Flow control valves are used in a variety of systems, including hydraulics. The purpose of a basic flow control valve is to increase or decrease the flow rate by opening or closing the changeable aperture. In a hydraulic circuit, flow control valves also affect the function of actuators. In other words, flow control valves are used to regulate speed. Speed is regulated through the flow rate.

Flow control valves are small in size and used to control hydraulic fluid flow rates. These valves vary in size, function and shape and you need to make sure you choose the right one for the specific function you require hydraulic actuator to perform. Most flow control valves also give the option of restricting or blocking the flow of liquid completely by lowering the stem. These valves, due to their fine threading stem and large seat area, allow precise resistance to flow. The flow control valves help control the flow of fluid in delicate gauges as there is a chance of damage by a sudden high-pressure surge in fluid.

Types of Flow Control Valves

There are eight types of flow control valves from simple orifices to sophisticated closed-loop electrohydraulic valves. Valves that are more sophisticated adjust to the pressure and temperature automatically. The different kinds of flow control valves include:

  • Orifices
  • Flow regulators
  • Bypass flow regulators
  • Demand compensated flow controls
  • Pressure compensated, variable flow valves
  • Pressure and temperature compensated
  • Priority valves
  • Deceleration valves

Benefits of Flow Control Valves

Flow control valves offer an inexpensive solution to flow control concerns in hydraulic systems. Flow rate can change with even a static valve position, so more sophisticated flow control valves ensure that the flow rate remains maintained. One reason for the change in flow rate is the pressure and temperature factors. Any change in temperature can cause a change in fluid viscosity and therefore change flow rate.

Flow control valves help in maintaining a constant calibrated flow rate. These valves are also easy to shut off with only a finger tight pressure because it has a small orifice and its force advantage is high. These valves also allow for precise adjustments that help in maintaining the flow of the fluid. Using flow control valves you can also bring the flow to a stop. One thing to remember is that needle control valves are not used for simple shut off applications. That is because of not easy to shut off quick and the requirement of many turns to completely open or close to restrict flow.

There are different ways of flow measurement and it does not entail measuring volume per unit of time for a valve. To choose the right type of flow control valve or to use it to maximum efficiency it is important that you must know how the flow is measured or specified. The ways to measure flow include:

  • Volumetric flow rate: it calculates the rotational speed of motor shafts or linear speeds of piston rods expressed in cc/sec or cc/min
  • Weight flow rate: it calculates power expressed in lb/sec
  • Mass flow rate: it calculates the force of inertia during acceleration or deceleration, expressed in slugs/sec or slugs/min

By choosing the right type of flow control valve for your hydraulic system, you can ensure that the temperature and pressure concerns will be addressed. Flow control valves are available in brass, carbon steel, zinc, stainless steel and synthetics but you need to make sure to choose one that meets the specifications of your hydraulic system.

 Things to Remember

These control valves, although available in many shapes, sizes and designs, are usually only used to control fluids flow rates. It is important that to maintain efficiency of your hydraulic system you must choose components according to the needs and requirements. The flow control valve produced by Finotek is used in low, middle or high pressure control, but the different size of valves should be selected before installing the flow control valve in the manifolds blocks or pipelines.

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