Functions of Flow Control Valves

How do flow control valves contribute to the effective production of an industry? Flow control valves essentially manipulate the basic levels of operation for a large industrial system.
 
Most systems are built on moving liquids or gases through a system of pipes. These are sometimes filtered, cleaned, and refined for distribution or other types of circulation. Throughout the entire process, it is essential that a company has control over how much process media flows through a certain pipe and location, to either receive modifying treatments or be circulated into the necessary channels for some type of consumption demand.
 
Flow control valves allow plant personnel to exercise the necessary amount of control over any liquids that might be flowing through their system. The valve functions by opening and shutting, to either allow media to pass through or to keep it contained on the other side. Most types of flow control valves can also be opened partially at any given point, which has the ability to significantly lower the volume of a liquid passing through without completely cutting off the entire stream.
 
Flow control valves are available in multiple forms, made from a variety of different materials, and can be powered by several types of actuators. The bottom line is that companies have their choice of valve available to them, before they settle on the type of valve that would be most appropriate for their implementation.
 
The types of flow control valves most commonly utilized in industrial functions include ball valves, butterfly valves, and gate valves. These are available in a variety of materials. Generally different types of alloy metals, steels, plastics, and chrome or chrome-plated options are obtainable, and a company is able to select a material that will not interfere negatively with the liquids passing through their pipelines. If a certain metal will cause contamination, plastic flow control valves are available for implementation. While each of the materials from which valves can be fashioned have their benefits, one notable characteristic of plastic valves is that they will not rust, and therefore they might be easier to maintain.
 
Flow control valves are powered and operated by actuators. The three most common types of actuators include electric, pneumatic, and hydraulic actuators. A company also has the option of selecting which type of power they would prefer for their actuators. Pneumatic and hydraulic actuators receive their power from gas or liquid motion in a pump system, while electric actuators are electrically-powered. The trade-off between these systems is space and convenience for power, as the types of actuators that require a pump system are usually more powerful, but they require a large amount of space and are generally harder to diagnose if there is a problem.
 
The actuators move flow control valves when they receive information from a sensor indicating that certain volume or temperature conditions have been exceeded. The actuator then adjusts the angle of the flow control valve, which moves to the appropriate angle. The proper amount of liquid can then pass through, balancing the system accordingly.

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