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What Are Directional Control Valves & How Do We Use Them?

Directional control valves are used to control hydraulic oil flow into different paths from one or more sources, ensuring that they follow a specific path. This is usually controlled by a spool inside of the valve chest that mechanically or electrically actuates (moves) to either resist or allow flow. Hence the name – directional control valves.

  3 Types of Directional Control Valves:

  • Hydraulic Check Valves – these are the simplest and the most common form of directional control valve which are regularly used in hydraulic systems. These valves can be used to stop the flow of liquid in one direction, whilst still allowing the free flow of fluid in the opposite direction. These models are also commonly known as non-return valves.
  • Directional Spool Valve - composed of a moving spool which is situated inside the housing of a valve. An actuating force then moves the control spool, which allows the channels within the housing to be connected or separated.
  • Directional Poppet Valve - are fitted into housing bores with a threaded connection, which is why they are commonly referred to as cartridge valves, and can contain a range of seating elements, including balls, poppets and plates.

There are four main power types of directional control valves:

  • Manual – these work with simple levers or paddles where the operator applies force to operate,
  • Mechanical - apply forces by using cams, wheels, rollers, and other mechanisms which means they are subject to wear,
  • Hydraulic – these work at a much higher pressure than the pneumatic counterparts,
  • Solenoid – widely used within the hydraulics industry and they operate using electromechanical solenoids for sliding the spool.

Here at Flowfit, we can provide a diverse range of valves, including hydraulic check valves for a diverse range of systems and applications. For more information, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with our professional team of hydraulic specialists today on 01584 876 033. For more information about the services we offer at Flowfit or for advice from our experts, please don’t hesitate to give the team a call on 01584 879 033 or e-mail us at

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