v port Pneumatic ball valve

How do air actuated ball valves compare to electric valve types?

Process control systems that rely on valves often have the option of choosing between pneumatic ball valve and electric valve types depending on their application requirements. While both types of valves have specific strengths and limitations, their differences have significant consequences on system performance, reliability, and total cost of ownership. Air actuated ball valves use compressed air to operate the valve automation unit, whereas electric valves use electrical power.

The choice of valve type often depends on the system requirements, including the fluid type, pressure, temperature, and size, among others. It is essential to understand the pros and cons of each type of valve before selecting one for a given application. In this blog post, we will compare air actuated ball valves and electric valve types, highlighting their features, their strengths, and limitations. And how to make an informed decision in choosing between the two valves for your process control system.


Selecting the correct valve is crucial in ensuring efficient and safe operation of process control systems. Valves help to control the flow of fluids in pipelines, and their design and performance are critical in the overall process control system. Choosing the right valve type for a given application can prevent costly repairs, reduce downtime and enhance the valve system’s lifespan. Ultimately contributing to an efficient and profitable process control system. In selecting valves, several system requirements need to be considered, including the fluid type, pressure, temperature, size, and flow rate, among others.

Other factors that play a role in valve selection include the cost of the valve type, its control accuracy, maintenance requirements, and environmental considerations. The selection process requires careful evaluation of the system requirements and the technical characteristics of the valve types available. The process of valve selection is critical, and the wrong choice can lead to valve malfunction, revenue losses, and safety risks.

v port Pneumatic ball valve

Air Actuated Ball Valves

pneumatic actuator ball valve are a type of control valve that operates using compressed air. These valves are an essential component in process control systems that require large flow rates and high pressures. Air actuated ball valves are designed with a sphere-shaped ball, which rotates within a valve body and closes or opens the valve. The rotation of the ball is actuated by compressed air supplied to an actuator. This actuator operates an assembly of pistons and cylinders that applies pressure to the ball and rotates it.

Air-actuated ball valves are known for their exceptional durability and ability to operate in demanding environments. They can operate in temperatures ranging from -40°C to 200°C and pressures up to 10,000 psi. Additionally, air actuated ball valves are available in a variety of sizes up to 24 inches. Enabling them to handle a wide range of flow rates. Moreover, air actuated ball valves are relatively low-cost compared to other valve types. However, they do require an air compression source. Which increases the valve system’s complexity and maintenance requirements. Finally, air actuated ball valves have limited control accuracy, which means they are not well-suited for finer control applications.

Electric Valve Types

Electric valve types are control valves that are actuated using electrical power. These valves are essential in a variety of process control systems. Ranging from small-scale to large industrial applications. Electric valves are designed with a motor that rotates the valve stem, opening or closing the valve according to the required flow rate. Electric valve types are known for their precise control accuracy. Which makes them ideal for applications that require a high degree of accuracy, such as laboratory environments.

These valves also offer a maintenance-free operation, meaning they require less attention compared to air actuated ball valves. Another advantage of electric valves is their wide range of control options, including analog, digital, and various communication protocols. However, electric valve types have a higher initial cost compared to air actuated ball valves. They are also sensitive to electrical power fluctuations. Which can affect the valve’s performance and control accuracy. Additionally, electric valves have a limited temperature range, and they may not be suitable for applications that require high-temperature operation.

lug pneumatic butterfly valves

Choosing the Right Valve Type

Choosing the right valve type for a given application requires careful consideration of various system requirements and valve technical characteristics. One of the crucial factors to consider is the temperature range the valve will operate in. For instance, high-temperature applications require valves that can handle higher temperatures without compromising their performance. The fluid type is also another critical factor since different fluids require specific materials that do not corrode or degrade when in contact with them. The pressure range is also a crucial factor. High-pressure applications require stronger valves that can withstand the pressure without issues such as leakage.

Additionally, an evaluation of the process control requirements should be considered. This involves assessing the valve’s performance accuracy and whether it matches the flow and control needs of the application. Cost is another important factor to consider. It is important to weigh the initial cost, maintenance, and replacement costs, and the total cost of ownership against the valve type’s performance, reliability, and lifespan. Safety considerations such as personnel safety and environmental safety should also be taken into account. The right valve type should provide adequate protection against hazards and risks. In summary, the selection of a valve type requires a comprehensive evaluation of system requirements and technical considerations, as well as safety and cost factors to make an informed decision.

Potential Challenges and Best Practices

Commissioning and operating both air actuated ball valves and electric valve types come with potential challenges. One significant challenge is improper installation, which can result in valve malfunction and potential safety and environmental risks. It is advisable to conduct in-depth training and education on the installation procedures and follow the manufacturers’ specifications on installation, sizing, and component compatibility. Calibration of the positioner and regular testing of the valve is another challenge. And it is crucial to ensure accurate positioning.

Another challenge is maintaining the valves, especially air actuated ball valves. Which require regular maintenance checkups. Best practices such as the use of corrosion-resistant materials and coatings, carrying out proper equipment placement. And routine maintenance can prevent valve degradation caused by corrosion, abrasion, or wear and tear. Documentation of valve history and maintenance logs can help track the valve’s progress and performance. Enabling valve replacement and maintenance decisions to be made based on the valve’s actual condition, leading to better asset management.

3 way electric ball valve

Best practices should also focus on antifouling and cleaning the valve and actuator components to prevent blockages or contamination. Adherence to safety protocols is critical for personnel safety and preventing environmental disasters. Regular maintenance and inspection procedures can help prevent costly malfunctions and extend the valve’s lifespan. Overall, applying the best practices in valve commissioning, installation, and maintenance can help streamline the process and prevent costly repairs. Enhancing the process control system’s productivity.


In conclusion, the selection of the right valve type is crucial in ensuring efficient, safe, and reliable operation of process control systems. Choosing between air actuated ball valves and electric valve types requires a comprehensive evaluation of system requirements and technical considerations. Such as temperature range, fluid type, pressure range, and control accuracy, among others. Both valve types have unique strengths and limitations, and a detailed understanding of their features can help make informed decisions about the type that best suits the application.

Although there are potential challenges associated with commissioning and operating valves. The application of best practices such as proper installation, regular maintenance and inspection. And documentation can minimize risks and prevent costly repairs in the long run. Continuous personnel training and adherence to safety protocols are also essential in minimizing accidents and ensuring a safe working environment. Investing in the commissioning of valves can prevent costly repairs, reduce downtime, and extend the valves’ lifespan, ultimately contributing to an efficient and profitable process control system.