Valves are mechanical devices that help in the regulation and control of pressure or fluid by either closing or opening the flow direction of the fluid or pressure. Valves play a very important role in many mechanical and automation devices hence their increased importance in the day to day life of engineers and the common citizen.
Valves operate in different positions. Depending on the task subjected to the valve, the valve can either be two-port, three-port and four-port. For us to understand the importance and roles of valves, we first have to understand the many different types of valves that are found in different industries and applications.
Valves have found their importance in different industries and applications. Water irrigation systems are such applications where valves are used in. Valves found in irrigation systems are controlled hydraulically. These valves are known as hydraulic valves. They’re the most commonly used valves in the automation industry. Apart from controlling the flow of pressure and fluid, these hydraulic valves also help in protecting the hydraulic system from overloads, providing a specific constant pressure as well as regulate the fluid pressure in various branches of the hydraulic system.
In systems such as pressure cookers, valves have also found their importance. Examples of valves under this category are pneumatic valves. They function by controlling the rate, pressure and amount of air which passes through the pneumatic system. These valves help in controlling the amount of compressed air/gas which is used to power the pneumatic systems. The valves can be controlled manually or automatically through coordinated mechanisms.
Powering of motors can also be associated to valves. Valves used for these functions are solenoid valves. These valves are used in hydraulic systems and fluid power pneumatic to control fluid power motors and control cylinders. These valves are controlled electromechanically which simply means that an electric current which passes through the solenoid is required to help in controlling the cylinders. They also offer safe switching, long service life and high reliability.
For each and every valve to function perfectly, valve actuators are needed. This is mechanism that helps in closing or opening a valve. Each and every valve depends on the valve actuator to function perfectly. These actuators can be operated manually by the help of an individual, via hydraulic power which requires hydraulic pressure, via pneumatic pressure which uses pressure as source of power and via electric current which uses an electric motor to provide torque which powers the opening or closing of the valve.
Apart from controlling pressure and fluids, valves are also used in keeping the safety of the user, device and industry in check. These valves are commonly known as safety valves. They function by automatically actuating the closing or opening of the system. They function by opening the valve disc when pressure inside the system increases to a desired level. They also function by closing the disc valve when the outside pressure decreases to predetermined levels. It’s termed as a safety valve since it automatically controls the pressure and discharges certain amount of fluid without any electric power support.
Valves are used in many industries such as mining, water treatment plants, food manufacturing plants and power generating plants such as oil, petroleum and gas.Read less