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Process and Control Valves

Fluid handling valves are used for controlling the flow of liquids, gases, and slurries in a pipe or other enclosure, as directed by a signal from a controller. Control valves enable the direct control of flow rates of fluids, therefore controlling process quantities such as fluid level, temperature, and pressure.

Process and Control Valves for Fluid Handling - Fluid Handling Pro

Process control valves are most useful in situations that require precise control over fluids, steam, and gases. Process control valves allow for the management of flow rates of fluids, liquids, or gases, as well as for the management of temperature, pressure, and level. Of course, for each of these applications, a different valve is most suitable. Also, the type of valve depends on the size of the pipe, the overall pressure present in the fluid processing system, and process conditions among other factors.

Butterfly valves, diaphragm valves, knife gate valves, needle valves, and globe valves are some of the most common valves. The material used for producing a process control valve depends on the application. While most valves are made from metal, valves for hygienic applications are almost exclusively manufactured using stainless steel.

To achieve the desired flow rates of fluids, controls valves use a simple but effective mechanism of opening and closing powered by electrical, hydraulic, or pneumatic actuators. Process control valves usually consist of a valve actuator, a valve positioner, and a valve body.

A fluid valve is used to regulate the flow of fluid within a hydraulic circuit or system to close a line or redirect pressure to a specific portion of the hydraulic circuit. A fluid valve controls the flow rate by regulating the speed of motors and cylinders. The actuator within a fluid valve allows for the control of the pressure within the hydraulic circuit, by controlling the force and accounting for the length of the circuit. The most common types of fluid valves are ball, diaphragm, needle, and butterfly.

  • Ball valves: Ball valves are most applicable in low-flow situations and consist of a metal ball with a hole in its center. Ball valves can open and close immediately and are considered more effective at forming a tight seal.
  • Diaphragm valves: Diaphragm valves are often used in food, pharmaceutical, corrosive, and (waste)water applications. Diaphragm valves are designed with a valve body with two or more ports, an elastomeric diaphragm, and a seat to close the valve.
  • Needle valves: Needle valves influence flow rates by an adjustable cross-section with a throttle spindle to manually actuate flow.
  • Butterfly valves: Butterfly valves use rotary motion to open up and shut off hydraulic systems to regulate flow.


Selecting the right process control valve is of crucial importance to ensure that a valve is the most cost-effective, and suitable for your application. To figure out what the best valve is for your industrial fluid system some important elements should be considered such as the size of the valve, the temperature conditions, and the pressure conditions under which the valve will be operating.

The size of a valve determines the capacity of processible flow, this needs to be aligned with the flow rates of the system. The size and geometry of the valve’s flow path ultimately determine the flow capacity, depending on the flow capacity required, the size of the valve components should be adjusted.

Another important factor to consider when selecting the right valve for your industrial fluid system is the temperature of the fluid handling system, as well as the temperature of the environment wherein the system operates. Sealing materials expand and contract when the temperature fluctuates hence why selecting a valve consisting of the most suitable materials is crucial.

A third factor to keep in mind is the pressure the valve needs to hold and operate under. To select the right valve, the system’s normal operating pressure, as well as the valve’s maximum pressure limit, should be considered.

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Experts for Process and Control Valves

Casey Williamson is Head of Business Development Microelectronics Global Industries for Georg Fischer. For the last 25 years, he has provided support for the semiconductor and photovoltaic sub-segments; through the years, he has been instru­mental in defining fab construction requirements as they apply to piping systems for the conveyance of high-purity liquids, process cooling, and chemical waste streams as well as analytical control systems to optimize the operations of UPW and waste systems.
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Erik Tiemensma, Sales Knowledge Manager, has over 20 years of experience in flow and pressure measurement and control for gas, liquid and vapour. For many years Erik worked as Sales Engineer supporting worldwide sales channels in finding the best solutions for customers’ applications. At Bronkhorst we are convinced that sharing experiences and knowledge is an added value for customers, when discussing the most suitable products for their applications. As part of this expert panel, looks forward to your challenging flow or pressure questions.
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Kyle Daniels, CEO, is an Aerospace Engineer and the inventor, Chief Engineer, and Head of Product Design of the Dilating Disk Valve™, formerly known as the Shutter Valve™. He holds several patents on the Dilating Disk™ Valve, and is an expert in the field of industrial valves. Mr. Daniels spent his career in the aerospace industry working at General Electric, Pratt & Whitney, and Embraer Aircraft. He is a graduate of The Ohio State University’s prestigious Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering program and received a master’s degree (magna cum laude) from Brown University’s Program in Innovation Management and Entrepreneurship. Mr. Daniels is from Miami, FL and has resided in Ohio, Connecticut, Rhode Island and Paris, France.
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