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What does a pressure reducing valve do?
Thu 17 Sep 2020

What does a pressure reducing valve do?

Pressure reducing valves are critical elements of most systems where liquids or gases are transported for processing of some kind. Industries such as brewing and distilling, pharmaceuticals, and food and drink would all incorporate pressure reducing valves to ensure the safety of operators and the effective use of equipment at optimum efficiency levels. We take a look at what a pressure reducing valve does within a processing environment.


What is a pressure reducing valve and what does it do?


Pressure reducing valves control the pressure of a fluid or gas to keep it within a desired value range. It is an open valve in its default state and is installed upstream of pressure sensitive equipment. The primary function of a pressure reducing valve is to match the inbound flow to the outbound demand, whilst maintaining a sufficiently constant output pressure. Whilst it is important that the controlled pressure does not vary from the specified rate, it is also key that any flow through the valve is stable and the regulated pressure is not subject to excessive oscillation. Pressure reducing valves were developed specifically to overcome this challenge. 


What does a pressure reducing valve consist of?


A pressure reducing valve comprises an inhibitor, a load, and a measuring element.


  • The inhibitor is the part of the valve that can provide a variable restriction to the flow, such as a ball or butterfly valve.
  • The load is the component that can apply the needed counter force to the restricting element. This can be a spring, a piston actuator or a diaphragm, which can sometimes be in combination with a spring.
  • The measuring element’s function is to determine when the outlet flow is equal to the required pressure. The load itself is often used as a measuring element but in more complex systems a flow meter can be employed which is bound to the inhibitor actuator.


How does a pressure reducing valve work?


Pressure reducing valves work by cutting down the amount of fluid or gas that passes through a pipe. Fluids that are being forced through the pipes at high pressure before the valve will be slowed down after the valve. When the liquid enters the valve at a higher pressure than desired, the inner load mechanism counters the pressure which in turn activates the inhibitor to narrow the flow of water being output.


Where are pressure reducing valves used?


The primary use of pressure reducing valves is upstream from equipment that may be damaged by higher pressures. They are common in high pressure steam systems such as clean-in-place mechanisms and air compressors, and any system in which it is important to control the pressure of a gas or liquid.


Pressure reducing valves for the processing industry


Pressure reducing valves are used widely within processing to ensure consistency of flow and optimum performance of equipment. BM Engineering have a series of pressure reducing valves available, intended for use on steam, compressed air, industrial inert gases and liquids. They have been developed primarily for reducing steam pressure in energy and process systems where it is critical that pressures are kept constant. The pressure reducing valves from BM Engineering feature a range of benefits:


  • A pressure balancing and friction-less plug stem through the use of high durability bellows
  • Tough construction
  • Excellent for high pressure turndowns
  • Switchable actuators
  • Low-noise flow divider steam


For more information, contact BM Engineering and speak to one of their experts on pressure reducing valves; call 0141 762 0657 or email sales@bmengineering.co.uk.

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