Using a solid rectangular gate, gate valves can be used to totally stop or start the flow of fluid via pipelines. An actuator and a spindle are all that’s needed to operate these valves. They’re made up of the same parts as a standard ball valve.
When a gate valve is open or closed, it does not regulate the flow of fluid. As a result, they take longer to open and close than quarter-turn (like ball) valves, which only require a 90-degree turn to cycle from open to closed or vice versa, respectively. As a result of this, gate valves may not be the best option for applications that demand frequent operation or fast cycle periods. Pneumatic and electric actuation of gate valves are also choices. Manual handwheel control is the most popular.
How Do Ball Valves Operate?
In contrast to a gate valve, a ball valve uses a movable ball to control the flow of liquid or gas via its passageway. Its position shows whether the valve is open or closed, and the ball has a bore (or hole) through which the medium flows.
Multiple openings, sometimes known as ports, can be incorporated into the design of ball valves. Basic on/off control is provided by two-way ball valves, which have two ports. Multi-port valves are also available for use in situations where media must be diverted in multiple directions or from multiple sources.
Ball valves are a faster alternative for on/off control than gate valves since they just require a 90-degree turn to change the position of the ball. Ball valves can be operated manually or automatically.
Comparing Gate Valves and Ball Valves
Gate valves, on the other hand, are operated by raising or lowering a gate, as opposed to the 90° rotation required for ball valves. Ball valves, as the name suggests, may shut off a flow very instantly, but gate valves are limited by their design in this regard. Because of this, ball valves are a preferable option when high cycle speeds are required.
Ball valves can be cycled more quickly, both manually and with an actuator, because of their 90° operation. In most cases, this is a plus, but in high-pressure situations, it could result in water hammer. Users of manual ball valves should turn the levers carefully in order to avoid water hammer if the pressure is high enough.
Cost is a significant deciding element in the gate valve vs. ball valve dispute. Even while gate valves are less expensive initially, their greater susceptibility to corrosion means that they will require more frequent maintenance and repair than do ball valves. Ball valves are more expensive up front, but they last longer and establish tighter seals than other types of valves.
Gate valves, as we just learned, are less long-lasting than ball valves. Gate valves will need regular maintenance or replacement in moderate to high-cycle applications. Rather than repair, most ball valves are intended to be maintenance-free. While this is true for most three-piece ball valves, the seats and seals may be simply swapped out without taking the valve out of service. In high-cycle or high-pressure applications, where valve seal breakdown is more likely to occur fast, 3-piece ball valves are frequently employed. As a result, three-piece ball valves tend to be more expensive to begin with than the more commonly used one- or two-piece structures.
Is a Ball Valve Better Than a Gate Valve?
In the end, the application will determine whether a gate valve or a ball valve is best. In situations where frequent operation is not necessary, gate valves are the ideal choice. It is suited for applications that need fast cycle times, many ports, reliable tight seals and/or frequent use of ball valves
To help you make a more informed choice, here is a summary of what we’ve discussed so far:
Ball valves can be used with both liquids and gases because they have a tight seal that ensures a reliable seal. For thick liquids, such as oil, gate valves are better suited because they are more at risk of leakage.
They are smaller than gate valves, but they take up more room to operate. Small hand wheels can be used to operate gate valves, but a lever that can turn 90 degrees is required for a ball valve. Handles in the form of wing or round-styled wings or rounds are offered for several ball valves. These handles are ideal for tiny pipes, but they may not be able to handle larger ball valves due to their lack of leverage.
Liquid media applications in which only a few valves are needed should use gate valves. In a wide range of sectors, ball valves are used to control the flow of media quickly and actively.