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Manual Valves Explained


While it may be common knowledge to some, the main purpose of a valve is to control the flow of fluid or pressure within a particular process or system. A manual valve as you might have guessed is typically controlled by hand and can be operated with the use of hand levers, gear wheels, chains or handwheels.

With the main purpose of manual valves to be to control fluid flow and pressure, this action can be achieved in a number of ways, including: controlling the flow direction, stopping or starting the flow of liquid or controlling the direction in which the fluid is travelling.

As many things in hydraulic engineering, manual valves come in all shapes and sizes but ultimately how manual valves work is the same and the makeup of manual valves all follows the same pattern of parts.



What is a ball valve? A ball valve is a shut off rotation motion valve that controls the flow of fluid with a ball shaped disk. When the handle of the ball valve is in an open position, the ball inside rotates so the hole inside the ball falls in line with the valve inlet and outlet. When shut, the ball rotates so the hole is away from the flow opening. By rotating the ball by 90 degrees the fluid is allowed to pass through or remains blocked, making this a popular choice when a shut off valve is required.
The advantage of ball valves include their quick turn off operation as well as being generally low in cost and low in the maintenance required. Ball valves are also fairly compact in size and allow for a tight seal with low torque.



Manual butterfly valves are very similar to ball valves and make up a member of the quarter-turn valve family. Butterfly valves are used to regulate the flow of a particular fluid and operate in much the same way as a ball valve. The ‘Butterfly’ is known as the disk part of the valve that is connected to a rod which then connects to an actuator outside of the valve. Using the rod to rotate the disk is what allows for the fluid to flow.
Butterfly valves have a diverse use across many different industries such as Food, Pharmaceutical, Water Treatment and industries that work with gas supplies. Available in large sizes, Butterfly valves are ideal for liquids with fairly large quantities of solids with low pressure.


As the name suggests a pressure relief valve is a safety device designed to protect a system or pressurised vessel from any over pressure. Many hydraulic and pneumatic systems control fluid variables such as flow or a pressure temperature and pressure relief valves exist to prevent these types of systems from exceeding their maximum allowing working pressure.
There are different types of pressure relief valves such as Spring Loaded Pressure Relief Valves, Balanced Bellows Valves, Balanced Piston Valves and Pilot Operated Pressure Relief Valves.

Take the pressure off yourself and let our team source the valve that’s right for your application and system.



How a gate valve works is exactly as you may think, by rotating a handle it controls the flow of liquids by lifting a gate to allow fluid to flow through or lowering the gate to stop the flow of the liquid. Gate valves are designed to be fully open or fully closed, depending on the stage of the process. It’s the clear unobstructed passage that makes gate valves so unique and unlike other types of manual valves are designed to completely stop or allow for fluid to flow through, not to regulate the movement.
When looking at using gate valves it’s important to consider the following: end connections, the body material, size, temperature range and working pressure.
Gate valves are also available as automated gate valves with either a pneumatic or electric actuator but the manual gate valves are far more cost-effective.



Globe valves get their name from their spherical shape and are often operated via a hand wheel. Unlike gate valves, manual globe valves can be used to regulate the flow or pressure of fluid as well as having the ability to completely shut off the flow. By simply turning the handwheel of the globe valve it can adjust the rate of flow through the valve to the chosen level and are often used in situations where throttling the fluid if necessary. Unlike other manual valves the fluid changes direction as it moves through the globe valve, considerably reducing the pressure when in it’s open state.
It’s common to find globe valves being used ing industries such as Oil and Gas.



The main purpose of a pressure reducing valve is to maintain a low pressure within a hydraulic system. A Pressure Reducing Valve is usually an open, 2-way valve that allows the fluid to run through until such time that a set pressure is reached downstream in the system. They work by lowering the amount of fluid pressure to a consistent level via the means of a spring-loaded piston. One thing to remember about hydraulic Pressure Reducing Valves is that they aren’t a simple on and off but continually adjust the pressure as required.



Check valves are often known as or referred to as ‘one way valves’ or ‘non-return valves’ as they only allow the flow of fluid in one direction. Designed to prevent backflow, check valves have two ports, one inlet and one outlet port. In order to perform their job, check valves require there to be a higher pressure on the inlet port of the valve. If pressure increases to a level that is higher on the outlet port, the check valve will close. Unlike many of the other manual valves explained on this page, check valves don’t have handles, actuators or leavers.
The time to use check valves would be when your application could be harmed from any backflow. For more advice or support with your valve queries, just get in touch with our team and they can talk you through the right valve for the application.



Y-strainers, sometimes known as wye strainers are devices used to mechanically remove unwanted solids from fluids in a system. An essential component, Y-Strainers are used to protect other parts such as pumps, control valves and meters by stopping any solids from travelling downstream in the fluid.
Used in many types of applications, Y-strainers can often be seen being used in industries such as Marine, Oil and Gas and Renewable Energy.

Get in touch today if you think we can help or even if you aren’t too sure exactly what it is you need.


A needle valve is used when precision is important, they are used to accurately control the flow rate of fluids and gasses. They can perform a more accurate task than other manual valves controlling the flow of fluid by making gradual adjustments, they can however we used to completely shut-off the flow if needed. Generally needle valves are only used in low pressure situations on applications that control the flow of gas.
If you’re wondering how needle valves work? They work by opening and closing the outlet with a tapered point that rises and lowers by turning a handle.

If you’re interested in knowing more then our team are always on hand to spread their expert knowledge.