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Ball Valve Vs Needle Valve: What You Should Know

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Whether you’re creating a complicated system filled with automated monitoring and controls or incorporating a simple piping system to help with moving materials through your processes, flow control is probably vital to your project. 

One common way of incorporating flow control is with the help of valves. 

Unfortunately, there are tons of different types and designs available. This makes it hard to pick the right valve configuration for your needs.

When it comes to flow control, needle valves and ball valves are the most common types used. So, which one is better? What should you know about ball valves and needle valves?

What Is Flow Control?

First of all, you need to understand what flow control is. Flow control is a vital component of any piping system. Thus, it’s crucial to know how it works and if you’ve got any things to consider first before you implement it in your system.

Understanding the basics of flow control will help you determine the best valve design for your system.

To make things simple, flow control is the process of controlling or restricting the flow of gasses, liquids, or any other material that is flowing through your piping system.

Flow control might take place inside the primary piping lines to help regulate pressure and guarantee smooth operation. 

Flow control is a vital element of a lot of instrumentation and monitoring systems as well. It helps lower the risk of damaging fragile instruments and offers better control over the monitoring process. 

Though pressure, routing, and pipe size can affect how materials flow through your system, this is sometimes a static case. 

You would not regularly change any of these aspects as doing so will be extremely expensive and time-consuming. 

Valves provide a flexible means of offering dynamic or variable flow control. This means that you can easily lower and raise the flow based on the state of the valve. 

Now that you know what flow control is, the next thing you should learn is how to choose between ball valve vs needle valve.

What Is A Needle Valve?

When it comes to its purpose a needle valve is almost the same as a ball valve with its on and off feature. However, needle valves also have the capability of controlling flow in other settings.

These extra settings are possible due to the needle-shaped plunger of the needle valve. This is an adjustable plunger. 

Specifically, the plunger can move up and down. This enables fully open, barely open, and half-open positioning.

This adjustability allows needle valves to have more accuracy in regulating flow compared to a ball valve. 

When Should You Use A Needle Valve?

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As mentioned above, a needle valve offers extra controls for regulating flow. The accurate control of needle valves makes them the best option for calibration applications since operators can fine-tune them.

Whenever a high degree of control and precision are vital, it is ideal to stick with the needle valve. 

Some of the most popular examples of areas where accurate regulation of flow is required and needle valves are the ideal choice are metering systems and vacuum systems. 

A couple of other applications include automatic combustion control systems, fluid power systems, sampling lines, plastic mold tooling, gas bleeder lines, and more.

What Is A Ball Valve?

To make things simple, a ball valve is a valve with an on and off feature. People can use it to regulate flow by its primary component, the ball, being closed or opened. 

Usually, opening a ball valve will only require a quarter-turn of the handle. 

The ball inside a ball valve is not a solid ball. It has a hole in the center. This allows flow whenever it is open and stops flow when it is closed. 

In addition to that, people can partially open a ball valve to control the flow of liquid or gas. 

One benefit of a ball valve is that it is quite easy to tell whenever it is close or open. All you need to do is to take a look at its handle. 

When Should You Use A Ball Valve?

Due to its durability and low cost, a lot of companies prefer ball valves. This is particularly true for applications that need a high-quality sealing system.

Ball valves are a notable choice in any industry since they’re reliable. In addition to that, they also offer an air-tight seal when closed. 

Common companies that utilize ball valves for their operations include construction, heating and cooling, mining, manufacturing, agriculture, PTZ streaming camera manufacturers, and more.

With excellent resistance to corrosion, ball valves are notable for their use in brewing systems, seawater environments, and petroleum refining.

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