A Guide to Hydraulic Hose Fittings: Ball Valves

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Hydraulic valves are a critical component in hydraulic power systems. Their designed purpose is to regulate hydraulic-system flow and pressure of water or oil. Valves also contribute to maintaining a balanced state of power dynamics within their hydraulic system installations. Various types of valves perform specific hydraulic system functions. Ball valve hose fittings are one particular type of hose fitting used to control the flow of hydraulic fluids.

What Is a Ball Valve?

Ball valves use a spherical device to provide on/off control of flow. They include a port or bore, drilled through the center of the sphere, positioned to allow flow to continue through a pipeline when the valve is open or shutoff flow when closed. Control of the valve includes a quarter-turn or quick-acting actuator, requiring only a single 90º change of position from the open to closed position.

Characteristics of Ball Valves

Though the major of ball valves are the quick-acting type, using a simple lever actuator, some operate using planetary gears, used to operate very large valves. Ball valves can also include a swing check actuator, allowing them to function as check valves. Hydraulic Valve Info notes an additional three-way configuration, “used to supply fluid from a single source to one component or the other in a two-component system.”

The main features of common to all hydraulic ball valves include:

  • Simple Structure
  • Quick-Acting
  • Allow Active Removal and Replacement of Seal Rings
  • Reduced Media Erosion (closed valves are isolated from the medium)
  • Wiping Function (necessary when using media with suspended solids)
  • Low Fluid Resistance
  • Maximum Pressure Up to 15,000 psi (1000 bar)
  • Cuboid or Cube-Shaped Body

Types of Ball Valves

Though ball valve fittings share these common characteristics, type classification of hydraulic ball valves can be according to body styles, which include:

  • Single Body
  • Split Body
  • Top Entry
  • Welded

In addition to these body style distinctions, ball valve fitting classification types also include:

  • Full Port. Though larger than other types, full port valves reduce friction loss by using an oversized ball to match pipe size.
  • Standard Port. Smaller and less expensive standard port valves are one pipe size smaller than the size of the pipeline, slightly restricting flow.
  • Reduced Port. Similar to standard port valves, these valves have a further reduced port size to provide additional flow restriction.
  • V-Port Ball Valve. Commonly used in the oil and gas industry, the purpose of these valves is to convert a standard on/off ball valve to a modulating ball valve.

Common Ball Valve Materials

The ball in ball valves tend to be metallic materials like brass, bronze, copper, cast iron, ductile iron, stainless steel and other alloys, but can also include PVC or CPVC plastics. Ball valve seat construction usually leans toward elastomeric or plastic, which include materials like Teflon® (TFE), Nylon, Buna-N, Neoprene, and combinations of materials. Proper selection of ball valve materials requires considerations related to the concentration and temperature of pipeline media as well as the usage environment.

Applications of Ball Valves

Ball valves usually perform the function of blocking or throttling as well as quick-action on/off flow control. These properties make them well-suited for flowing systems on ships, fire safety equipment, chlorine manufacturing, and all areas of the hydraulics industry. However, it is not appropriate to use ball valves for pharmaceutical, bioprocessing, or food and beverage applications, because they are not easy to clean.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Ball Valves

Thomas Net notes, “other valve types usually introduce some loss in the valve owing to the need to place the components of the valve, actuating shafts, etc. directly in the stream and/or the need to redirect the direction of fluid flow.” Ball valves eliminate this issue, which is critical in many applications using ball valves.

In addition to this distinctive advantage over other valve types, ball valves provide other advantages that include:

  • Durability (perform well after many open/close cycles)
  • Leak-Free Reliability
  • Rapid Shutoff
  • Ease of Operation and Maintenance
  • Support High Pressures (up to 15,000 psi) and Temperatures (up to 752 °F (400 °C)
  • Higher Output Torque
  • Smaller and Lighter Weight than Other Valve Types
  • Simple, Cost-Effective Structure
  • Available in Standard, Easy-To-Match Sizes

In spite of these advantages, there are some cases where other valve fittings are the better choice over ball valve fittings, because of certain disadvantages, including:

  • No Permanent Throttling Capability
  • Increased Pipe Leakage Issues
  • Freezing Issues (water trapped in the port cavity when shutoff can freeze)

A broad range of applications use ball valves to control the pressure and flow of water or oil in hydraulic systems. When the proper style, type and material are selected to fit the specific pressure, temperature and environmental conditions of the application, ball valves provide a number of performance benefits over other types of valves.

Custom Hose is a leading provider of hydraulic hoses and hose fitting of all types in the Minneapolis, St. Paul and nearby communities. Our expert technicians are available to help you select the right standard hydraulic hose fittings of all types, including ball valves, as well as small batch custom fabrication and reproduction of hydraulic hose fittings to fit your original components. In addition, our mobile service provides the convenience of providing the perfect solution you need onsite.

Contact us for more information about the hydraulic hose fitting and ball valve solutions provided by Custom Hose or give us a call at (952) 888-5580 today!