Ball Valves or Globe Valves: Which Is Better for Flow Control?

Actuators play a major role in flow control. Suboptimal performance in this area can have noticeable effects on overall efficiency, wear and tear, costs and safety. A reputable valve manufacturer can help you select the most appropriate product for your purposes.

Globe Valve Operation

Globe valves operate by linear motion and are used today for many types of flow control despite presenting several problems you may have discovered through your research. A globe valve has the advantage of effective shutoff capability, as well as fairly good throttling. On the other hand, these valves need a larger actuator in order to seat the valve when there is significant pressure underneath the valve. A larger actuator means longer response times. They can also produce a higher pressure drop compared to other types of valves.

Ball Valve Operation

Ball valves have a spherical unit with a bore through it. When the bore is aligned with the pipeline, flow passes through it. Rotating the unit takes the bore out of alignment and shuts off fluid flow. A top advantage of a ball valve is that it provides complete shutoff with zero leakage if it I properly constructed and sealed.

Impact of Valve Characteristics on Flow Control

One problem with globe valves is the lack of precise control as it opens. Typically, a globe valve opens abruptly, as it initially needs more force from the actuator. Once opening has begun and flow is established, the flow creates pressure that continues to push upward, which in turn increases the rate of flow to beyond what is needed.

Ball valves, on the other hand, open smoothly, as rotation occurs gradually. Even with minimum flow, the actuator does not have to apply that initial push which then results in excessive flow you may find for globe valves.

Today, ball valves can be made in a variety of materials, including those that resist heat and moisture. An electric actuator manufacturer can offer a range of products, including rotary actuators for valves, that optimize the desired functions of a ball valve and maximize the advantages it offers.

Globe valves tend to dominate the market, specifically in the HVAC space. The reason for this is because specifying engineers and installation contractors taught in school and therefore have more experience with the use of globe valves because they have been around longer than ball valves. Ball valves were first introduced in the 1950’s and the education effort for thee types of valves has been inferior to that of globe valves. This lack of effort to educate industry professionals like valve actuator manufacturers, engineers that specify process control for valves and installation professionals does not change the fact that ball valves are superior to globe valves in many industrial flow control situations.

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