What is a water control valve?

Some CNC machine cutter heads are cooled with a mixture of water and chemicals that can be adjusted via a water control valve.

A water control valve regulates the amount of water delivered by a given water line or outlet valve. The water flow must be adjusted so that a specific amount of pressure is maintained at the outlet for many manufacturing needs. The water control valve is variable from off to fully on and any fraction in between. This allows the water regulation to be adjusted to meet any and all requirements of the manufacturing process.

High-volume, high-speed CNC machines often require the use of fluids to help control temperatures.

Some computer numerical control or CNC machines use water mixed with other chemicals to act as a coolant for the machine’s cutting heads. The amount of water or pressure is controlled by the water control valve. The CNC operator adjusts the valve to regulate the desired amount of water, ensuring that the coolant level remains at the desired level within the machine. Failure to maintain the proper amount of coolant can cause flooding or machine running dry.

Often, the water pressure in the main water line is much higher than what is needed to operate a machine on that line. This is intentional and ensures that all machines in the line will receive optimal water pressure. The water control valve positioned on the individual machines allows the operator to set each station to the correct water pressure. By operating the system with individual water control valve capabilities, the main control pump is able to maintain maximum pressure without pressure spikes or drops.

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While many water control valve settings are done manually, some machines use a hydraulic valve. The hydraulic water control valve is operated by sensors located inside the machine. These sensors monitor coolant level and viscosity, as well as temperature. They automatically open and close valves as needed to maintain optimal refrigerant mix and level. In this type of machine, an operator programs refrigerant information into the machine and the computer takes charge of settings and operation.

Individual water control valve installations also make repair and maintenance much easier. By allowing each machine to shut down on the water line, the rest of the machines can continue to operate while one part is repaired. A machine can even be replaced without interrupting the rest of the line. Machines can be set up to manufacture different parts or brought online to produce identical parts, all without interrupting other machines. The water control valve is an invaluable tool in the machining process in many factories.

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