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What are the Different Types of Motorized Valves?

By Paul Scott
Updated May 17, 2024
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The different motorized valves include the gate, ball, butterfly, and globe variants, each having its own advantages and specific areas of use. A motorized valve is one which opens or shuts by remote means, typically an electric, pneumatic, or hydraulic actuator, rather than by hand. Motorized valves are available in a wide range of designs, sizes, and actuator types suitable for applications ranging from small domestic systems to large industrial installations. Most motorized valves differ only in their actuation method with the valve itself being exactly the same as its manual counterparts.

One of the most common types of motorized valve is the gate valve. Also known as a sluice valve, it uses a flat plate which is raised or lowered to open or obstruct a flow of material. Plates may round or rectangular and run in a set of grooves or runners on either side of the valve body. When fully opened, these motorized valves offer no restriction to the flow path and are well suited to large, straight flow installations. Due to disk or plate vibration near their shut-off point, these types should be used for fully open/fully closed applications only and not as flow regulators.

Another popular design of motorized valve is the ball valve. This type of valve features a polished ball with a hole through its center which turns within the valve body. When the hole is lined up with the pipe, it allows material to flow through it. When turned at right angles to the pipe, the ball cuts off the flow. Ball type motorized valves belong to a family of products known as quarter turn valves due to their short actuation travel. This makes their operation very quick and ideal for fast response cut-offs. Ball valves also offer exceptional cut-off values with the average ball arrangement achieving a perfect seal.

The butterfly valve is also a member of the quarter turn family of motorized valves. This kind of valve features the same sort of plate as a gate valve but opens or closes by turning the gate through a 90-degree angle. These gates, or butterflies, are typically round with the actuator spindle in the center. The gate closes against a shoulder machined into the valve body and affords quick operation and a good seal. These valves are also not well suited to use as flow regulators.

The globe valve is another common motorized valve design and one frequently used as a flow regulator due to its stability and accuracy. The globe valve consists of an internal channel or baffle which directs the flow through an aperture. A tapered plug is moved in and out of this aperture to open or close it. The tapered profile of the plug allows for a progressive and very accurate restriction of the flow. These motorized valves are also well suited to applications where the valve opens and closes frequently.

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