What Is a Flow Control Valve?

When utilizing a pneumatic system for power transfer, it is important to have ample control over the flow of air for executing various operations. The control of the volume flow of air within a pneumatic system is made possible through the use of flow control valve components. Flow control valves allow for actuator speeds to be adjusted as necessary, and they should not be confused with regulators or pressure controllers despite sharing similar attributes. In this blog, we will discuss flow control valves in more detail, allowing you to have a better understanding of such common components.

Depending on the type of flow control valve, such components may also be referred to as mass flow controllers or needle valves. Despite the design and application of varying flow control valves, all work with the principle of using different sized holes or orifices to control the rate of air flow at a given pressure. When the control valve is fully closed off, no air flow is able to move through the component and system. As the valve slowly opens, air flow will increase in unison until the valve is completely open. At this point, air will reach the maximum rated flow that is possible for the component.

While flow control valves are always used for the management of air flow under pressure, the direction of flow is dependent on the type of valve that one is using. Uni-directional valves are a common choice for many applications, and they only permit air to flow in a single direction. For a uni-directional valve to permit air to flow in the opposing direction, a check device will be needed. Meanwhile, bi-directional valves allow for air flow to be managed in either direction with their basic design.

When it comes time to begin choosing between flow control valves, there are a small number of factors that one should consider. Based on the application and its typical operations, purchasing a valve with the correct flow rate control values is crucial to ensure minimum and maximum flow rates are optimal. Precision and accuracy are also important. As stated before, valves will often differ in the direction of their flow, and procuring the correct configuration can make the difference between a good fit and a part that will require replacement again. Alongside such examples, one should also take time to consider connection methods, control methods, the working environment, and working pressure, as all will have a major effect on the performance of a particular flow control valve.

Once all factors and needs have been narrowed down, one can then move onto comparing different types of flow control valves to find the perfect fit. The proportional flow control valve is a common type that utilizes a directly operated spool and microprocessor driven position control, and this allows for operators to utilize different control parameters to achieve precise flow management. Motorized flow control valves are another option, and they utilize two ceramic discs that rotate in relation to each other. As the open segments of each disc align, maximum air flow is permitted. For positioning, these control valves utilize motors. Beyond such examples, banjo flow controllers and block form flow regulators are also regularly relied on.

Whether you require parts kit flow control valve products, a spacer flow control valve, or other such components, we have you covered with countless listings that have been sourced from the likes of Honeywell Aerospace and other industry leaders. With AS9120B, ISO 9001:2015, and FAA AC 00-56B accreditation, we guarantee the quality of our offerings as we subject countless items to rigorous tests and inspection prior to shipment. Connect with an ASAP Axis representative at your earliest convenience and see how we can save you time and money for all your operational needs.


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