By using and placing the right amount of pneumatic valves in your system you could improve energy use by 35% and reduce the number of tubing connections by 50%.

It isn’t just about placement though, you need to make sure you are using high-quality materials. This will ensure that your valves work properly and last through constant use.

We are going to help guide you through the process of selecting a quality valve supplier.

What Are Pneumatic Valves?

These are the valves that control the pressure and movement of air through a pneumatic system. These systems use compressed air to power machinery.

Types of Pneumatic Valves

Because the job of the valve is to control the directional movement air, you’ll find that many valve types focus on how the air moves. Keep in mind that directional valves are not the only type of pneumatic valve, they just happen to the most prevalent.

Directional Valves

These valves focus on the many different ways they direct the air. You will usually find them in two, three, and four-way directional options.

Flow Control Valves

Flow control valves control the amount of air flowing through the system. Some will be a simple open and closed option. While others will give you more control over the level of flow.

Check Valves

Check valves ensure that the air flows in the right direction. You don’t want air backflow to happen.

Ball and Plug Valves

Ball and plug valves function as an on and off type switch. There is an open hole that allows for flow to happen. When you turn the handle, the hole becomes plugged stopping the flow.

How to Choose the Right Valve

There are five factors to consider when deciding between valves. You need to look at the media, method, actuation, configuration, and capacity.

Flow Capacity

You need to choose the right sized valve for your system. Too small of a valve and you automatically restrict the flow and thereby slow down fill times.

Bigger isn’t always better though, because go too big and you create waste in the system. You want to figure out the maximum flow capacity that your system allows. Then buy a valve that allows that.

A quality valve manufacturer will supply the flow capacity information for their valves. This makes shopping for the right one easier.

If you see a “Cv value” stated this is referring to the universally accepted flow capacity chart. It’s also referred to as the “flow coefficient”. Use this to compare similarly sized valves that might have different flow rates.

The Material of the Media

The media is the material that the valve is controlling. Is your valve controlling the flow of a gas or liquid? Different valves are effective at controlling the flow of water, air, gas, or negative pressure causing substances.

You cannot interchange these valves.

Valve Configuration

This is where the different types we talked about earlier come in. The number of different directional controls is the count of their active media ports.

Two way means there is an “in” and an “out”. This means the media flow through it, or in and out.

Three-way valves have the same in and outflow ports, but they add a third port. This third port is the venting port. This helps to regulate pressure when the inlet port becomes blocked.

A four-way valve has the same ports as the three-way but adds a second out and exhaust port setup. You see this kind of setup most often for actuators or pneumatic cylinders. The inlet port alternates between the two outlet ports during functioning.

Method of Actuation

Look at how the valve moves to open and close. There are four common ways that valves move.

There are valves controlled by a Solenoid. This is an electrical current that sends a signal to the valve.

There are manual valves that require a human to cause them to move. Then there are mechanical valves that move as a result of a ball or plunger.

Finally, there are remote air valves. These are valves controlled by other valves!

Detented or Spring-Return Actuation

Next, you need to look at how the valve returns back to its original position. There are typically two ways this happens. The simplest is a spring motion.

A slightly more sophisticated option is an actuator motion. To know which one to pick, you need to know how long you want the valve to stay open.

If you only want it opened a moment, then the spring is the way to go. If you want it opened longer or until signaled to move, then a detented actuator is the way to go.

How to Choose the Right Valve Company

Don’t only consider the individual valves when comparison shipping. Look at the companies that make the valves. You want to be able to depend on their reputation of excellence.

Consider how long the company has been in business and how large their business is. Longer and larger is not automatically better.

Compare their reputation in the industry to their time in business. This will tell you how well they perform and how satisfied their customers are.

Look at the quality and variety of their product. Do they focus on making a few things well? Do they offer enough variety to satisfy your needs?

Finally, what kind of guarantees or promises do they make? You want a company that is willing to stand behind their product and to correct any problems that may arise.

Choose the Best for Your System

So you’ve decided to improve the efficiency of your system by buying some new pneumatic valves. Great!

With this handy guide, you are already well on your way to selecting the right company, valve, and valve type. Remember that by making the right selection you are ensuring your company runs smoothly for years to come.

Start browsing our selection of the highest quality valves today.