When you have a question about process automation that needs a short answer, let us know with #WishIknew and #Visaya! We’ll reply with a #WishIknew post. It’ll give a quick explanation, then some related articles, videos, or reviews if you want to know more.

I wish I knew what control valves are!

If you have some experience in automation, you could drop a brief answer on social media. But let’s give more context and clarify this question for our beginners.

As you may have already guessed, control valves have something to do with final control elements. We recently posted about final control elements here, and we like to post on themes.  Anyway, the right final element is the key to keep your process running according to the setup in the control system. And this key can significantly affect production quality. If the process variable doesn’t stay at its setpoint, it may slow production or change the quality of the product.

image of control valve
Courtesy of final control elements

But we can go a step further here and say that control valves are one of the most important final control elements out there. They apply in all kinds of industries to control a broad range of products. We can define a control valve as an element that can restrict product flow in a process. You can allow more or less product to pass through the pipes using the control valve.

We can also classify them by how they open and close. Let’s go over these differences.

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Valve classifications


When you want the valve open or closed, you have to send someone out to the field to make that change. This is the least efficient way, but it works.


The valves open and close using the energy of the fluid passing through the pipe – more efficient but harder to control.


You send an external signal to open or close the valve. You can use different signals to actuate the valve, such as analog, pressure, or Profibus. This way is the most efficient.

Do you know of other ways? Drop us a line and let’s chat about it!

If you have further questions, we also advise you !

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