Types of Industrial Air Valves

With so many air release valves on the market today, it can be difficult to know which type will best serve your project’s needs. Here are some common types of industrial air valves and their functions.

What Is an Industrial Air Valve?

Also known as a pneumatic control valve, these parts control the pressure and amount of air that moves through any pneumatic system. Diesel engines, power tools, even plumbing pipes can all qualify as pneumatic systems, which is anything through which compressed air transmits power to a machine. The air release valve is at the center of these systems, controlling the rate and flow of the air that moves through.

Functional Directional Control Valves

These are sorted into types based on the number of exit and entry points they provide and the mechanism they use to open and close. They come in two-, three-, and four-directional valves, respectively.
A two-directional valve utilizes two air ports to allow air to pass through the pneumatic system. When either port is closed, air is hindered from moving altogether, as it has no other path to flow. When both ports are open, air is allowed to flow from the entry to the exit port, in one direction only.

A three-directional valve is connected via three ports to three different parts of the machine. The first port is connected to an actuator, the second to the source of the air flow, and the last is the exit point. If the first and second ports are open, the air moves through the device. When the first and third ports are open, the air is allowed to vent out, exiting the device.

A four-directional valve connects to two actuators, along with an air flow and exit port. One of the two actuators is an air-pressurizer while the other is an exhaust pathway. Four-directional valves are the most common in pneumatic systems because they allow air to pass in multiple directions through the system, allowing it to run forward and reverse.

There are also spring-offset air release valves which allow a two-directional release valve to function in forward and release options. An actuator inside the valve allows air to flow in one direction, and a spring is released in order to change the direction of the air flow.

Off Mode: Open or Closed Valves

Industrial air valve also differ in their resting state of whether the valve is open or closed. A two-directional spring-offset valve can either be closed at rest – that is, all ports are sealed and no air is allowed through the valve – or open, where air moves freely through the valve. In a three-directional valve, one port is always open, but the air-flow port is blocked until the machine is turned on.