You’re reading our next “What is…” blog post. This particular one is about shut off valves. Shut off valves are designed to safely stop or continue the flow of hazardous fluids or external gases. They are used to block compressed air in an industrial automation process or isolate sub-systems when not in use. A shut off valve has many names. Some common names are: lockout valve, cut off valve, a shutdown valve, an emergency shutdown valve, a ball valve, or an exhausting ball valve.
Most often used as a safety-related function, using a shut off valve as part of an air preparation unit can save time and money and is considered best practice. Shut off valves allow for easier servicing of equipment without affecting the rest of the system by quickly stopping air from reaching part of the application in use. Simple to operate, they can be used in the event of risk to safety, equipment failure or in order to carry out maintenance. Some shut off valves can be lockable in the closed position and are tamper-proof with the use of a padlock, while others in the IMI Norgren range meet the lock out, tag out (LOTO) system requirements, where a machine cannot be restarted until repair work is carried out.
A more practical example of a shutoff valve is a water shutoff valve. These are located throughout your home. The most important is the main shutoff valve, which can turn off the water supply to your entire home. This valve is located either in the basement, on an exterior wall of the home, or in an underground box outside the home. In addition, individual fixtures like toilets, sinks, and water heaters also have individual shutoff valves located near them. These valves are useful when plumbing repairs are necessary or when an emergency occurs, so the flow of water can be interrupted quickly and to prevent flooding.
Shutoff valves are always available in two versions: Normally Closed, sometimes abbreviated as NC or Normally Open, abbreviated as NO. Normally Open is generally more common than Normally Closed because the flow of the process is usually not interrupted until it is required to be interrupted. Normally Closed is particularly useful when a subset of a system is only required for a shorter amount of time.
Shutoff valves come in many different sizes and materials, suitable for many different applications. Because the shutoff valve is such a commonly used instrument, there will always be an option to customize according to your specific requirements. Some important choices are: connections, material of the valve, sealing type and type of handle on the valve. If you would like to know more about shutoff valves or any other type of valve or product, contact our experts, and we will be more than happy to help!