Advice for Selecting and Maintaining Three-Way Valves for air and hydraulic circuits

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Advice for Selecting and Maintaining Three-Way Valves for air and hydraulic circuits


Most cylinders, tools, and even some drive systems in a typical manufacturing plant today get their power from hydraulic and pneumatic systems. They can be used in industrial settings with high temperatures and radiation, where most electronic instruments won’t work.

There is a lot of information on the right way to design a system, the right way to size its parts, the right way to design a circuit, valve and control technologies, and other design considerations. However, here are some tips for selecting a three way valve

Inspect Your Equipment

Another casual way to keep your valves in good shape is to look at them. First, keep an eye on the valves and look for leaks. One of the easiest ways to tell if a leak is to look for signs of corrosion, rust, or mineral buildup. If there are any leaks, you may need to replace the valve or, at the very least, any worn or broken parts of the three way valve

Next, open and close the valves to ensure they have not frozen, and check the pressure and temperature of the fluid going through them. Ensure they are not close to or over the rated limit for your valves. Even more often than valves under less stress, valves under high priority should be checked.

With the energy cost going up all the time, designers should think about using energy-efficient electric movement, as long as the needs of the application are within the capabilities of an electric actuator. In the last five to ten years, this technology has changed quickly. It has become much more helpful, with more precise movement and more complex controls.

Valve Sizing

Pneumatic systems can be more productive if their parts, like pipes, three-way valves, and actuators, are the correct size. The size of the valves is significant. If the flow capacity isn’t big enough, it can hurt production cycles. If you want to speed up and improve production quality, it is essential to get the right size.

Choose 3-Position Valves

A 3-position valve is better than a 2-position valve anywhere that workers will be close to an operation. This is because a three-way valve will stop the equipment immediately in an emergency. This is different from a two-position valve, which will finish the job and prevent it.

Check temperatures.

During preventive maintenance, you should check the equipment’s surface temperatures and write them down. The viscosity of the hydraulic oil could change if it were overheated.

Built-In Flow Control

Use a fitting with a built-in flow control valve when using a pneumatic cylinder in a project, especially if the number of cycles is high. This will make the cylinder last longer.

Use Feedback Sensors

Software interlocks cannot be used to control pneumatic devices unless you consider the delay caused by physical action. In the world of computers, 100 msec is a very long time. Always back up actuators with electrical feedback sensors, and if possible, ensure two of them.

Parallel Air

If you are using pneumatic technology, make sure you have enough air. In a noisy plant, finding leaks that cost a lot of money can be hard. Check for leaks in the tubing, ferrule, connection, and joints. Make sure that the air you are making is dry. Every air filter should be checked from time to time to see if it has built up any water.

Choose Quality Tubing

Instead of push-on fittings and PE tubing, use nylon tubing on machines to stop leaks. In a plant environment, it is hard to find soft tubing leaks, which happen often.

Inlet Side Flows Control

In a pneumatic logic circuit that controls a double-acting cylinder, the flow controls should be on the inlet side, depending on which way the cylinder moves. Air can be pushed down, and the position will float if the outlet controls it. This will also put pressure on the back.

Maintenance on valves might not seem like a big deal, but a few minutes of your time can go a long way toward keeping a system running smoothly, saving you time and money in the end. If you do not take care of your three way valve, you could end up with broken machinery, pipes, or tubes that need to be removed and possibly replaced.