How Proportional Valves Can Improve Machine Performance

By Bob Wojcik

Many will have experienced working with machine manufacturers who have struggled to make their products run smoother, quieter, and at the same time, attempted to improve the machine's production capability. Experience with one manufacturer in particular, resulted in a machine with sheet metal side frames. These side frames vibrated and created noise to intensely undesirable levels!

Another manufacturer simply attempted to smooth the machine operation so there were no "jerky" machine movements. Unfortunately, this also contributed to a less-than-smoothly operating machine. Yet another manufacturer's main goal was to find ways to make their machines operate faster and thus increase the production output!

All of these machine design corrections can be more easily achieved by replacing conventional hydraulic directional, flow control, and pressure control valves with proportional valves. Proportional valves are available in directional control, flow or speed control, as well as pressure control configurations. These proportional valves are able to provide the required results for most, if not all, of the above issues.

The main reason why proportional valves are the answer for many of these undesirable conditions is because proportional valves are adjustable electronically and also can be programmed to achieve optimal operational conditions. Since these programmable proportional valves can provide repeatable and reliable movement profiles, they therefore can control acceleration, deceleration, and maximum operating speeds.

For example: If a conventional hydraulic circuit can only operate at a certain velocity before causing operational problems, a proportional valve hydraulic circuit can accelerate to a higher velocity, run at that higher velocity, and then decelerate to accomplish the desired circuit functions without noise, vibration, or other unwanted movements.
It is a proven fact that machine functions may gain up to a 30% greater velocity during the proportional valve run cycle, thereby significantly increasing the overall machine production capability.

Quality Hydraulics & Pneumatics, Inc. offers design, products, and systems to improve machine performance, for either mobile or industrial equipment. These assets contribute to a much more flexible and functional hydraulic system. The Certified Fluid Power Specialists at Quality Hydraulics will assist with selection of the best-suited components and systems to achieve the most efficient and cost-effective machine operational solution.