The Most Common Types of Hydraulic Valves

The Most Common Types of Hydraulic Valves

In the hydraulics market, you can find different types of hydraulic valves by different manufacturers designed to do different things in different applications. Some hydraulic applications require an individual valve, whereas more complicated hydraulic systems could use a combination of valves to complete its function. Below we highlight some of the most commonly used valves to show how their roles vary.

Directional Control Valves

Directional Spool ValvesAs the name suggests, directional control valves are used to direct the flow of fluid through the system. These valves can control the start, stop, pause, and change in direction of flow of a pressure medium. For this reason, they are also referred to as switching valves.

The function of a directional control valve is determined by the number of working ports and the number of spool positions. A directional control valve comprises at least two-spool positions and two working ports.

The most common directional control valve is a 4/3-way valve, which means the valve has four working ports and three spool positions. The 2-way directional control valve is the simplest directional control valve that has two ports called inlet and outlet. A 3-way directional control valve has 3 working ports called inlet, outlet and exhaust. They are used in single-acting cylinders and the third working port can block the flow of all ports.

Hydraulic Pressure Control Valves

Pressure Control Valves are the most common valves for controlling pressure. They include relief, reducing, sequence, counterbalance, and unloading valves. The hydraulic pressure control valve plays a vital role in preventing the leakage and bursting of pipes or tubing. Pressure control valves regulate the pressure of the fluid passing through the pipe or tubing by releasing the excess pressure. These valves maintain the pressure as entered manually by the operator.

Pressure-control valves are found in virtually every hydraulic system, and they assist in a variety of functions, from keeping system pressures at safe levels to maintaining a set pressure in part of a circuit.

Hydraulic Flow Control Valves

The purpose of flow control in a hydraulic system is to regulate speed. Flow Control Valves control the speed of an actuator by regulating the flow rate. Flow rate also determines the rate of energy transfer at any given pressure in a system.
Flow control valves are used for controlling and adjusting the fluid or gas flow through the system. These valves can optimize the performance of your hydraulic system. Flow control valves will monitor and regulate pressure fluctuations in the system and prevent flow towards system components.

Not sure why valve to choose?

No matter the type of valve or the application, PHC has a comprehensive inventory of valves from a range of brands. Our high volume of inventory of pneumatic and hydraulic products ensures that we have the valves you need when you need them. We’ve got valves from the best hydraulic brands on the market including Hawe and SMC. We update our inventory daily, tracking levels at each of our warehouses. Contact the hydraulic specialists at PHC to discuss your needs and for help choosing the right type and brand of valve for your specific application.