Hydraulic Pressure Reducing Valves

These valves limit pressure on a branch circuit to a lesser amount than required in a main circuit. For example, in a system, a branch-circuit pressure is limited to 300 psi, but a main circuit must operate at 800 psi. A relief valve in a main circuit is adjusted to a setting above 800 psi to meet a main circuit’s requirements. However, it would surpass a branch- circuit pressure of 300 psi. Therefore, besides a relief valve in a main circuit, a pressure-reducing valve must be installed in a branch circuit and set at 300 psi. Figure 5-4 shows a pressure reducing valve.

In a pressure reducing valve (diagram A), adjusting the spring’s compression obtains the maximum branch circuit pressure. The spring also holds spool 1 in the open position. Liquid from the main circuit enters the valve at the inlet port C, flows past the valve spool, and enters the branch circuit through the outlet port D. Pressure at the outlet port acts through the passage E to the bottom of spool. If the pressure is insufficient to overcome the thrust of the spring, the valve remains open.

The pressure at the outlet port (diagram B) and under the spool exceeds the equivalent thrust of the spring. The spool rises and the valve is partially closed. This increases the valve’s resistance to flow, creates a greater pressure drop through the valve, and reduces the pressure at the outlet port. The spool will position itself to limit maximum pressure at the outlet port regardless of pressure fluctuations at the inlet port, as long as workload does not cause back flow at the outlet port. Back flow would close the valve and pressure would increase.

(1) X-Series Type. Figure 5-5 shows the internal construction of an X-series pressure reducing valve. The two major assemblies are an adjustable pilot-valve assembly in the cover, which determines the operating pressure of the valve, and a spool assembly in the body, which responds to the action of the pilot valve to limit maximum pressure at the outlet port.

The pilot-valve assembly consists of a poppet 1, spring 2, and adjusting screw 3. The position of the adjusting screw sets the spring load on the poppet, which determines the setting of the valve. The spool assembly consists of spool 4 and spring 5. The spring is a low rate spring, which tends to force the spool downward and hold the valve open. The position of the spool determines the size of passage C.

When pressure at the valve inlet (diagram A) does not exceed the pressure setting, the valve is completely open. Fluid passes from the inlet to the outlet with minimal resistance in the rated capacity of the valve. Passage D connects the outlet port to the bottom of the spool. Passage E connects the chambers at each end of the spool. Fluid pressure at the outlet port is present on both ends of the spool. When these pressures are equal, the spool is hydraulically balanced. The only effective force on the spool is the downward thrust of the spring, which positions the spool and tends to maintain passage C at its maximum size.

When the pressure at the valve’s outlet (diagram B) approaches the pressure setting of the valve, the liquid’s pressure in chamber H is sufficient to overcome the thrust of the spring and force the poppet off its seat. The pilot valve limits the pressure in chamber F. More pressure rises as the outlet pushes the spool upward against the combined force of the spring and the pressure in chamber F.

As the spool moves upward, it restricts the opening to create a pressure drop between the inlet and outlet ports. Pressure at the outlet is limited to the sum of the equivalent forces of springs 2 and 5. In normal operation, passage C never closes completely. Flow must pass through to meet any work requirements on the low-pressure side of the valve plus the flow required through passage E to maintain the pressure drop needed to hold the spool at the control position. Flow through restricted passage E is continual when the valve is controlling the reduced pressure. This flow is out the drain port and should be returned directly to the tank.

(2) XC-Series Type. An XC-series pressure-reducing valve limits pressure at the outlet in the same way the X-series does when flow is from its inlet port to its outlet port. An integral check valve allows reverse free flow from outlet to inlet port even at pressures above the valve setting. However, the same pressure-reducing action is not provided for this direction of flow. Figure 5-6 shows the internal construction of an XC series valve.

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