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Compressor Valve Assemblies: Why Reliability and Quality Are Key

Compressor valve assemblies are important to maintain and understand. Here’s why reliability and quality are key.

Compressor Valve Assemblies: Reliability and Quality Are Key - KB Delta

Compressors are powerful mechanical devices that increase pressure in a wide variety of highly compressible gases or fluids, most notably air. It powers paint sprayers, air tools, as well as abrasive blast machines. It also helps propel gas through pipelines, as well as other numerous functions.

Some of the industries and applications that make use of compressors extensively in all their day-to-day operations include:


  • Medical and Dental applications
  • Oil and Gas applications
  • Vehicle-mounted and truck compressors
  • Food and beverage processing applications
  • Specialty and laboratory gas compression


Compressors are made up of several components that ensure the equipment operates smoothly and as intended. One of such crucial components of compressors is the compressor valve.


The Compressor Valve Assembly

Valve assemblies refer to the complete valve mechanisms of compressors. They include every peripheral device that is directly related to both the installation as well as the functioning of the valves.

In many cases, the term ‘valve assembly’ may involve all valve types, including fluid or gas flow control valves as well as internal combustion engine valves. Valve assemblies generally include the full fluid control mechanism and its casing, mechanical and electrical actuation mechanisms, as well as other related connectors, fasteners, and external sensors.

In a few cases, valve assemblies come with multiple ancillary devices like shim selections, mounting adapter sets, as well as spare seals.

A valve – in gas and fluid system terms – refers to any mechanical device designed to throttle or control the extent of flow, start, or stop a gas or fluid flow through a specific system.

Therefore, it is safe to refer to a ‘valve assembly’ as the collective term used in describing the entire valve mechanism as well as each part that plays a physical and direct role in its operation, actuation, and control while functioning.

Valve assemblies come in a complete package when purchased in order to ease the entire replacement process. But in the case of much larger valves, valve assemblies are purchased on a part-by-part basis in order to minimize costs.


What is the Primary Component of a Valve Assembly?

The major component in any compressor valve assembly is the gas or fluid control system and its casing, especially where relevant. The component, in some applications, could be internal combustion engine valves, while in other applications, the primary component could be a complex arrangement of parts – such as ball, gate, or butterfly types – enclosed in an external casing called the ‘valve body.’

The initiation mechanism is typically an integral feature of the major valve body in manually-initiated valves. But for automated valves, the actuator is the second component within the assembly. This could be the pneumatic or hydraulic unit, a solenoid, an electric motor, as well as every related electric or hose cable and connection.


External Controllers

The valve assembly may sometimes include external controllers like the travel limit sensors as well as the start/stop stations. Grub screws, circlips, and bolts are valve-specific fasteners usually included in valve assemblies.

Flange and thread adapters are some of the ancillary equipment required for the seamless installation and function of the valve. They are expected to be part of the valve assembly and often come as standard compressor accessories.

Several sets of valve shims are usually included for tappet-type compressor valves. These peripherals also come with multiple replacement components for the incredibly high-wear parts of external or internal mechanisms. This includes seal elements, O-rings, bushes, etc.


Why Reliability and Quality Are Key

The importance of reliability and quality when it comes to valve assemblies cannot be overstated. Most of the components that make up the entire valve assembly undergo intense pressure as well as wear and tear when the equipment functions actively. They need to be made of high-quality materials, such as high-grade steel.

The valves must also be designed to operate seamlessly in low and high-pressure environments for a wide variety of applications.

Materials for producing plates and plastic rings of compressor valves must meet specific requirements, such as:


  • Pressure resistance
  • Damping attributes or characteristics
  • Use extensively under variable operation environments or conditions
  • Resistance to incredibly low and high temperatures
  • High resistance against highly corrosive gases


When plates and rings meet all these requirements, they significantly boost the service life of valves. This dramatically minimizes the cost of maintenance in the long run.


Air Quality

Compressors generally take in air from the atmosphere in order to compress it. This process heats the air and sometimes adds oil to the entire mix. The only way to avoid this scenario is to ensure the intake air is very dry, or else, lots of moisture will also be generated.

For most operations, the additional constituents don’t affect the tools or machines powered by the compressor. The tools operate smoothly and never give performance issues.

However, as air-driven procedures become much more critical or complex, a lot of thought is given to the processes in order to boost the overall quality of the output air.

Compressed air – in most cases – is usually very hot and can’t be used directly. This is why reducing the heat becomes paramount. This is by collecting the air in a tank. This allows the compressed air to cool while permitting some of the moisture present in the hot air to condense.

The air compressor-receiving tanks have automatic or manual valves via which accumulated water in the tank is drained off. Running the compressed air through an aftercooler also helps eliminate more heat.

The air is filtered in order to remove all entrained lubricants and particulates – that may have somehow slipped through the intake filtering system – from the supply air.


Compressor Valve Assemblies Conclusion

Compressors are mechanical devices used in a wide variety of industrial processes. The quality of the materials used in fabricating the components that make up an entire valve assembly is key. It determines whether or not a compressor will have a prolonged lifespan or a short one.

This is why reliability and quality should always be the #1 determining factors when shopping for high-quality components or peripherals that make up the valve assembly of your compressor.



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