Diverter Valves – Streamlining Material Flow in Conveying Systems

A conveyance system with several valve types to control material flow

1. Introduction to Diverter Valves

Diverter valves are a critical component of any system that handles or transports materials to multiple destinations. With the ability to divert material flow between two separate channels, diverter valves allow a system to alternate between channels or pause the flow entirely.

If you’ve ever turned the handle on a bathtub to send water from the faucet to the showerhead, you’ve used a diverter valve. The diverter valves used in material handling are heavy-duty industrial versions of those valves.

Carolina Conveying’s extensive collection of diverter valves allows for precise control of materials and seamless diverting capabilities that can meet your material handling requirements.

2. Types of Diverter Valves

2.1 Rotary Diverter Valves

A rotary diverter valve works with a rotating internal slide. Materials enter from the top of the valve and are directed into one of two exit points via the slide. The internal slide is a smooth piece of metal that can switch between two positions, like an ‘X’, to direct materials to the left or the right.

The tight seal that comes from a single piece serving as the internal slide allows rotary diverter valves to be effective in transporting liquid materials like oil. They work well with the high-pressure hydraulic fluids present in heavy machinery.

Routine maintenance should be performed on rotary diverter valves in order to prevent long-term issues. Monthly checks are standard to catch any problems before they develop, but if you notice any slowdowns or leaking you’ll want to inspect it right away.

2.2 Slide Diverter Valves

Slide diverter valves are designed to slide from side to side in order to line material up with the correct passage. With a complete cut-off seal from the plate that stops the flow, slide diverters can stop and move material between different passages.

Slide diverter valves have reduced cross-contamination because they completely shut off access to other passages by sliding over. Material can’t spill over because there’s nowhere for it to leak out, so it simply travels down the new passageway.

Slide diverter valves are ideal for dry bulk material, gravity flow environments, and dense phase pneumatic conveying.

2.3 Plug Diverter Valves

Plug diverter valves are named for the internal plug mechanism that rotates to reroute product. The internal plug rotates 150 degrees and perfectly matches the round ports, which makes a smooth transition when switching the flow of the product.

Designed for pneumatic conveying systems, plug diverter valves have a high-pressure rating and excel at transporting products in dense phase systems. Plug diverters work best on materials with large particles that may otherwise get stuck in a flap-type diverter. In addition, since plug diverters have no rubber seal, abrasive products won’t cause the same wear and tear as on other, rubber-based diverter valves.

Most plug diverter valves have a variety of different actuator options available, including pneumatic rotary actuators, electric rotary actuators, and a manual hand crank.

2.4 Butterfly Diverter Valves

Butterfly diverter valves are designed to control and regulate flow with an internal disk that can ‘flap’ like a butterfly’s wings. The circular disk perfectly matches the diameter of the valve, so that when it is perpendicular to the pipe’s direction it seals the valve.

When the disk is rotated one-quarter turn and is parallel with the pipe’s direction it lets matter pass through freely. Butterfly diverter valves can also be rotated at smaller angles in order to produce limited flow through a smaller aperture.

Butterfly valves are best suited for liquid or gas materials, or liquid-solid mixes. They do well with large material transfers and require less relative space than similarly-sized valves.

3. Key Features and Selection Criteria

When choosing the right diverter valve for your handling system, you need to consider all of the necessary requirements. There are three main factors that go into determining what diverter valve is right for you: material needs, system needs, and control needs.

Material Needs

The properties of the material your system handles will affect what diverter options are available to you. Particle size, flow characteristics, abrasiveness, and temperature sensitivity all take a toll on your diverter valve, which means that you need to select the valve with properties that complement your material needs.

For example, handling abrasive materials means that you’ll want to invest in a diverter valve with wear-resistant components. Likewise, corrosive materials or materials that have specific chemical reactions do best with construction materials like stainless steel, or a valve prepared with a specialty coating. If your materials have poor flow properties, you’ll want a diverter valve that is designed to promote flow with effective handling.

System Needs

Your diverter selection will also depend on what type of performance you expect from your handling system. Flow rate, pressure, and the number of conveying lines all affect the type of diverter valve that would be most effective for your needs.

Diverter valves come in various sizes, construction materials, and sealing options, all of which work better under different circumstances. You’ll also want to be specific about what you want your diverter valve to do: provide straight-through passage, divert to multiple passages at the same time, or divert to multiple passages sequentially.

For example, rotary valves are effective for continuous flow applications, while flap valves divert materials with a minimum drop in pressure. Switching valves are best at redirecting material sequentially and precisely.

Control Needs

Diverter valves can be designed with several different types of actuators. Depending on your system’s needs and power capacity, you may need diverter valves that operate under a variety of different conditions.

The actuator types available are: a pneumatic air cylinder, electric, and manual lever. Choosing automation or manual control is a preference that relies on your system’s operation standards and needs.

4. Installation and Maintenance

Carolina Conveying diverter valves are designed to exact customer specifications. Whether your plug diverter is two inches or ten inches in diameter, you’ll want to make sure that you have the tools ready to safely install your diverter valve.

Here are the key steps for a proper installation:

  • Make sure you have enough space for it. If the valve is going to be in a hard-to-reach location, clear the area to make sure you can access it from all angles.
  • Attach the diverter valve tightly and securely.
  • Check the entire diverter valve for a secure seal.
  • Perform a through inspection of the entire valve area for correct installation and operation.
  • Do a practice run of using the valve and ensure that all is working properly before continuing use.

The key to prompting longevity in your systems is regular maintenance and troubleshooting. Good maintenance involves performing routine inspections on a regular basis. The exact time frame varies depending on your equipment and your system, but generally inspection between a monthly and a yearly basis is recommended.

As a part of these inspections, you’ll want to:

  • Inspect the valve interior for damage
  • Check the shaft support bearings. If they become worn, they’ll need to be replaced.
  • Check the seals for tightness. If they begin to leak, they’ll need to be tightened or replaced.
  • Lubricate the drive components regularly to ensure smooth operation.
  • Clean the valve and its intakes and outtakes to remove any material buildup or residue.

Some common signs of valve problems include vibration, squealing, and jamming. These are symptoms of large particles being pinched in the rotating elements of a valve, and can cause damage to the product as well as the valve. Once you’re aware of the problem, isolate the valve and perform a thorough cleaning, removing any lodged materials. You’ll want to double-check for any worn or failing parts that need replacing, and keep an eye on it once it’s back in use.

If jams or other problems keep happening, it may be an indication that the valve isn’t the best type for your systems’ needs, and you should look into replacing it with a different valve type.

5. Applications of Diverter Valves

5.1 Food Processing

Food processing systems need a way to safely transport food products like coffee beans, corn, sugar, and much more. For all systems that food passes through, they need to make sure the product remains undamaged and safe for consumption at the end.

That’s why Carolina Conveying manufactures diverter valve elements that are safe for prolonged handling of food. Those elements include food-grade rubber, high temperature resistant and abrasion-resistant parts, and secure seals.

Food processing industries can rest assured that their product is securely and sanitarily transported, and focus their attention on maintaining leadership in the industry.

5.2 Agriculture and Grain Handling

Diverter valves excel at handling dry solids, powders, and slurries, which makes them the perfect asset for agricultural and grain handling systems. Slide diverters can precisely control where the material goes without risk of leakage, and plug diverters work well with large particles that might interfere with the operation of other diverter valve types.

No grain elevator can properly run without diverter valves to control product movement, which makes diverter valves an integral part of the agricultural industry.

5.3 Pharmaceutical and Chemical Industries

Just as diverter valves can be manufactured to meet food-safety requirements, they can meet pharmaceutical safety requirements as well. Dry powders are a critical component of the pharmaceutical industry, and rotary and slide diverter valves are both effective at managing them.

Additionally, chemical industries may need to transport abrasive materials that cause premature wear and tear on a transport system. Carolina Conveying can make diverter seals out of a variety of resistant materials, such as cast iron or stainless steel. Plug diverters are well-suited to conveying these more abrasive products, as they don’t possess a rubber seal that is more susceptible to wearing away.

5.4 Mining and Minerals

The mining industry can be tough on its conveyance systems, but Carolina Conveying designs heavy-duty diverters specifically designed to withstand the work. Diverter valves can work with both gravity flow and pressure and vacuum systems, so attaching them to a conveyance system means that minerals and other products can be transported from anywhere and in any direction.

Plug diverters also have standout performance in this industry, due to their heavy-duty design that is made up of only cast iron, cast aluminum, or cast stainless steel. With no rubber flap seals, plug diverters can outlast a normal diverter valve when it comes to conveying abrasive and rough products.

6.Industry Regulations and Compliance

As a leading manufacturer in diverter valve production, Carolina Conveying specializes in providing reliable and durable products that meet your specific industry requirements.

All valves are precisely designed and manufactured to meet the highest standards in the industry in order to ensure optimal performance and lifespan.

We are committed to customer satisfaction, which means that all products are designed to your specific application and requirements. Our engineers will work closely with you to create a custom solution for even the most complex of applications.

Most items in our product range are available in our test lab for running trials to ensure that your needs are met.

7.Innovations in Diverter Valve Technology

The ongoing transformation of the manufacturing industry is called “Industry 4.0”. Industry 4.0 is shorthand for smart manufacturing, or the integration of digital processes and decision-making into the manufacturing process.

Manufacturers are getting connected with the Internet of Things (IoT), a way to track and analyze their data in order to improve systems and processes and become more efficient.

Becoming an industry 4.0 business relies on tracking your system data – for instance, how much product passes through a diverter valve per hour – and then finding ways to optimize your system for maximum efficiency. Integrating Carolina Conveying’s electric actuator diverter valves with IoT technology can take your conveying system into the future.

8.Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

  1. How do I know which diverter valve is right for my needs?
    • To get started, check our blog for advice about selecting diverter valves, or check out the product pages to see what each valve’s optimal performance environment is.
    • If you’re ready to make a decision, talk to our team of experts for assistance in selecting the right diverter valve for your specific needs. We’re happy to help you find the right choice for your conveying system.
  2. Are diverter valves safe for the food and pharmaceutical industries?
    • Yes, Carolina Conveying manufactures diverter valves with food-grade rubber and secure parts for industries that work with food and other consumables.
  3. How often should you inspect diverter valves for damage?
    • About once a month is generally recommended, though you should check right away if there is unusual activity.
  4. How can you tell when your diverter valve is damaged?
    • Common warning signs are unusual noises, valve movement, or products moving slower than usual. Those can all be indicators of a jam or something wrong with the valve. If any of these happens, stop operation and clean and inspect the valve. If problems persist, a part may need to be replaced.


No matter what your diverter valve needs are, Carolina Conveying is here to help. Different types of diverter valves can meet your industry’s needs, whether it’s a slide diverter for grain handling or a plug diverter for mineral handling.

Our products are designed to meet the highest industry standards in order to ensure optimal performance in improved conveying systems. Our engineers will work with you to create a custom solution to your specific needs. With proper care, your diverter valve solution will be long-lived with high-quality performance.

As the diverter valve industry updates to Industry 4.0, we hope that you choose to integrate with the high-quality options that Carolina Conveying can provide.

Check out our product list to see all of the valve types we offer and the strengths and specifications of each. We also manufacture feeders, bag-filling stations, and conveyors to help your system get materials where they need to go.

10.Additional Resources

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