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Valve Design Details Give Swagelok Manifolds an Edge

by Taryn Hardes, on Mon, Apr 15, 2013 @ 09:04 AM

The non-rotating ball tip utilizes a ball flat bearing on top of the ball that allows smooth axial rotation and prevents undesirable transverse rotation

  Valve stems

Patented non-rotating ball-tipped
valve stems mean tight seals without
worries of gouging and leaks

ptfe tape Download our catalogue for more

Some Swagelok products are simple, such as tubing. Some are complex, such as regulators. Then there are products such as our manifolds, which look complex but are really rather simple. They are basically blocks of steel with holes in them, controlled by a series of stainless steel needle valves, to control flow. The valves may block pressure, bleed off pressure or equalize pressure, depending on their location. We offer them in designs with two, three and five valves. The two-valve models are for static pressure and liquid level applications. The three- and five-valve models are for differential pressure applications. A three-valve manifold is typically used in liquid measurement, whereas a five-valve manifold is used for gases.

Design & capabilities

The three-valve manifold was introduced way back in 1910, but the design was ahead of its time for the machining technology available. The equalizer valves often leaked, and the resulting measurement error could be costly. By 1960, however, designs and manufacturing capability had improved. That's when the force-balance pressure transmitter was developed, a device that makes sure that pressure is not building up beyond safe levels.  The industry standard now is Emerson's Rosemount 3051 pressure transmitter, and Swagelok manifolds work with it very well. Pressure transmitters aren't cheap. Don't make the mistake of trying to get back some savings by getting a cheap manifold. It's would be like buying an expensive stereo system and then hooking it up to cheap speakers. You won't get the performance that you paid for. Likewise, a good manifold is crucial to top performance.

Swagelok improved the design even more for its manifolds with its ball-tipped needle valves. On any brand of manifold, when you turn the handle on the valve, it pushes the tip into another metal surface to create a seal. With ordinary designs, the tip rotates along with the shaft. As the tip is twisted, it can gouge the seat, creating leak paths. Swagelok came up with the idea of using a nonrotating ball as the tip of the valve. You can keep turning the handle and the stem to create tighter seal, but you will not damage the seat.

Deburr process

Swagelok also pays close attention to cleanliness. When the ports have been drilled out of the manifold, Swagelok uses a special machining process to remove all burrs. You won't have to worry about stray bits of metal damaging your instruments.  

Swagelok has several series of manifolds. You can take a look at individual models, or the whole catalogue, online.


Central & Northern Alberta’s leading fluid handling components supplier.

For 50 years we have provided professional support and an extensive local inventory of Swagelok products. We offer custom solutions, applications support, training, equipment, and tools to help ensure safe and reliable operations.

CONTACT US 780-437-0640

Learn More About Us



Edmonton Valve & Fitting Inc.
4503-93 Street NW
Edmonton AB T6E 5S9
PH: 780.437.0640

Drayton Valve & Fitting Ltd.
5614 - 55 Street
Drayton Valley AB T7A 1S9
PH: 780.542.7988

Fort McMurray Valve & Fitting Ltd. 266 MacKay Crescent
Fort McMurray AB T9H 5C6
PH: 780.790.0640

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