Control Valve

What is a Control Valve & How Does It Work?

A control valve is a control device used to manage and direct the flow of fluids by varying the size of the flow passage. This device provides the direct control of flow, temperature, pressure, or liquid level. Control valves are used in just about every process system used at wellsites, oil batteries, gas plants, refineries, and petrochemical plants. Read on to learn more about the components and working principle of a control valve and its effect on the control loop.

  • What is a Control Valve & How Does It Work?
  • Control Valve - Components & Working Principles

Components of a Control Valve & Its Working Principle

A control valve consists of the following parts:

  • Body
    It is a type of a pressure vessel containing an orifice or an opening. The controlled liquid is allowed to flow through the body of the valve. It helps to monitor the flow regulation behaviour.
  • Trim
    Besides the body, trim is one such part of the valve that comes directly in contact with the fluid. It consists of the seat, disc, plug, and stem.
  • Actuator
    It consists of electric or pneumatic mediums to provide the force required to operate  the control valve.
  • Bonnet
    It provides a mounting for the guide and actuator and a medium for the stem to pass through. It is made of the centrepiece, packing, packing nut and guide. The packing acts as a fastener between the bonnet and stem. It helps to avoid any leakage.

What are the Working Principles of a Control Valve?

  • Pneumatic Actuated
    Pneumatic Actuators use an air or gas signal from an external source to produce a modulating control action. The actuator receives the force of the pneumatic signal through a top port. Then, it distributes the signal across the actuator’s diaphragm. As a result, the diaphragm exerts pressure on the diaphragm plate. This moves the valve stem downward in a way that strokes the control valve.
  • Electric Actuated
    They are motor-driven devices. They use an electrical signal that can help create a motor shaft rotation. This movement is converted into a linear motion, which helps to drive the stem in the valve for flow modulation.
  • Hydraulic Actuated
    Hydraulic actuators are similar in operation to pneumatic actuators except they use a fluid, hydraulic oil, as the signal fluid to control the action of the valve. They are used, in place of pneumatic or electric actuated valves when the force required to move the valve stem is high.

How Does a Control Valve Affect the Control Loop?

Process plants consist of many control loops, networked together to produce a product. The control loops are devised to keep essential process variables such as fluid level, pressure, and temperature within the specified limit. This helps to ensure that the quality of the end product is as desired. Each of these loops creates internal disturbances that may affect the process variables.

Sensors and transmitters are used to collect information about the process variable. A control valve is an end device used to control the process based on this data. This helps to decide the course of action to get the process variable back to where it should be (set point).

Aspire Energy Resources Inc. has over 25 years of experience in fabrication services for the oil and gas industry. We have the resources and expertise to select and install control valves in a variety of equipment, including wellsite separators and dehydration units. We adhere to the required standards, such as the regulations of the Alberta Energy Regulator (AER), Saskatchewan Oil and Gas Regulator, and the BC Oil and Gas Commission .

For more information about our fabrication services, please call us at 403-314-5422 or toll-free 1-800-993-9958.

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