Counterbalance valves can be compared to elevator counterweights. A heavy elevator car is tough for a motor to start and stop on its own.
Without a counterweight, raising or lowering the car is tough! The motor and drawworks have a hard time starting and controlling the load.
Adding a counterweight to the same elevator system makes a world of difference! The counterweight removes much of the effort from raising and lowering the loaded car.
Adding a counterweight makes raising and lowering the elevator car easier and safer.
A counterbalance valve works in a similar way as an elevator counterweight. Controlling vertical loads using a check valve based load lock is only useful for low flow applications.
If there is a considerable stroke length or if the cylinder is supporting a substantial mass, the velocity of the cylinder may be excessive and the motion may be jerky and inconsistent. The force of gravity will cause the rod of a heavily loaded cylinder to run ahead of the fluid supply.
This will cause a drop in pressure on the inlet port of the cylinder to the point where the check valve can no longer be piloted open. At this point, fluid leaving the cylinder will force the check valve closed.
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