Flow control valves can serve a number of different functions within a hydraulic flow system depending on the specific type that is used. One of the most common uses of a flow control valve is to regulate the speed of motors or cylinders within the system. This function is possible due to the capability of a flow control valve to affect the rate of energy transfer at any given point in a system by impacting the flow rate.
A control valve is a valve used to control fluid flow by varying the size of the flow passage as directed by a signal from a controller. This enables the direct control of flow rate and the consequential control of process quantities such as pressure, temperature, and liquid level. In automatic control terminology, a control valve is termed a "final control element".