Counterbalance Valve Application

A counterbalance valve (Fig. 1.6) is applied to create a back pressure or cushioning pressure on the underside of a vertically moving piston to prevent the suspended load from free falling because of gravity while it is still being lowered.

Valve Operation (Lowering)
The pressure setting on the counterbalance valve is set slightly higher than the pressure required to prevent the load from free falling. Due to this back pressure in line A, the actuator piston must force down when the load is being lowered. This causes the pressure in line A to increase, which raises the spring-opposed spool, thus providing a flow path to discharge the exhaust flow from line A to the DCV and then to the tank. The spring-controlled discharge orifice maintains back pressure in line A during the entire downward piston stroke.

Valve Operation (Lifting)
Asthe valve is normally closed, flow in the reverse direction (from port B to port A) cannot occur without a reverse free-flow check valve. When the load is raised again, the internal check valve opens to permit flow for the retraction of the actuator.

Valve Operation (Suspension)
When the valve is held in suspension, the valve remains closed. Therefore, its pressure setting must be slightly higher than the pressure caused by the load. Spool valves tend to leak internally under pressure. This makes it advisable to use a pilot-operated check valve in addition to the counterbalance valve if a load must be held in suspension for a prolonged time.

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