If you would like to describe the hydraulic valve or hydraulic control valve in one sentence, we would like to say that:
The hydraulic valve actually, is a device that can change the opening degree of liquid (Oil) flow path

Only to understand the meaning of this sentence totally will comprehend the effects and phenomena of hydraulic valves in the actual hydraulic system or equipment.

But there are numbers of hydraulic valve types, how to classify?
Here are some hydraulic valve types by simply words first:

By Function: Directional Valve, Sequence Valve, Relief Valve, Pressure Reducing Valve, Flow (Speed control) Valve
By Inner Sealing: Spool Valve, Ball Valve, Poppet Valve, Spool Poppet Valve
By Control Way: Manually Operation, Mechanical Drive, Hydraulic Transmission, Pneumatic transmission, Solenoid Drive, Electric-Hydraulic Drive, Solenoid Proportion Drive
By Working Type: On/Off Valve, Continuous Regulating Valve

By Installation Mounting
A. Threaded Connection (Line mount valve)
The threaded connection valve is within the screw to connected devices by connector and pipeline. There are are two, three, or multi-flow ports valves.
The line mount valve has a long history since 20century to the modern industry. The threaded valve is only a completed valve in all installation types of valve, which can use while connected with connectors and pipes, no auxiliary accessories needed.

But its disadvantages are apparent:
1) Dispersed components, ample working space
2) There may be more leaking points
3) Not easy to assemble and disassemble

B. Multiple Section Directional Valve (Sectional Valve, Multiple Flow Control Valve)
The multiple flow control valve evolved from a screw-in manual directional valve with a valve spool that controls a set of actuators – hydraulic or hydraulic motors. Almost all control functions of the sectional valve are centralized on the piece of the valve, by combining the oil inlet P and the oil return port T of each piece to the same position, they can be put together and share the P, T port.

The multi-section directional valve generally has a standard control block: the oil source block, also known as the main control block, has an end block typically. Then fasten together each block by bolts.

The feature of this type of installation connection is flexibility. Several pieces of blocks will be able to adjust by how many control several sets of actuators needed. Because of the shared oil source block, the structure is relatively compact.

The body of the multi-section directional valve is mostly made of cast iron or steel. From the earliest manual development to today, a multi-section valve has various control modes such as hydraulic control, solenoid valve control, proportional valve control, and bus control. If the reliability and cost performance of the electronic control is greatly improved, the additional manual for emergency use is not necessary.


This assembly method will keep a long time if taking into account operating habits.

The weakness of the multi-section directional valve:

1) There may be a leak between each piece of section.
2) Since the pipe is fixed to the valve body, when a valve is to be replaced, not only the fastening bolt but also the pipe must be removed, which leads to more troublesome during operation.


This type of installation connection is beginning to be excluded by the integrated block approach. Some manufacturers use a specially designed large integrated block instead of multiple pieces for some high quantity hydraulic machines. This greatly reduces the number of possible leaks and reduces the overall dimensions. This technology needs to break through the following fact:

1) The quality of the casting as an integrated block should be high. Because as long as a sand hole appears in a valve hole, the entire manifold is scrapped.
2) The machining processing should be stable. Because as long as a part of the processing is out of tolerance, the entire integrated block must also be discarded.
3) The hardness and wear resistance of the integrated block should be better. Most of the integrated blocks now use cast iron, while the inner spool is made of low alloy steel. After heat treatment, the valve spool is generally harder than the valve block. As a result, in use, when the damage is caused by contamination, it is often the case that the valve block is damaged before the valve spool. The cost of replacing the entire manifold is much more expensive than replacing a single-piece valve.

C. Modular Valve
The port of the modular valve, which connects the pipe is not directly on the valve, but on the bottom plate, and the valve is installed to the bottom plate by bolts. Therefore, it is not necessary to disassemble the pipe when replacing the valve, which is much more convenient than the threaded type or the multi-section type, and the maintenance time and cost can be greatly shortened. The standardization of modular type valve connections is progressing smoothly. Such as IS04401 (IS04401 PDF File Download) is widely accepted.

The more important feature of the subplate connection is that it lays the foundation for the use of integrated block connections: the various modular valves share one connection block or one manifold, and the connection channels between each other in the same block.

The total volume is much smaller than the threaded connection. Suitable for more complicated hydraulic systems and equipment.

Advantages of the integrated block
– In addition to the advantages of the modular valve, the valve is bolted to the manifold, so that it is not necessary to remove the pipe one when replacing the valves, and the connecting pipe and the corresponding pipe joint reduce due to the integrated block:

– A potential risk of external leakage reduce;
– The working space and weight occupied by a system reduce;
– The pressure loss of a pipeline reduced, and the heat also reduce;
– The vibration resistance of a system increase and the reliability of system operation is also increasing;
– The response time of a system can be significantly shortened;
– A reduction in assembly time and cost;
– An integrated block can not be assembled on-site, and the failure rate can be greatly reduced;
– Due to the use of the integrated block, the control valves are relatively concentrated, which also facilitates repair.

In the past ten years, due to the universal application of 3D design software and CNC machining center, it has created extremely favorable conditions for the design and processing of complex integrated blocks, breaking through the bottleneck of integrated block design and manufacturing technology, shortening the delivery time and reducing the cost.

The large-scale integrated block professional manufacturing plant has an annual output of several thousand tons. After receiving the circuit diagram and technical requirements provided by the customers, the manufacturer can complete the design of the integrated block within a few days. The whole process from manufacturing to assembly and debugging takes only a few weeks. This turnkey approach greatly reduces the design cost of the OEM. Therefore, the use of integrated block mounting connections has become the first choice for modern hydraulic system designers.
integrated-block for hydraulic valves

Disadvantages of the modular valve manifold

The modular valve manifold utilizes the surface of the manifold block to install the valve and connects to each channel inner the manifold. In complex hydraulic systems with many valves, two problems are encountered:

1) The surface area of ​​the integrated block increases with the square of the length, while the mass of the block increases with the cube of the length.
2) The larger the integrated block, the longer the internal chamber hole is, and the cost of drilling the deep hole also increases with the hole depth, not linear but parabolic.

D. Extended sandwich valve for modular valves
The sandwich valves of different functions but the same mounting dimensions are mounted together by fixing bolts, which can realize complex functions are very flexible and are easy to change.


The use of a sandwich valve can alleviate the problem of large volume and deep hole processing of the pure modular valve manifold to a certain extent, but the potential leakage risk increases.

E. Cartridge Valve
Please check our other article for the cartridge valve in details: Cartridge Valves By Finotek



Category valve feature and usage:
The general hydraulic valve is one of the most common of the three types of hydraulic valve (directional control valve, pressure control valve, and flow control valve). The common hydraulic valve is controlled by manual, mechanical, hydraulic, electric, electro-hydraulic, pneumatic, and input control, on or off fluid flow channel, the value control (switched) fluid flow pressure and flow and can be used for general hydraulic drive systems.

A. Directional control valves
Used to control and change fluid flow direction in hydraulic system calls directional control valve, including check valve, prefill valve, hydraulic solenoid directional valve,Hydraulic-directional-valve-type hydraulic spool directional valves, shut-off valve, etc.

B. Pressure control valves
Used to control and adjust fluid pressure in hydraulic system calls pressure control valve, it includes hydraulic pressure relief valve, pressure reducing valve, pressure sequence valve, pressure switch, etc.

C. Flow control valves
Used to control and adjust fluid flow rate is called flow control valve, and includes a throttle valve, speed control valve, pressure relief and flow control valve, manifold set flow valve, etc.

Special hydraulic valve is based on normal hydraulic valves for the further meet certain specific requirements and development. The valve of the structure, use and are not the same.

A. Multi-block directional control valves
Multi-directional valve referred to as spool directional control valves, is combined more than two valve sections as valve main valve, with directional control valve, pressure relief valve and check valve as one multi-function combo valve. The valve centralized controls over more than two of actuator motion, is mainly used for industrial mobile machinery, focus on centralized control.

B. Modular valves
The modular valve is installed by subplate mounting and several valves can be installed together by modular or sandwich, with bolts to achieve different hydraulic circuits.

C. Cartridge valves
This valve has hydraulic control feature of the element as a component screwed into a valve block or manifold, cartridge valve has extended to many sorts of function, such as directional control, pressure relief, flow control function.

D. Electro-hydraulic servo valves
Electro-hydraulic servo valve is called a servo valve as well, is to accept electrical analog control signals and output the analog liquid power valve.
The valve is designed for developing valve level of control, control accuracy and response characteristics and focused on the zero points (Typically the input signal is zero from work spot) of performance and its continuity.
Servo valve consists of a single-pole, two and 3-pole electro-hydraulic flow servo valve and electro-hydraulic pressure servo valve. Servo valve is structural complexity, manufacturing costs are relatively high, poor anti-pollution capacity, there is a high level of technical requirements and normal maintenance. It is more used in a higher closed-loop control system requires hydraulic accuracy and response control.

E. Electro-hydraulic proportional valves
The electro-hydraulic proportional valve is the valve between the normal hydraulic valve and electro-hydraulic servo valve, this valve can control the hydraulic system fluid flow direction, pressure and flow continuously in a long-distance following the electrical control signal (analog) and proportional size. It is including electro-hydraulic proportional pressure valves, electro-hydraulic proportional flow control valve, electro-hydraulic proportional directional control valve, electro-hydraulic proportional multi-valve, and electro-hydraulic proportional multi-directional control valves.
The valve has largely increased the level of hydraulic control stage, in spite of its performance not better than electro-hydraulic servo valve, but its simple structure, lower production costs, stronger anti-pollution make it more popular in the industry. The electro-hydraulic proportional valve is mostly used for the open or closed-loop system, to maintain the pressure adjustment value of the time stability (Generally for a signal of zero zones corresponds to 10 % ~ 30% maximum control).

F. Electrical-hydraulic digital valves
The electro-hydraulic digital valve is used in digital information to achieve direct control, the valve can be directly connected to the computer, does not need to install count/template (D/A) converter. The valve is a more ideal control element in the real-time control of the electro-hydraulic system. There are digital pressure control valve, a digital flow control valve, and digital directional control valve. A digital valve is not much sensitive to oil contamination, it is also reliable operation, high repeatable precision and good consistency for the bulk of product performance.
However, the digital valve controls signal bandwidth lower than analog due to the carrier frequency in accordance with the principles of work. Digital valve flow rate is at a very small, therefore, it can only be used for small flow control applications, such as the electro-hydraulic control valve pilot control level.

G. Micro-hydraulic valves
All hydraulic valve operation diameter less than 4mm can be called micro-hydraulic valve. The micro hydraulic valve is high working pressure, the maximum working pressure is generally above 31.5 MPa, there are some ones higher than 50 MPa. The micro-hydraulic valve is an important part of the micro-hydraulic system, which is new species developed in the based on the normal hydraulic valves. Its outline dimensions and weight largely decreases, therefore, it plays an important role and significance for modern hydraulic machinery and equipment (e.g. aircraft, scientific instruments, medical equipment, etc. ) of small, lightweight and power density increase.

H. Water pressure control valves
Water pressure control valve is the valve to work as water media, which is the indispensable water control element in an integral water hydraulic system. The water pressure control valve has the characteristics of safety, health, and environment-friendly.
However, the development of the water pressure control valve has faced a series of technical challenges due to the water main feature of low viscosity, vaporization pressure is high, highly corrosive. There are less commoditized products and the application is not yet universal.


Category by spool function:
A. Sliding spool valves

The valve housing is made of cast iron, there is a cylinder hole through the center of the valve house, with several round grooves, each groove connects with inlet or outlet chambers. The valve spool is manufactured a plurality of annular shoulder groove, according to its requirement function, it is called shoulder between the valve housing and spool annular groove. Controlling the size of the gap between the valve housing and spool, to achieve all of the oil ports on or off and the port diameters, therefore, the valve main job is to control fluid flow direction, pressure and flow control. The spool valve sealed by the gap, therefore, the radial clearance between spool outer dimensions and valve housing hole inner dimensions should be as small as possible and keeping appropriate axial seal length, to ensure the seal of enclosed ports. When the spool valve starts to open operation ports, the spool needs to move a short distance(equal to the length of the seal ), the area of movement is an “isolated zone”.
Please check this artical about Directional Valve Spool ans Its Function: https://www.finotek.com/hydraulic-directional-valve-symbols/

B. Rotary valves
The valve spool is cylindrical type, there are inlet and outlet ports on the valve housing and grooves on the valve spool. The spool of the valve can be rotated and controls working oil port on or off, to achieve fluid flow direction, pressure and flow control. The structure of a rotary valve is the sample, but there is a problem of spool radial force imbalance.

C. Poppet valves
As the spool valve, the poppet valve is most popular in the industry. There are two types of the valve spool, ball type, and poppet type. The poppet valve controls the fluid flow direction, pressure, and flow by changing the oil port size through poppet and ball spool displacement.
There is the only inlet and outlet port of poppet valve, the angle of the poppet is usually designed for 12 ° ~ 40 °, better sealing performance since it is line sealing when the valve sets to close, no isolated area while opening, sensitive operation, quickly open fluid flow, its function is similar to spool valve.

D. Nozzle valves
There are single and double nozzle types for the valve. The valve changes the variable throttle gap between nozzle and baffle, alters the relative displacement to control its formed throttle resistance to control the pressure at P1 and P2, while changes the size of fluid flow port and spool position. The nozzle valve with the characteristics of high operation accuracy and sensitivity working control, good dynamic response, but it is lots of power loss, poor pollution, often is used as a multi-stage electro-hydraulic control pilot stage (pre-stage ) valve.

Picture Description:
Pic. A: Sliding spool valve; Pic. B: Rotary valve; Pic. C: Poppet valve; Pic. D: Nozzle valves
1 – Valve housing; 2 – Valve spool, poppet seat, ball ; 3 – Block ;
4,5 – Nozzle; 6,7 – Throttle hole; 8 – Oil reservoir

Category by operation:
A. Manually operated valves
The manual valve is operated by hand, wheel, knob, hand lever, pedals operated, it is applied for fewer automation requirements, small or infrequent adjustable hydraulic system.

B. Mechanically operated valves
The mechanical valve is controlled by a certain block, spring parts, it is suitable for automatically cycle hydraulic system.

C. Electrical operated valves
The electrically operated valve is mostly used as the solenoid-operated valve, the valve is controlled by many kinds of the element, solenoid, proportional solenoid, power motors, torque motors, servo motor, and stepper motor control. It is suitable for automation equipment requiring high-performance hydraulic system or control of special hydraulic requirements.

D. Hydraulically operated valves
The hydraulically operated valve is controlled by a force generated by hydraulic force. The valve is suitable for high automation hydraulic equipment or special requirements of the hydraulic system.

E. Electro-hydraulic valves
The electro-hydraulic valve consists of a hydraulic electrical valve and hydraulic control valve, like our valve of FT-WEH series. The valve is most suitable for high automation requirements or customized hydraulic systems.

F. Pneumatic control valves
The pneumatic control valve is operated by the force generated by compressed air. The valve is suitable for flame-retardant and explosion-proof requirements’ hydraulic system.

Category by valve connection and installation:
Hydraulic valves and other hydraulic components are integrated into a complete hydraulic system, the hydraulic unit design depends on the way of valve installation and connection. There are four ways of valve installation connections.

A. Threaded connection valves
The inlet and the outlet port of the valve are produced to threaded type, to connect pipe fittings. The structure of the threaded valve is the sample, lightweight, much suitable for mobile equipment and small flow hydraulic systems. The valve is widely used in the industry area, but it can be only mounted along pipelines, which may cause more oil leakage spots and inconvenient for hydraulic system maintenance.

B. Modular valves
The modular valve requires valve subplate as a way of connection, the modular valve is mounted on a subplate (there an oil porting pattern on the subplate), the inlet and out ports of the valve connects the pipeline through the valve subplate.

The manufactures like Finotek company generally provides a related subplate or valve manifolds according to the standard porting pattern of modular hydraulic valves. If mounting dimensions of a manifold or subplate manufactures by clients, it can produce according to the size of the valve, the mounting surfaces of various modular hydraulic valves have been standardized nowadays, like CETOP, NFPA, ISO4401, DIN 2430 standards.

If there are several modular hydraulic valves to install on a common manifold, the valve mounting dimensions should be produced based on the requirements of each hydraulic valves installation dimensions and hydraulic system schematics, the valve manifold block needs to drill related connection channels to valve ports and connectors threaded to fit pipes, to form a hydraulic flow loop.
The further standard hydraulic valve can be mounted on each side of manifold (Each manifold side is like a connection subplate), the oil flows inside the valves and manifold channels to control hydraulic force, the manifold design is being able to save mounting space in the hydraulic system and without hydraulic pipes to save the cost.
One or two valve replacement or maintenance on a manifold will not affect the hydraulic system piping installation, therefore, the modular hydraulic valve is extremely easy to manipulate and maintain. Finotek modular hydraulic valve is a widely used industry area for its advantage, like in injection modeling machines, pressing machines, hydraulic power units, and numerous equipment.hydraulic-valve-types

C. Sandwich plate valves
The sandwich plate valve is developed based on the modular valve, a more compact structure valve.
A sandwich plate valve can be used as single valve or hydraulic oil connection, the top and bottom surface of sandwich plate valve is installation surface (Often produced as per standard port pattern), used for valve oil port pattern connection. Different functions of the same size valve (like pressure valves, flow valves, directional valves) are manufactured to same valve installation dimensions and oil port pattern, like Z2S6 series, Z2FS series valves.

The valve is sandwiched mounted (Use like a sausage sandwiched in the middle of two pieces of bread ) between a directional control valve and subplate or manifold, fastened buy four long bolts as per hydraulic system requirements, the hydraulic system pipe system connects oil ports threaded on the manifolds or subplate.
The hydraulic system with a modular hydraulic valve will be able to omit many hydraulic pipes, lower problems of hydraulic resistance, oil leakage, surrounding pollution, working vibration, large noise and often maintenance, to the great compact and simplified hydraulic system. The valve is widely used industrial machines and equipment.

D. Cartridge valves
There are two styles of cartridge valve, cover plate type (two-way cartridge valve) and threaded types (two, three, four-way cartridge valves ). The cartridge valve parts are simple, manufactured as per requirement standard to valve sleeve, spools, seat, spring or sealing rings. All the parts are an assembly to a complete cartridge valve, then inserted in the cartridge valve cavity, with other different function valve plate and pilot control valve to form various requirements of the hydraulic oil circuit.
A manifold allows to install several cartridge valves if needed, the channels inside the manifold come across each other according to design demand to control hydraulic flow and pressure, the manifold fixed installation and connects pipes in the hydraulic system.
The cartridge valve has advantages of compact structure, flow capacity, better sealing, and interchangeability. It is suitable for heavy machinery, metallurgy, plastic injection machine, and the machine requires high-pressure and high flow hydraulic system.

How To Select The Hydraulic Valves Before Ordering:

There are only have the right hydraulic valves for the different working positions, no hydraulic valves that are excellent everywhere! Therefore, the hydraulic valve must be selected according to the application below.
External requirements on the hydraulic valves:
Before the selection of hydraulic valves, the external requirements of the customer, the market, the main engine, the application environment, and the hydraulic system should be used to clarify the valve requirements. E.g

A. Overall situation
1 – The customer (group – external or internal? Is it visible or invisible? What are the requirements of the customer?
2- Is there a prototype? Does the country have a patent or a utility model?

B. Requirements for steady-state characteristics
1-Load force characteristics? Size? Direction? Change in fuzziness? Is there a negative load?
2-Continuous work pressure? The highest working pressure? Short-term peak pressure?
3-Work flow? variation range?

C. Requirements for dynamic characteristics
1- Required operating frequency? Or finish the time? Variation range? Or speed curve?
2- Positioning accuracy?
3- Speed stability requirements?

D. Valve’s future working environment
1- Indoor, open-air work?
2-temperature, humidity range?
3- Touch rain, seawater, or other corrosive liquids?
4-What is the condition of debris and dust?
5- Is there any flame retardant or explosion-proof requirement?
6- May be shocked, vibrated? How strong is it?
7-Voltage range of supply voltage?

E. Requirements for safety
1- What is the potential danger? Mechanical? Scald? Radiation? Cry? How high is the chance of occurrence?
2- What if a part fails, what is the threat?
3- What is the quality and training level of the operator?
4- If there is no intention or intentional non-compliance with the operating procedures, will an accident occur?
5- What happened to the accident?
6- What protective measures exist? Is it possible to reduce the risk by marking?
7 – How is the corresponding safety standard or specification specified?

F. Requirements for job reliability
1- The expected working life?
2- Work cycle? 8 hours/day, or not?
3- What are the consequences of a failed shutdown?
4- What is the on-site maintenance capability? Mass production recovery work time? Cost? Countermeasures?

G. What are the restrictions on the appearance?

H. Is there a limit to the weight?

I. Requirements for energy consumption
1- Energy source, electric motor, or internal combustion engine? Is it variable speed? How high is the economic speed?
2- Is it allowed to install coolers and heaters? Do you need it?
3- Is hybrid power used to recover braking power?

J. Economic requirements
1- How high is the current manufacturing cost? What are the requirements for new products?
2- How much is the order quantity? How big is the production volume?
3-Peer (Competitive opponents – price?

K. Requirements for delivery of systems and components
1- When must the design be completed? Must be delivered?
2 – When must (can – complete purchasing and manufacturing? Entire assembly? Complete system tuning? Optimize? Run a negative test? Full load test? Perform the overload test?

M. What is the first requirement?
Delivery date, cost, characteristics, what is most important? What is secondary?
As a designer must and should do their best to meet these requirements, but also should realize to figure out what to ensure first.
Before you start designing your product, you should try to figure out these requirements as much as possible. Choosing the right products based on these requirements can reduce the number of detours and reduce the time and financial, material, and human costs caused by rework.