FAQs

Frequently asked questions about Rotary Valves

What is a rotary valve?

A rotary valve is a mechanical device used to control the flow of bulk materials between two different pressure zones or levels, within in a processing or delivery system. They work by using a rotating mechanism to seal off different sections of a processing system, whilst allowing a controlled flow of materials between them. As the rotor turns, it gradually opens a chamber between two vanes, allows the inlet material to enter and as it closes, forming a rotating pocket of transit material which is isolated from the bulk.

Typically, this will look like a rotor with vanes or blades that rotate, cased within sealed housing to enable the sealing from different sections and prevent air leakage within the flow of material. For this reason, they are often also referred to as rotary airlock valves, or simply airlock valves.

What are the applications of rotary valves?
Rotary valves are commonly used in industries such as food processing, waste handling, pharmaceuticals, chemicals, plastics and more – anywhere where controlled materials handling is essential.

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What factors should I consider when selecting a rotary valve?

Factors to consider when selecting a rotary valve include the characteristics of the material, the volume of material passing through and flow rates, pressure differentials, temperature, and regulatory requirements. You should also consider whether the materials are potentially flammable or explosive, if so we can provide ATEX certification for most of our valves.

Our support page has further information.

Where can I get servicing or spare parts?
We would always recommend using the original / genuine replacement parts which we are happy to supply.
Can rotary valves be used to control water or other liquids?
Yes, rotary or airlock valves can be used to regulate the flow of liquids. However, they are more commonly used for dry materials and gas transfer processes.
How long do rotary valves last?
This depends on a variety of factors such as the type of valve, the materials handled, its usage, the volume or flow rate and so on.  However, a well-maintained rotary valve can be expected to last longer than one which is not.
Can I use with potentially explosive or flammable materials?
Yes – we can provide most of our rotary valves as ATEX certified for the purpose of handling explosive materials.
Where are your rotary valves manufactured.
We don’t manufacture directly but work with manufacturers to get you the best deal. All the manufacturers we work with operate within the EU.
Where can I find the rotary valve specifications?

All the specifications for new rotary valves are listed within the product pages of our site, and the technical specifications available for PDF download. If you are unsure what you need, please do get in touch.
If you are looking to replace an existing worn-out valve let us know the size and serial number and we will be able to source the full specification.

How much do rotary valves typically cost?
Rotary valves vary in specification and therefore price, however they typically start from £1000. Once we understand your requirements, we will cost the valve for your consideration.
How do rotary valves work?
Rotary valves use a rotating mechanism to seal off different sections of a processing system, whilst allowing a controlled flow of materials between them. As the rotor turns, it gradually opens a chamber between two vanes, allows the inlet material to enter and as it closes, forming a rotating pocket of transit material which is isolated from the bulk.
What are the different types of rotary valves?

There are lots of different types of rotary valves, depending on your needs. Selecting the right one is important in order to optimise your output, as well as minimising energy usage, maintenance and wastage. Take a look at our guide, here.

What are the advantages of using rotary valves over alternative options?
Rotary valves are able to handle material reliably, prevent air leakage, maintain pressure differentials and handle a wide range of materials and operating environments. They are known for durability and minimal maintenance requirements and can be adjusted to suit the precise requirements with rotation speeds, rotor and body coatings, seals and so on.
What service and maintenance are required?
Rotary valves should be cleaned and inspected for wear regularly. The bearing should be regularly lubricated along with the drive unit and any worn components replaced, in order to ensure optimal performance and longevity.
What is the typical size and weight of a rotary valve?

Rotary valves start from 150mm upwards but there is great variation in the options available. The technical specifications of each valve we sell are available to review and download within the individual product pages, however please get in touch to discuss your needs further.

Who are Rowan Food and Biomass Engineering?
Rowan Food & Biomass Engineering was established in 2007. We are a family-run business that prides itself on our integrity, experience and deep knowledge of the sectors of animal feed milling, anaerobic digestion, energy from waste, and waste depackaging systems.
We deliver anything from design consultancy to installing full plants, across a wide range of industries and projects with both small independents to large multinational companies.
Through this work, we retain a range of rotary valves in stock for you to take advantage of – we are able to sell directly, quickly and affordably and know just how the products perform being users ourselves.
Do I need to be an existing customer of Rowan Food and Biomass Engineering?
No – you don’t need to have worked with us on wider projects to take advantage of our access and expertise in rotary valves (but we would love it if you do in future!)
I need to replace an existing rotary valve, can you match it?
Yes, if you’re looking to replace a worn-out valve, please let us know the size and serial number and we will match it for you.
Do you ship outside the UK?
Yes we can arrange packing and delivery worldwide for you.

Do you have a question?

Get in touch with our friendly team today if you need support understanding which rotary valve is right for you.

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