Free cookie consent management tool by TermsFeed

FREE UK delivery on orders over £250 + VAT


Great customer service


Trade account available


Market Leader in Everything Hydraulic

Everything You Need To Know About Pilot-Controlled Hydraulic Cartridge Valves

Hydraulic cartridge valves are an essential component of most hydraulic systems. Without these pilot-controlled valves, it would be practically impossible to control the flow of hydraulic fluid through a system with anywhere near the reliability and speed that these systems demand.

These pilot-controlled cartridge valves are extremely versatile, with both direct acting and pilot operated models available. They are generally directional sequence valves, simply because they are not designed for bi-stability. That means they will module in terms of flow when the pilot pressure remains close to the ideal set point.

What Applications Will Hydraulic Cartridge Valves Play In Larger Hydraulic Systems?

Pilot-controlled hydraulic cartridge valves can be used individually or as part of a control interlock to operate other valves as well. Just some of the valves that they can work in conjunction or tandem with include:

  • Pilot-operated check valves,
  • Ventable relief valves,
  • Sequence,
  • Reducing,
  • Relieving,
  • Unloading valves.

When required, these components can also be used to shift larger pilot-operated directional valves or other essential logic element in the system.

There are a range of different hydraulic cartridge valves available, including both 2-way and 3-way cartridges.

What Are 2-Way Cartridges?

All 2-way hydraulic cartridge valves will use their first port as the piloting port; with port 2 normally open to port 3. When the first port is actuated by the pilot, the connection between 2 and 3 will then be severed, cutting off the flow. There are models available which work inversely, depending on your hydraulic system’s requirements.

There are several different kinds of 2-way cartridges, including both normally-closed and normally-open variants.

  • Open 2-way, three port cartridges – These are regularly used for unloading functions in the absence of a remote signal indicating the system pressure.
  • Open 2-way, four port cartridges – These are most commonly used for blocking functions following a predetermined remote pressurisation signal.
  • Closed 2-way, three port cartridges – These components are used for unloading functions based on a remote pressure indication.
  • Closed 2-way, four port cartridges – Primarily used for blocking services in the absence of a remote pressure signal.

What Are 3-Way Cartridges?

All 3-way pilot controlled cartridges use port 1 as the piloting port, in the same way as 2-way cartridges. In most cartridges, it can also be used as one of the working ports as well. The design of these components allows a range of port openings and closings, enabling you to customise your hydraulic fluid’s flow based on your specific needs.

Some typical applications for 3-way cartridges include:

  • Controlling the piloting of other pilot-operated directional valves.
  • Controlling the pressure release of spring-applied brakes.

Reliable Hydraulic Cartridge Valves, From Flowfit Online

Here at Flowfit Online, we are able to provide a range of different hydraulic features and components to ensure that your hydraulic system can work as intended and offer a long-lasting and reliable service. Without the best hydraulic cartridge valves, you won’t be able to control your system as well as you might need to and ensure that your hydraulic fluid reaches the parts of your system that it needs to, at the right amount.

If you’re looking for reliable hydraulic cartridge valves, don’t hesitate to browse our great range of specialised products today. If you have any questions or concerns, get in touch with our team on 01584 876 033 and we’ll do our best to answer any questions you might have.

Enjoyed this article? Share on social!
VK WhatsApp Telegram

The total one-stop supplier for hydraulic components & systems

Get in touch

find us

find us

Parys Road

call us




Start Chat

Request a product

Request a product or part

* Required Fields
Back To Top