Actuated Ball Valves:Not Always Your Best Bet
Thu, 01/18/2007 - 4:27am
Here's why Y-pattern valves might offer a better optionBy Paul Ainsworth
Cost-Reducing AlternativeTo overcome the ball valve's shortcomings while retaining key benefits, manufacturers have experimented with other valve designs. The most successful of these is the Y-pattern or angle valve. The Y-pattern valve's design is so sound that over the years, scores of other valve manufacturers have produced their own versions. The piston-driven Y-pattern valve permits flow rates nearly equal to those of ball valves. Keep in mind that most ball valves aren't "full port" in design with the aperture through the ball itself slightly narrower than the diameter of the pipe attached to the valve. At the same time, Y-pattern and ball valves differ significantly. Where the valve types differ most are in the areas of maintenance and valve life. While actuated ball valves are built around dynamic shut-off, Y-pattern valves employ static shut-off. Controlled by a pneumatically operated single- or double-acting actuator and spring assembly, a Y-pattern valve's piston is raised to open flow and lowered into the valve seat to stop (isolate) flow completely. As the Teflon seal at the piston tip relies on static spring or air pressure to maintain contact with the seat, a Y-pattern valve and its seals don't experience the wear and tear of actuated ball valves. The resulting benefit is that a Y-pattern valve's expected lifetime, on average, is 5 million cycles. In addition, the valve's angle design permits swift fluid shut-off, eliminating water-hammer shock to pipes and equipment a problem with ball valves. By using Y-pattern valves in place of ball valves, the reductions in maintenance time and equipment replacement costs add up to significant numbers.
Hard-to-Beat CombinationAs stated earlier, the Y-pattern valve's angle design allows a flow rate nearly equal to that of ball valves. A Y-pattern valve can handle virtually any application within these parameters. And in terms of initial pricing, Y-pattern valves match up well against ball valves, and the long-term savings are substantial. As you consider valve choices for your next utility application, make sure the piston-driven Y-pattern valve is part of the equation. The Y-pattern valve is a hard-to-beat combination when it comes to cycle life plus low maintenance requirements and cost. It's a valve type that will certainly create a positive impact on your bottom line. Paul Ainsworth is with Burkert Fluid Control Systems. Burkert is a leader in measurement, control and regulation technology. Its 1,700 employees in 34 countries engineer systems and solutions in response to the dynamic challenges presented by water, steam, gases, and other media. More information is available by calling 949-223-3100 or visiting http://us.burket.com