Hydraulic Valve

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Directional Control Valves

Directional control valves can control the start, stop and change in direction of flow of a pressure medium (i.e. hydraulic oil). For this reason, they are also referred to as switching valves. Directional control valves are available as spool valves, poppet valves or rotary slide valves. Rotary slide valves, however, are no longer commonly used due to low operating pressure (up to 70 bar).

The performance of a directional control valve depends on the following:

  • Dynamic power limit (as a function of maximum flow and pressure)

  • Static power limit (adhesive force may be produced between the spool and housing due to standstill)

  • Resistance to flow (internal resistance, i.e. pressure drop)

  • Leakage (spool valves only)

  • Switching time (time between the actuating force and the completion of the stroke of the control element)

The function of a directional control valve is determined by the number of working ports (excluding control ports) and the number of spool positions. A directional control valve comprises at least two spool (switching) positions and two working ports. The most common directional control valve is a 4/3-way valve, which means the valve has four working ports and three spool positions, in accordance with DIN ISO 1219.

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Hydraulic valves are sometimes referred to as hydraulic components. These are subdivided into four main categories: Directional Control Valves, Pressure Control Valves, Flow Control Valves and Electro Hydraulic Valves.