Monday, July 15

Control Valves and How They Work


Control valves maintain the desired flow rate, pressure, and temperature by controlling the valve’s opening and closing. These devices are used in various applications, from controlling water flow in hydropower plants to regulating gas pressure in pipelines with the help of durable water flow sensors.

Control valves are essential components of any modern industrial system. Understanding how control valves work is important for any business that relies on automated systems. This article will discuss the basics of control valves and the principles that make them work. We’ll also explain how using control valves can help improve the performance of industrial and commercial systems.

The Basics of Control Valves

Process plants are made up of hundreds or thousands of interconnected control loops that work together to create a finished good that can be sold. Each of these control loops is intended to maintain a crucial process variable, such as pressure, flow, level, temperature, etc., within a necessary operating range to guarantee the finished product’s quality. Each of these loops experiences disturbances that negatively impact the external and internal process variables. Interactions with other loops in the network result in disturbances that impact the process variable.

Sensors and transmitters gather data about the process variable and its connection to the desired set point in order to lessen the impact of these load disruptions. After processing this data, a controller determines what action has to be taken to restore the process variable to its proper state following a load disturbance. After everything has been measured, compared, and calculated, a final control element of some kind is required to put the controller’s chosen strategy into action.

Regardless of the pressure being used, the Erie control valves can automatically control pressure and flow rate. All control valves are typically Class 300 to provide interchangeability in situations where different plant systems may run at pressure and temperature combinations that necessitate Class 300 valves as specified by design. This is not required if the system does not operate above the Class 150 valves’ rating.

Control valves are typically globe valves with flanged ends to make maintenance easier. Depending on the supply type, the disk can be moved by hydraulic, pneumatic, mechanical, or electrical actuators. By shifting a valve plug to the body’s port, a valve controls flow. The valve stems to which the valve plugs are attached are then connected to the actuators.

How Control Valves Work: Principles of Operation

A control loop’s most crucial but occasionally most ignored component is a set of control valves. The instrument engineer’s general lack of expertise in the various aspects, terminology, and technical disciplines—including fluid physics, metallurgy, noise control, and piping and vessel design—is the main cause of this.

A transmitter, a process condition sensor, and a controller are the typical components of a control loop. The controller compares the “process variable” received from the transmitter with the “set point,” or the desired process condition.

The “final control element,” the final component of the loop and the “muscle” of the process control system, receives a corrective signal from the controller. The eyes serve as the process variable sensors, the brain serves as the controller, and the hands of the control loop serve as the ultimate control element.

As a result, it is the most crucial—though occasionally the least comprehended—part of an autonomous control system. This is caused, in part, by our obsession with computers and electronic devices, which has resulted in some disregard for the crucial hardware’s understanding and use.

The Working Principles of a Control Valve include the following:

Pneumatic Actuated:

Pneumatic actuators provide a modulating control action using an air or gas signal from an external source. Through a top port, the actuator receives the pneumatic signal’s force. The signal is then dispersed throughout the actuator’s diaphragm. The diaphragm pressurizes the diaphragm plate as a result. This causes the valve stem to descend and pressurize the control valve. The standard pressure range for pneumatic system control signals is 3 to 15 psi (0.2 to 1.0 bar), or, more commonly, a 4-20 mA electrical signal for industrial applications or a 0-10 V signal for HVAC systems. 

Electrical Actuated:

These are powered by motors. They employ an electrical signal that can facilitate the rotation of the motor shaft. This is transformed into a linear motion, which aids in driving the valve’s stem to modulate the liquid’s flow.

The Schneider Electric control valve systems frequently contain a smart communication signal that may be superimposed over the 4-20 mA control signal. This allows the controller to monitor and communicate the position and health of the valves back to the controller.

Hydraulic Actuated:

Pneumatic and hydraulic actuators function similarly, except that hydraulic oil is used as the signal fluid to regulate the action of the valve in hydraulic actuators. When a lot of force is needed to move the valve stem, they are employed instead of pneumatic or electric-actuated valves.

Typically, electrical, hydraulic, or pneumatic actuators are used to open or close automatic control valves. Valve positioners are typically employed to ensure that a modulating valve reaches the required degree of opening when the valve can be positioned anywhere between totally closed and fully open.

Control Valve Arrangement

The “controller” receives the pressure signals, compares them to the pressure drop for the desired flow, and changes the control valve to change the flow if the actual flow differs from the desired flow.

Any of the many process variables can be controlled using equivalent setups. Temperature, pressure, level, and flow rate are most frequently used among regulated variables.

 Control Valves Tuning

The controller must be tuned to govern how the valve responds to a changing process parameter. When tuning senses a need for a correction, it decides the valve reaction time and intensity. Internal programming in the controller generates a predetermined amount of movement in response to an input.

The controller must be tuned to govern how the valve responds to a changing process parameter. When tuning senses a need for a correction, it decides the ball valves’ reaction time and intensity. Internal programming in the controller generates a predetermined amount of movement in response to an input.


Control valves are essential to many industries, from manufacturing to energy production. They provide a way to regulate the flow of fluids and gases through a system. The KMC Control valves work on the principles of pressure and flow and other variables such as temperature, density, and viscosity. The arrangement of control valves can vary depending on the application, but the general characteristics remain the same. Understanding how control valves work allows you to select the most appropriate valve for your specific needs.

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