Different Types of Steam Control Valves. Which Valves Are Best to Handle Steam?

In this blog post, you’ll read:Steam control is an important stage in various industries. Steam carries out and eases a lot of industrial processes. It gets vital to control and manage steam through reactions. Industries use valves to regulate steam. A steam valve is a device that regulates the flow and pressure of steam in a system. It can either allow, halt, or modulate the flow depending on its design and the system's requirements.
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Steam control is crucial for the completion of industrial processes. Steam is often a reactor or by-product in chemical reactions. It is vital to control and manage steam through responses. Industries use valves to regulate steam. There are different types of steam control valves. They play a central role in working steam throughout the processes. Here is an insight into the best industrial steam control valves

What are Industrial Steam Control Valves?

Pneumatic control valve in a steam heating system
Pneumatic control valve in a steam heating system

Industrial steam control valves manage, regulate, or release steam. They are devices to control the steam within a system. The purpose of the steam control valve is similar to that of a tap for removing or stopping the flow.  

Material selection is primarily essential for the steam control valve. Their material is often sturdy metal to deal with steam conditions. We can locate these valves in large pipelines or industrial equipment where steam operates. The handle or lever is the part of the steam valve that controls the flow of steam and starts or stops the valve.

When the valve lies in open condition, the steam is allowed to pass through. It lets steam reach the desired location, such as in chemical reactors or power generators. We can adjust the steam flow by changing the position of the lever or handle. It helps regulate temperature, pressure, and other essential factors.

Steam control valves are excellent for safety as they can shut off in emergencies. They have a shallow risk of hammering. Thus, we can shut them off during maintenance activities. They keep the integrity of the systems where steam is operating.

Steam control valves are one significant reason for the smooth operations of factories, refineries, turbines, etc. You can also change the pressure and temperature settings by regulating these valves. Operators can opt for desirable settings for even steam distribution to each sector.

Working of Steam Control Valves:

types of steam trap types
Types of steam trap types

Steam control valves are like a tap or faucet to handle water flow.  A steam valve design has a metallic body with a passage for steam to pass through. The valve seat is a ring-shaped surface present within the body. The valve seat is the part that decides whether the steam will pass or block. When the valve closes, the steam valve seat blocks the passage. It prevents steam flow from passing through. When the valve opens, the seating surface allows the steam to pass. The seat connects with a flat, round part of the disc. The valve disc assembles into a rod-like structure called the valve stem. This stem combines with the lever or handle of the valve, which causes the opening or closing of the valve. Turning off the handle causes the stem to move, which regulates the disc position. We can manage the flow of steam by changing the handle position. This is how the steam control valve works. Steam valves also contain a shut-off mechanism. In the closed position, it blocks the steam flow by sealing the mechanism of the disc against the seat. This property helps when it is necessary to stop the steam flow for safety and protection. Flow control by steam valves is crucial in industrial processes. Adjusting the valve allows us to control the steam moving through the system.  This can regulate essential factors like temperature and pressure in steam operations.

Control Methods for Steam Valves:

Control methods refer to the actuators or operational type of valve. There could be many different ways to actuate a steam control valve. Here are a few of the top control methods for steam valves.

Manual Control Method: This is the most basic method where a person turns the handwheel or lever to operate or regulate the steam control valve. This is standard in smaller applications where no precision overflow rate is required. It is also suitable for low-pressure and flow rate conditions.
Hydraulic Control Method: In this type of actuator, hydraulic fluid is responsible for valve opening and closing. The pressure of the hydraulic fluid is regulated via a control signal sent by the central control system. It is suitable for high-pressure applications and giant valve handling.
Pneumatic Control Method: Pneumatic control is significant in industrial applications, providing precise control and quick response time. They operate on pneumatic principles and use compressed air to open and close valves. The adjustment of compressed air changes the position or state of the valve. A signal sent by the control system directs the valve positioner, which adjusts the compressed air. This is how fluid regulation takes place in the pneumatic steam control valve.
Electric Control Method: Electric actuators facilitate where pneumatic and other control methods are not feasible. They provide a high level of precision with an efficient control system. An electric motor rotates the valve stem and regulates the valve position. The control system generates digital or analog signals to administrate the valve position. This control system is ideal for heavy-duty valves in industries and sensitive applications where precise flow rate regulation is highly significant.

Actuator Selection for Steam Control Valves:

The mode of the actuator plays a significant part in the valve’s performance. It should generate a high input force, leading to good closure and excellent sealing. The actuator selection for steam control valves should focus on the following listings.

Manual actuator is ideal for small systems and lightweight applications. We can rely on manual controls for applications not affected by low precision.
Selecting a pneumatic control actuator is preferable for explosion-proof systems applications. It can handle the excess of pressure and can be handy for sensitive systems.
Electric actuators are ideal in conditions that demand energy-saving options. These actuators operate efficiently using digital systems and save on the need for operational energy.
For ultra-precision overflow control, the hydraulic control method is advised. They can regulate the speed of machines in power plants and manage temperature variations in the catalytic units of reactors.

Different Types of Steam Control Valves:

Here are the different types of steam control valves for industrial applications.

Steam Control Globe Valve:

Cast iron steam globe valves
Cast iron steam globe valves

These valves are spherical, having a passage in the center for steam flow. They control steam through a plug or disc that raises and lowers to pass or block steam. In open conditions, steam moves across without any hurdle. On closing, steam passage blocks due to the action of the disc or plug. Globe valves offer reasonable control over the steam flow rate. They are the best valves to handle steam due to specific control features.

Specifications of Steam Control Globe Valve:

Product NameIndustrial Steam Control Flanged Globe Valve
MaterialSS304, SS316
MediaWater, gas, oil, and corrosive liquids
Size3/8 -2- 1/2
TypeFloating Valve
Temperature-40°C to 180°C
Pressure1.6 to 6.4MPa
ApplicationsIndustrial steam and water control applications
Steam Control Globe Valve Details

Steam Control Gate Valve:

cast iron steam gate valves
Cast iron steam gate valves

Gate valves have a gate-like mechanism that manages steam by sliding up and down. To allow steam to move across, the gate lifts. On closing the valve, the gate returns to its initial position, leaving no room for steam to pass. Gate valves apply where the steam flow needs an entire shut-off. They are also suitable to handle minimal pressure drops across the valve.

Specifications of Steam Control Gate Valve:

Product NameIndustrial Steam Control Gate Valve
MaterialCast Iron
PressureLow Pressure
ApplicationsIndustrial Steam Applications, Industrial Water Applications.
Steam Control Gate Valve specifications

Steam Control Ball Valve:

ductile iron ball valves
Ductile iron steam ball valves

Steam Ball valves are also the best valves to handle steam. These valves have a disc-shaped ball. The ball starts to rotate as we turn the handle from the initial position. The steam lows from across the hole on the opening of the path. Similarly, the process reverses on closing of the valve. Ball valves provide quick operation handles and tight sealing. It is the reason they are suitable for fast shut-off or control applications.

Specifications of Steam Control Ball Valve:

Product NameCarbon Steel Steam Control Ball Valve
MaterialCarbon Steel P235GH
MediaWater, Steam
SizeDN15 – DN250
TypeFull Bore
Temperature-20°C to 250°C
Pressure40 Bars Max
ApplicationsVarying Applications Based on Product Size.
Steam ball valve specifications

Steam Control Butterfly Valve:

Butterfly iron steam valves
Butterfly iron steam valves

Butterfly valves regulate steam flow with the help of a rotating disc in their body. This disc has connections with a rod that assembles with the handle. The position of the disc changes to either parallel or perpendicular when the handle is rotated. Butterfly valves are applied in pipelines to control minor pressure drops. They are considered top steam control valves.

Specifications of Steam Control Butterfly Valve:

Product NameIndustrial Steam Control Wafer Butterfly Valve
MaterialCast Steel
SizeDN15 TO DN200
TypeCenter Sealing
Temperature120°C to 450°C
Pressure1.6MPa Max
ApplicationsFood Industry, water, and steam applications.
Butterfly valves specs

Steam Control Diaphragm Valve:

diaphragm valves with 1inch
Diaphragm valves with 1 inch

Diaphragm valves contain a diaphragm that moves up and down for steam control. When the valve opens, the diaphragm lifts, making the steam flow across. Closing the valve brings the diaphragm down, blocking the steam flow. Diaphragm valves work where we need to separate steam from other systems.

Specifications of Steam Control Diaphragm Valve:

Product NameDiaphragm Steam Control Valve
MaterialStainless Steel
MediaWater, Oil, Gas
SizeDN15 to DN500
TypeSleeve Diaphragm
Temperature300°C Max
PressurePN16 – PN100
ApplicationsWater and steam flow adjustment, extraction systems, heaters, etc.
Diaphragm Valve specifications

Parts of Steam Control Valves:

The top contributing parts of a steam control valve are the bonnet, ball, seat, and positioner. Each of them is connected to the other for the creation of valve assembly. Below are the details of the parts of steam control valves, which will help you determine their function.


The bonnet is a removable part of the steam control valve that acts as a cover and supports the moving parts of the valve. The bonnet also protects the connection between the stem and the plug. It provides an efficient sealing mechanism for the valve and stems. It adds strength to the actuator for a feasible operation. The material construction of the plug and stem is stiff and heat-treated metals. Therefore, they require packaging that surrounds them to protect them from leakages. Bonnet relieves these concerns and makes steam valves less prone to leakages.


The fluid control part of the steam control valve is mostly a spherical ball. Either of the operational methods can actuate a ball. It can be electrically powered or manual. The ball provides fluid with a passage to escape from the valve body. Manual ball actuation needs a human to operate, while electricity gives power to the electronic one. Electronic ball control methods require a good understanding of the system, as failure can lead to water hammers. The automatic ball control method is more reliable as it is accessible for complex and remote systems.


The seat in a steam control valve retains a central position. The seat design differs per the application demand and can have various purposes. It provides a resting place for gate, ball, or diaphragm. The seat is capable of withstanding high-pressure conditions. If high pressure remains unchecked, it can cause trouble for the actuator by producing turbulent force. Seats can have metal-forged or split construction. Due to their efficient seating, single-port steam control valves are excellent for shutoff applications.


A valve positioner in the steam control valves regulates the valve position concerning a desired set point. It keeps a check on the stem position against the control signal. Positioners require maintenance more than any other part of the steam control valve. The response time of the positioner prevents several causes of valve failure. One should perform regular inspection tests for positioners. It includes checking minimum and maximum openings, hysteresis, and calibration. You may also test its performance in the circuit by isolating it from the valve.

Valve Body:

The valve body is the most visible part that secures all other elements within its structure. It provides shelter and protection to other components and maintains their assembly. Valve bodies also have different actuation controls. It can be manual, electronic, or automatic. You can choose the most suitable valve body depending on the nature of the application. An automatic valve body is reliable where manual control is rigid or system requirements are strict.

Industrial Applications of Steam Control Valves:

Here are some industrial applications of steam control valves.

  • Power Plants:
power plants
Power plants

Steam control valves work in the turbine by regulating steam flow. They are highly essential products in power generation plants. Turbines are one of the best applications of steam control valves. Steam control by these valves leads to safe and optimized power generation.

  • Heating Systems:

Steam control valves are applicable in heating systems to regulate the steam flow. In buildings, steam often heats water or air. The valves check the amount of steam flowing through radiators or heat exchangers. This ensures the right amount of heat is delivered to maintain comfortable temperatures.

  • Industrial Processes:
industrial processes
Industrial processes

Steam has another crucial role in initiating reactions, heating, or sterilization. These valves are significant in maintaining the steam flow during industrial processes. It not only distributes steam but also carries out smooth reactions.

  • Refineries and Petrochemical Plants:

Refineries and petrochemical plants also stand among the best applications of steam control valves. Steam cracking is the central process where these valves apply. The breaking down of hydrocarbons takes place here. The precise control of steam maintains process efficiency and safety.

  • Food and Beverage Industry:

Food and beverage industries also employ steam control valves. They work in cooking, pasteurization, sterilization, and other critical processes. These valves maintain safety while cooking and food processing.

  • HVAC Systems:

Steam control valves are integral to (HVAC) systems. They regulate the steam heating of large buildings, such as hospitals or offices. By controlling the steam flow, these valves maintain comfortable indoor temperatures.


Product NameSteam Tracing Industrial Gate Valve.  
MaterialDuctile Iron.
Temperature ConditionsRegular Temperature.
Pressure ConditionsLow Pressure.
Connection TypeFlange.
ActuationManual Control.
ApplicationsIndustrial use, heavy-duty performance.
Data and specs

Advantages and Disadvantages of Steam Control Valves:

Here is a list of the advantages and disadvantages of steam control valves.

Advantages of Steam Control Valves: Disadvantages of Steam Control Valves: 
Flow Control: The flow control by steam control valves is highly reliable and efficient. Operators get the freedom to set desired conditions for steam flow. Such an optimal control results in seamless and optimal industrial processes.  Pressure Drops: Pressure drops, under some circumstances, can prove to be a drawback. It can lead to other problems like energy loss. To tackle this issue, you must consider the suitable size and design of the valve during installation.
Safety: Safety is one of the most significant advantages of steam control valves. In an emergency, these valves enable quick shut-off to maintain and repair the equipment. It saves from the hazards of personnel or equipment loss.  Maintenance: Maintenance can be among the disadvantages of steam control valves. These valves demand extra care and maintenance after some time. This includes checking for faults, cleaning, and needs for repairs or replacements. Neglecting maintenance can lead to valve malfunctions or failures.  
Versatility: Versatility is one of the best advantages of steam control valves. These valves are versatile in their designs and unique in performance. It helps to maintain the efficiency and flexibility of the operating system.  Initial Cost: Steam control valve prices can prove to be high initial costs. The cost for each valve type varies, but it often proves to be a little higher than other valves. Though they are initially costly, their advantages and features are worth it.  
Longevity: Steam control valve structure can deal with steam even in extremely harsh conditions. Their construction uses sturdy and capable materials. It leads to longer and more reliable working in industrial environments.Complexity: Some steam control valves can be complex in design and operation. Proper training and understanding of the valve’s working are vital for operators.
Advantages and disadvantages

Best Materials for Industrial Steam Control Valve:

Industrial steam valves often have stainless steel, brass, cast iron, and bronze materials. Stainless steel is resistant to rust and has excellent properties. Its robust properties make it suitable for a diverse range of industries. Brass is famous for its heat conductivity and corrosion resistance. In comparison, cast iron is adaptable to high-pressure conditions without compromising quality. Bronze is dynamic by bearing extreme conditions with comfort. The best material for industrial steam control valves depends upon the applications.

Steam Control Valve Selection Guide:

Here is a brief steam control valve selection guide.

  • Valve Size:

The sizing of the system where the valve has to operate should match the steam control valve size. Thus, it can handle the steam volume coming out of the source.

  • Valve Material:

The material of the valve is essential to handle the steam temperature. The material of the valve should be able to manage the media flowing across it durably.

  • Flow Control Capabilities:

When selecting a steam control valve, one cannot neglect the precise flow control capabilities. This allows for accurate passage of the steam flow.

  • Reliability and Maintenance:

Consider the maintenance needs of the steam valve. A reliable valve will have consistent performance.

  • Safety Features:

Look for pressure relief mechanisms for steam control valve selection. These features help in protecting equipment when a malfunction occurs.

Inspection Tests on Steam Control Valves:

Inspection tests on steam control valves determine the reliable performance and early detection of faults. You can perform the following tests on parts of the steam control valve.

Inspecting the Valve Body: The inner wall of the body gets affected due to corrosion or abrasive media. It can also happen due to high potential differences across the valve parts. Inspect for the inner wall’s condition and effects of corrosive media on the diaphragm or other factors.
Inspecting the Spool: Some steam control valves have a moveable part: a spool. It can be prone to erosion due to the nature of the media. Care should be taken during the inspection of the spool because of its structure. High pressure difference can cause it to wear, or cavitation can cause wear on its body. Inspect the surface and sealing capacity of the spool while looking for damages.
Inspecting the Rubber Film: Rubber film lies in the actuator and makes its operation smooth. Inspect cracks and wear on the surface of the rubber film.
Inspecting the Valve Seat: The valve seat is the part that faces plenty of media infiltration. Check for the inner surface of the seat, as it may lead to corrosion and degradation of the surface.


Steam control valves are a must for industrial processes. Almost every industry operates steam and needs control over it. The most crucial factor is that your valve should sync with the system. It leads to the best performance and most desirable results. Plumberstar is a wholesale valve supplier specializing in customized valve solutions. They are expert control valve manufacturers in China. Contact their expert team for any problem during valve selection. Consider understanding the above guide on the best valves to handle steam. It will bring ease to the processes.

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