Series 4473 & 4475

Zetco WaterMarked 3-Way T Port Stainless Steel Flanged Ball Valve

4473 & 4475 - Zetco WaterMarked 3-Way T Port Stainless Steel Flanged Ball Valve Lockable

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Three-Way Ball Valve FAQ

A 3-way ball valve is a ball valve with 3 openings, either 1 inlet and 2 outlets, or 2 inlets and 1 outlet, depending on the direction of flow.

It works by turning a handle or activating an actuator (electric ball valve), to rotate the ball in the valve body until the channel cut into the ball (L port or T port) lines up with the valve’s inlets or outlets.

The flow is then directed either 90 degrees in the case of the L port or in several different ways in the case of the T port valve, allowing it to perform a variety of functions including:

  • Shut off the flow completely (L port ball valve only).

  • Mix the flow from two different sources.

  • Divert the flow from one destination to another.

  • Split the flow from one source between two destinations.

  • Block the flow in one direction while allowing it to continue in another.

This versatility makes the 3-way ball valve ideal for use in a variety of different applications including as a diverting valve, shut-off valve, by-pass valve, selection valve or directional valve (L port ball valves) or as a sampling valve, mixing valve, purge valve or uniform flow valve (T port ball valve).
The 2 main types of 3-way ball valves are the L port and the T port.

  • L port - refers to the shape of the channel cut into the valve’s ball (in this case, the shape of a capital L), which changes the direction of the flow by 90 degrees.

  • T port - (shaped like the letter T) not only changes the direction of flow, but can also divide it into different directions, either as a diverter valve (medium flows in one inlet and out two outlets) or as a mixing valve (medium flows in two inlets and out one outlet).

L port valves can direct flow one way or the other or shut it off completely, while T port valves can do everything L port valves can and more, apart from shutting off the flow.

As well as having an L port or T port flow pattern, 3-way ball valves can be further classified by handle orientation (horizontal or vertical) and a number of handle position options (i.e. 2 positions (90 degrees), 3 positions (180 degrees) or 4 positions (270 or 360 degrees).

So how do you choose the 3-way ball valve most suitable for your application? Basically, it comes down to whether you need to shut off the flow at any stage, in which case you should choose an L port configuration or whether you need to be able to mix all three flows, in which case a T port would be the most suitable.
L port and T port refer to the shape of the channel cut into the ball of a 3-way ball valve.

An L port is shaped like the letter L and is able to divert flow 90 degrees to the left or right outlet as it passes through the valve.

A T port is shaped like a capital T and is able to not only divert flow one way or another but also mix flow entering through two separate inlets and direct it out through one single outlet.

A major difference between L port and T port valves is that, while a T port can do more, the one thing it can’t do is shut off the flow. Only an L port can do that, so if you need to use a T port and also shut off the flow, you’ll have to add an additional valve to the opposite branches.

In comparison, neither flow pattern is better than the other. Both are simply made for different uses and 3-way ball valves featuring either port configuration offer a range of benefits including:

  • Cost-effective – control both shutoff and flow paths in a single valve body.

  • Efficient – frictionless opening and closing and less torque needed to turn the valve.

  • Time-saving - maintenance can be performed on-line.

  • Self-cleaning - when the valve lifts from the seat, accumulated debris washes off, so the sealing surface is always clean.

  • Compact design – a simple structure with low volume and less weight.

Yes. Along with waste water treatment, irrigation, heating and cooling, paper and pulp, brewing, mining and food and beverage production, 3-way ball valves are used extensively in the oil and gas industry.

They open and close quickly, seal tightly and produce minimal torque and are designed to control flows of high pressure liquids and gases with minimal drop in pressure.

Ideal for the oil and gas industry, where hazardous chemicals require a secure and fast shutoff, types of industrial 3-way ball valves include:

  • Full welded – with superior quality, stable performance and long service life, these are typically used in long distance natural gas pipelines, central heating pipes and heat exchangers.

  • Trunnion - designed for high pressure conditions and with an anchoring system that allows them to absorb more pressure from the pipeline, preventing excess friction and improving operational lifespan. These are widely used in gas processing and high pressure gas applications such as hydrocarbon processing.

  • Floating - not held in position by a trunnion, but adhering to a stem, which causes the ball to press against the seat and provide a positive seal. Typically made in smaller diameters better suited to low pressure environments, these are widely used in gas applications requiring a guaranteed positive shut off.

Flange Drilling

Flange Drilling Pattern

Unless pre-drilled, all flanged valves include drilling to suit customer requirements.

Zetco can also drill the flanges of a single valve to different specifications, for retrofitting to existing pipework or equipment with non-standard or mismatched drillings.