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issue: October 2007 APPLIANCE Magazine

Technology Report
Flexible Flow Control

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Boasting small size and reliable performance, a new adjustable pressure-compensated control valve is said to be the only one of its kind.

The PCFCD-1N1 controls flow rates of 0 to 4.2 gal per hour of water (0 to 20 cu ft/hour of air). It is especially suited for controlling low flow rates. The maximum rated inlet supply pressure is 500 psig. Both the inlet and outlet ports are tapped 10-32.

The PCFCD-1N1 pressure-compensated flow-control valve from Beswick Engineering is a compact, adjustable valve that incorporates the functions of a pressure regulator and flow control into a single device. According to Mike Donati, vice president, the valve is designed to maintain a desired flow rate, regardless of upstream or downstream pressure changes. “In contrast, standard flow-control valves will only maintain a desired flow rate if the upstream and downstream (with incompressible fluids—liquids such as water and oil) pressure remains relatively constant,” Donati explains. “With standard flow-control valves, the flow rate will change from the desired setting if the upstream or downstream…changes significantly.”

The pressure regulation is accomplished with a low-friction diaphragm mechanism. This replaces the more standard piston-style pressure regulator. “The diaphragm-style regulator has less hysteresis and is more responsive to small pressure changes, especially at low pressures, than the piston-style regulator,” Donati notes. “This provides better precision and reliable flow metering.”

The valve operates by maintaining a constant pressure drop across a needle valve, which allows the end product engineer to adjust the flow rate. If necessary, the pressure differential can also be adjusted. “With a new product design, it is likely that the flow rate required for the new product is not known from the outset,” Donati says. “The adjustable-flow-rate feature allows the product design engineer to tinker with various pressures and flow rates to determine the best settings for the new product. Once the best settings are determined, Beswick could preset the device to meet the customer’s specifications.”

Donati adds that this is also beneficial for devices that require varying of the flow rate. Using the valve in ultrasonic teeth cleaners, for example, allows dental professionals to adjust the flow rate to best suit their needs during teeth cleaning. “The variable-water-flow option can be a problem for the ultrasonic cleaner manufacturer to make work as originally designed because each town or city in the United States or the world has different water supply pressures,” Donati says. “The ultrasonic cleaner could function differently (less than ideal) depending on where it is used in the world (and the particular water supply pressure at the dentist’s office). The PCFCD-1N1 adjustable pressure-compensated flow-control valve can solve this problem.”

Greenland, NH, U.S.–based Beswick says the PCFCD-1N1, at a weight of only 48 g, sets an industry standard for miniaturization and allows for in-line mounting without the need for a panel-mount thread. It works with both liquids (incompressible fluids) and gases (compressible fluids), but is primarily intended for the control of liquids. 

Suppliers mentioned in this article:
Beswick Engineering Co. Inc.

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