Choosing the correct valve can be the difference between making or breaking your system. There is such a wide variety of valve types in today’s market that sourcing the most ideal valve for your application can be difficult. In this article, PIF looks at the difference between ball valves and gate valves and ask leading industrial valve suppliers, BM Engineering Supplies, ‘are ball valves better than gate valves?’
Before asking the question ‘are ball valves better than gate valves’, we need to determine what the key differences are between the two. The first thing to bear in mind is they both essentially serve the same function, hence why they are so closely comparable.
The main difference between ball valves and gate valves are structural qualities and how they are marked. While gate valves open by lifting a round or rectangular gate out of the path of the fluid, ball valves have a stem and a ball that turn horizontally. This is why ball valves are often referred to as a rotational valve.
Gate valves feature a sealing surface dividing the gate and the seats. As such, they are often used when a straight-line flow of fluid and minimum restriction is required. Because ball valves are a form of quarter-turn valve, they act differently. They use a hollow ball which is both perforated and pivoted to control flow. The valve is open when the ball’s hole is in line with the flow. It closes when pivoted to 90 degrees by the valve handle, which lies flat, and level with the flow when open and perpendicular when closed. This makes it easy to visually confirm the valve’s status.
To settle the ball valve vs gate valve debate, we opened up the discussion to leading Scottish industrial valve distributors, BM Engineering Supplies, who stock both valves types. They stated that the benefit of a ball valve vs a gate valve is that they seal much tighter, therefore making them better at avoiding leakage than gate valves. This is due to their 100% shut off characteristics. In addition, they are also easier to use than gate valves, offering both lower rates of failure and greater longevity.
The durability of ball valves makes them an ideal choice for shutoff applications. They perform consistently well after many cycles, as well as boasting reliability and the ability to close securely even after long periods without use. For these reasons, they are often preferred over gate and globe valves.
For more information about ball or gate valves or any of the other products that they stock, visit the BM Engineering Supplies website.