If you’re working with high-pressure gas or liquid and need to regulate the pressure down to safer levels, choosing the right pressure regulator for your needs can be tricky. To help you get it right, we’ve compiled this guide on choosing the right pressure regulator, whether you’re dealing with medical gases or welding equipment, medical gases or hydraulics, etc., and what features to pay attention to when making your purchase decision.
What is a pressure regulator? Pressure regulators are one of those pieces of equipment that you might not think about until they fail, but they can make a big difference in how your systems perform. If a pressure regulator doesn’t do its job properly, it could lead to: A system running improperly or, worse, being damaged because it runs at too high or too low a pressure; Overheating and possibly damaging pumps; The loss of expensive fluids such as steam, oil or other industrial fluids.
Why choose an automatic pressure regulator? While manual pressure regulators can provide pressure control if your application is simple enough, automatic pressure regulators will meet your needs more reliably. These pressure regulators have built-in safety devices that prevent overpressure or underpressure conditions. The main purpose of a pressure regulator is to maintain an accurate and consistent pressure at its output connection. This is important because most industrial processes require precise pressure control.
Spring relief pressure regulators have a simple design, typically a spring-loaded piston. When no pressure is applied, they close off and only allow gas to flow through when they are fully open. When positive pressure is applied, they will open up more and more. However, as pressure increases above 8 bar (or 10 bar in some cases), it becomes difficult for them to continue opening because of their spring load. The most common applications for pressure regulators include gas compressors, gas turbines, storage tanks, and processing plants. More complex applications include rocket engines and nuclear reactors. Our regulators are used in over 150 countries across various applications, including oil & gas production, refining, chemical processing, petrochemical plants, refineries, and various industrial processes.
There are different types of regulators. As a general rule, regulators can be broken down into four categories. First, they can either be on-off or modulating. Second, they come in linear and logarithmic variants. Third, they can either have high or low-pressure adjustments – low here, below 500 psi, and high above that point. Finally, there are miniature (or micro) regulators which should only be used when space is an issue. You’ll most likely want a linear regulator with low-pressure adjustment. It doesn’t matter if it’s an on-off or modulating type; just make sure it has low-pressure adjustment. This will give you more precise control over your output pressures while still providing some protection against overpressure events such as spikes from welding operations.
In other words, don’t use an on/off regulator with high-pressure adjustment unless you absolutely need to do so!