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Why Valves Deserve Greater Attention in Industrial Piping Systems

Why Valves Deserve Greater Attention in Industrial Piping Systems

Valves often are among the last considerations when designing an industrial piping system. One possible explanation: Valves are among the cheapest components to buy and install—leading many to underestimate their overall importance.


Installing the correct valves will determine whether a system succeeds or fails.


The most common valve configurations and how they work:


Solenoid: electro-mechanical valve consisting of a coil, plunger and sleeve assembly most commonly used to control the flow of liquid or gas. In a closed valve system, a spring holds the plunger in place to prevent flow. Once the solenoid coil is energized, the magnetic field raises the plunger to enable flow. The opposite is true in an open valve system.



Pneumatic: used to control or modulate airflow. Common types of valves used within pneumatic systems include:

·     Pressure Relief Valves control pressure by opening and closing the chamber through which pressurized air moves. Pressure relief valves are a fail-safe to prevent equipment failure.

·     Flow Control Valves control air velocity from the actuator, the part within pneumatic systems that converts air pressure into motion.

·     Quick Exhaust Valves consist of an input, an outlet and an exhaust to provide a rapid exhaust of controlled air.

·     Directional Control Valves change the direction of pressurized air and show the number of positions, methods of actuation, number of ports and paths air can take.


Manual: primarily used to stop and start flow through the use of a handwheel or lever. Common manual valves include:

·     Ball: uses a pivoting ball to control liquid flowing through a system.

·     Check: allows fluid to move only in one direction only, primarily to prevent backflow. 

·     Precision Plug: features a manual adjustment knob with fine threads to precisely set desired flow rate.

·     Metering: uses a tapered plug-stem to finely adjust flow. 

·     Stopcock: features a handle that points in the direction of flow, often used for chemical fluid and gas shutoff. 

·     Diaphragm: features a flexible diaphragm for hard-seat seal and typically used where pneumatic and electrical connections are not practical or necessary.

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