on the fluid pressure at such level without causing any potential error or malfunction, the hydraulic valves are mostly made of rigid metal materials such as steel or iron. These types of metal have enough strength as well as durability and reliability to handle continuous operation under high pressures.


Types of hydraulic valves

There is a wide range of styles that the hydraulic valves have. The most common types include the ball valves, the butterfly valves, the check valves, the needles valves and more. These types of hydraulic valves have particular configurations and mechanisms to open and close to achieve the similar goals: regulate the flow, control the fluid pressure, and redirect the flow. By what these valves are designed for, they can be divided into three primary types: the hydraulic pressure control valves, the hydraulic flow control valves, and the hydraulic directional control valves.


The hydraulic directional control valves

The hydraulic directional control valves are made specifically to guide and to direct the flow of fluid inside a hydraulic system. This type of hydraulic valves comes in as a hydraulic cylinder. There are several openings on the cylinder to let the fluid enter and exit. The openings are referred to as the ports of a valve. The directional control valves have a piston inside which shifts between positions to control the speed, direction, or acceleration of an actuator. By shifting the positions, the valve is able to block or pass the fluid flow.

The three essential positions that a hydraulic directional control valve can shift are the neutral position, extend position and the retract position. When the valve is at the neutral position, all the ports are blocked and the entrance of the fluid is completely declined. When shifting to the extend position, the valve directs the fluid from a hydraulic pump to the cap end of the cylinder which causes the cylinder to extend. The retract position is that the valve directs the fluid from the pump to the rod end of the cylinder so that the cylinder retracts.


The hydraulic flow control valves

The hydraulic flow control valves are used for adjusting the flow rate of the fluid inside a piping system. The flow rate refers to the speed that the fluid passes through the hoses in the system. The ports of this type of valves can be adjusted so that the flow rate can be managed. There are actually a wide range of designs to the flow control valves such as the ball valves, the butterfly valves, or the needle valves. They are all flow control valves but with different mechanism to achieve the same goal.

The flow rate of the fluid can be measured in multiple ways. The choice of hydraulic flow control valves should be based on the way the flow rate is measured. There are three common ways to take the flow rate measurement: the volumetric flow rate, the weight flow rate and the mass flow rate. The volumetric flow rate is measured in units of volume per unit time; for example, cubic inch per second. The weight flow rate is measured in units of a weight per unit time such as ponds per second. The mass flow rate is measured in mass per unit time such as kilogram per minute.


The hydraulic pressure control valves

The hydraulic pressure control valves are used to control the fluid pressure inside a hydraulic circuit. The fluid pressure inside a piping system is usually predetermined and the building up of the system and its operation will be set based on the desired pressure level. In this case, the hydraulic pressure control valves are used to maintain the pressure level; any unwanted rise of drop of the fluid pressure is expected to be eliminated by the pressure control valves. There are also different subtypes of pressure control valves such as the relief valves, reducing valves and counterbalance valves.

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