What are Pressure Regulators and How Do They Work?
Pressure regulators are mechanical devices that control the upstream or downstream pressure of a fluid by responding to fluctuations in the system. These can be fluctuations in various process parameters such as pressure, temperature or flow. The goal of pressure regulators is to constantly maintain the desired pressure during normal or unexpected swings.
In order to maintain downstream pressure, a pressure regulator would reduce the higher (and sometimes fluctuating) inlet pressure to a lower, steady outlet pressure by adjusting the valve opening. Unlike flow control valves that control flow, pressure regulators only control delivery pressure.
There are three functional components within a pressure regulator:
Loading element: acts on the sensing element and provides the force needed for the control element to act. It is usually a spring, but there are alternatives such as diaphragm or piston actuators.
Sensing element: usually a piston, diaphragm or membrane, the sensing element is used to sense pressure changes stemming from the force on the loading element as well as the pressure drop across the valve.
Control element: is the poppet valve that incorporates feedback from the other parts of the system to react and deliver the pressure reduction needed either upstream or downstream.
Find out more about how pressure regulators work and how to size one in our guide on pressure regulators.
Types of Pressure Regulators
Pressure regulators are widely used within domestic, analytical and industrial environments. Although there are many types on the market, most fall into two primary categories: pressure-reducing regulators and back-pressure regulators.
Pressure-reducing regulators provide steady and controlled downstream system pressure by reducing the higher inlet pressure.
Back-pressure regulators maintain upstream system pressure for all process users by controlling the inlet pressure.
Other types of pressure regulators include cylinder pressure regulators that regulate pressure over multiple stages to improve control accuracy, vaporising regulators and speciality regulators that have been designed for specific applications.
Whether you are looking for pressure regulators for analytical or industrial environments, our extensive range has everything you need with many available off-the-shelf in a variety of customisable configurations. Find out more about our pressure-regulating solutions in our handy online catalogue.
Selection Criteria for Pressure Regulators
When selecting and installing pressure regulators, it is crucial that they are sized appropriately for the system. This can help reduce system inefficiencies, prevent safety incidents such as losses of containment and improve operating costs. Specifying pressure regulators involves a number of considerations, which depending on your system, can include:
- Single or multi-stage pressure reduction
- Inlet and outlet pressure operating ranges
- Expected temperature operating range
- Flow range
- Line sizes
- Design conditions (e.g. temperature, pressure)
- Fluid type (e.g. liquid, gas, toxic, flammable)
- Materials of construction (e.g. for the body, seals, etc)
- Connection options
- Safety considerations
- Mounting types
- Maintenance requirements
- Pressure reduction profile (e.g. valve characteristics such as trim)
- Sensitivity and accuracy requirements
- Size, space and weight constraints
- Certifications and approvals
With our industry-leading expertise, our team can help businesses specify suitable pressure regulators to meet their exact system requirements. From general industrial processes to critical high-pressure control systems, our experts are experienced in helping clients understand the configurations available and select the best solutions for their process.
Pressure is one of the most important process conditions to get right to ensure safe and stable operation, so it is important to specify the right pressure regulators. We have a vast selection of general-purpose and specialist, high-quality pressure regulators ready in stock, suited for a range of applications, media and environments. Get in touch with our experts for a consultation or explore our extensive catalogue to discover pressure-regulating solutions that you can rely on time and time again.