A46Y PILOT OPERATED SAFETY VALVE (POSV), Material WCB / CF8 (SS304) / CF8M (SS316)
Pilot operated Safety valves (POSV) are used for emergency relief during overpressure events (e.g. a tank gets too hot and the expanding fluid increases the pressure to dangerous levels). The distinction between POSV and conventional safety valve is that pilot valves use system pressure to seal the valve. A conventional safety valve typically uses a spring to hold the disc or piston on seat. The essential parts of a POSV are a pilot valve (or control pilot), a main valve, a pitot tube, the dome, a disc or piston, and a seat. The volume above the piston is called the dome.
POSV are also called PORV (Pilot Operated Relief Valve), POPRV (Pilot Operated Pressure Relief Valve), or POSRV (Pilot Operated Safety Relief Valve), depending on the manufacturer and the application. Technically POPRV is the most generic term, but PORV is often used generically (as in this article) even though it should refer to valves in liquid service.
The pressure is supplied from the upstream side (the system being protected) to the dome often by a small pitot tube. The downstream side is the pipe or open air where the PORV directs its exhaust. The outlet pipe is typically larger than the inlet. 2”x3”, 3”x4”, 4”x6”, 6”x8”, 8x10” are some common sizes.
The upstream pressure tries to push the piston open but it is opposed by that same pressure because the pressure is routed around to the dome above the piston. The area of the piston exposed to pressure is larger in the dome than it is on the upstream side; the result is a net sealing force. F = PA (Force = Pressure * Area)
The pressure from the pilot tube to the dome is routed through the actual control pilot valve. There are many designs but the control pilot is essentially a conventional PRV with the special job of controlling pressure to the main valve dome. When the pilot valve reaches set pressure it opens and releases the pressure from the dome. The piston is then free to open and the main valve exhausts the system fluid. The control pilot opens either to the main valve exhaust pipe or to atmosphere.
Snap Acting: At set pressure the valve snaps to full lift, it can be quite violent on large pipes with significant pressure. The pressure has to drop below the set pressure in order for the piston to reseat (see blowdown in relief valve article).
Modulating: The pilot is designed to open gradually, so that less of the system fluid is lost during each relief event. The piston lifts in proportion to the overpressure. Blowdown is typically short.
STRUCTURE AND PARAMETER
Name of part
50CrVA / Inconel
50CrVA / Inconel
O Type Ring
Smaller package on the larger pipe sizes.
More options for control.
Seals more tightly as the system pressure approaches but does not reach set pressure.
Control pilot can be mounted remotely.
Some designs allow for changes in orifice size within the main valve.
CODES AND STANDARDS
ASME (American Society of Mechanical Engineers) Boiler & Pressure Vessel Code, Section I
ASME (American Society of Mechanical Engineers) Boiler & Pressure Vessel Code, Section VIII, Division 1
API (American Petroleum Institute) Recommended Practice 520 and API Standard 526, API Standard 2000 (low pressure - Storage tank
European standard steam boiler safety valveISO 4126 (harmonized with European Union directives) 
EN 764-7 (former CEN standard, harmonized with European Union directives, replaced with EN ISO 4126-1)
AD Merkblatt (German)
PED 97/23/EC (Pressure Equipment Directive - European Union)
JB/T308-2004 <Valves Code>
GB/T12241-2005 <Safety Valves’ Design, Manufacture and Test>
GB/T12243-2005 <Safety Valves’ Design, Manufacture and Test>
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