Benefits of the Hydraulic and Pneumatic Pilot Valve

Many hydraulic and pneumatic systems use valves for a wide range of purposes. For example, a hydraulic or pneumatic pilot valve can be used like a switch mechanism. Here is more about this valve type and some of the benefits it provides.

What Are Pilot Valves?

Sometimes called relay valves, a hydraulic or pneumatic pilot valve controls how another valve operates. It is different from direct acting valves. A direct acting valve can use a spring to actuate while a pilot valve uses system pressure to keep the valve closed or open. How can system pressure be used as an actuator? Here is an example.

A pressure relief valve is activated by its pilot valve. As long as the pilot valve has the right amount of pressure, it does nothing and keeps the relief valve closed. When pressure increases, it triggers the pilot valve to move and open the pressure relief valve. Both valves can use solenoids. Pilot valves can be used as safety or emergency controls. They can use a simple push-button for disconnects or a dead man switch.


Pilot valves save space because they are small. They can be smaller than pipe sizes used in a hydraulic or vacuum system. You can control these valves in more than one way. It all depends on how you set them up.

A hydraulic or pneumatic pilot valve can be mounted directly atop the valve it controls. However, if you wish to mount it remotely, this is also possible. It gives you more options than with most actuators.


There are some downsides to using hydraulic or pneumatic pilot valve applications. They may cost more than standard actuators. Due to their complexity, they may sometimes fail. However, when you find the right valve source, they help you choose the best valves for your business, and they can create custom valves for you.

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