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Title:
ANTI-AIRLOCK VALVE ASSEMBLY
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2015/130620
Kind Code:
A2
Abstract:
A pump, having a pump housing with an impeller arranged therein, features an anti-airlock valve assembly configured with a valve housing having a passageway configured with a vent hole to allow air to bleed out of the pump housing into the atmosphere so liquid can fill the pump housing, rise and engage the impeller in order to get the pump running; and a valve ball arranged in the passageway, the valve ball configured to rest against one part of the passageway so air can pass out of the vent hole, and also configured to be light or buoyant enough to respond to the liquid filling the pump housing, float upwardly and rest against another part of the passageway so as not to allow water to escape readily from the vent hole after the liquid rises to a sufficient level and substantially engages the impeller.

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Inventors:
MOORMANN, Randall H. (10 Canterbury Drive, Georgetown, Massachusetts, 01833, US)
Application Number:
US2015/017177
Publication Date:
September 03, 2015
Filing Date:
February 24, 2015
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
FLOW CONTROL LLC. (100 Cummings Center, Beverly, Massachusetts, 01915, US)
International Classes:
F04D9/00; F04D1/00
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
BARBER, William, J. (Ware, Fressola Maguire & Barber LLP,755 Main Street, P.O. Box 22, Monroe Connecticut, 06468, US)
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Claims:
WE CLAIM:

1 . A pump having a pump housing with an impeller arranged therein, comprising:

an anti-airlock valve assembly configured with

a valve housing having a passageway configured with a vent hole to allow air to bleed out of a chamber of the pump housing into the atmosphere so liquid can fill the pump housing, rise and engage the impeller in order to get the pump running; and

a valve ball arranged in the valve housing, the valve ball configured to rest against one part of the valve housing so air can pass out of the vent hole, and also configured to be light or buoyant enough to respond to the liquid filling the pump housing, float upwardly and rest against another part of the valve housing so as not to allow water to escape readily from the vent hole after the liquid rises to a sufficient level and substantially engages the impeller.

2. A pump according to claim 1 , wherein the anti-airlock valve assembly is configured in, or forms an integral part of, the pump housing.

3. A pump according to claim 1 , wherein the anti-airlock valve assembly is configured on the discharge side of the pump.

4. A pump according to claim 1 , wherein the anti-airlock valve assembly is configured on the suction side of the pump, including forming part of a suction chamber of the pump.

5. A pump according to claim 1 , wherein the valve housing comprises:

an upper valve seat configured with the vent hole; and

a lower valve seat configured to contain the valve ball in the valve housing and allow air to bleed out of the pump housing into the atmosphere via the vent hole.

6. A pump according to claim 5, wherein the upper valve seat comprises a frustoconical wall configured to form part of the passageway.

7. A pump according to claim 6, wherein the frustoconical wall comprises one end configured with a wide opening dimensioned to be larger in diameter than the valve ball; and

another end configured with the vent hole dimensioned to be smaller in diameter than the valve ball,

so that when the valve ball floats upwardly and seals against part of the frustoconical wall, water cannot escape readily from the vent hole after the liquid rises to the sufficient level and substantially engages the impeller.

8. A pump according to claim 1 , wherein the pump comprises an outlet nozzle having a backflow preventer assembly coupled thereto with a duckbill-type check valve arranged therein to allow only liquid flow in only one direction.

9. A pump according to claim 5, wherein the valve ball is configured to respond to a suction discharge pressure once the pump is running and seal against the lower valve seat in order to prevent air from passing from the atmosphere into a suction discharge chamber of the pump housing.

Description:
ANTI-AIRLOCK VALVE ASSEMBLY

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1 . Field of the Invention

This invention relates to a pump; and more particularly, relates to a centrifugal pump, e.g., including a bilge pump.

2. Description of Related Art

A centrifugal pump cannot begin pumping water until its impeller is immersed in water. In the operation of the centrifugal pump, there are cases in which the impeller is prevented from engaging any water by air entrapped in the pump's housing or body. This situation is known as air lock and is a problem in the art. In view of this, there is a need for a way to prevent air lock, e.g., in centrifugal pumps.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

To overcome this air lock condition, the pump must release this entrapped air, the air must be allowed to "bleed" out to the atmosphere allowing the water to rise and engage the impeller. By way of example, a related patent application serial no. 14/193,269 (91 1 -17.31 -1 //M-RLE-X0007), filed on 28 February 2014, which discloses a technique for solving the aforementioned air lock problem, is assigned to the assignee of the present application, and is incorporated by reference in its entirety. See also patent application serial no. 13/917,970, (91 1 -17.28-2//M-RLE- X0005), filed 14 June 2013, which discloses another technique for solving the aforementioned air lock problem, is also assigned to the assignee of the present application, and which is also incorporated by reference in its entirety. The instant application builds on the techniques set forth in the

aforementioned related applications.

According to some embodiments, the present invention may take the form of a pump having a pump housing with an impeller arranged therein, featuring an anti- airlock valve or valve assembly configured with a valve housing in combination with a valve ball. The valve housing may be configured with a passageway having a vent hole to allow air to bleed out of a chamber of the pump housing into the atmosphere so liquid can fill the pump housing, rise and engage the impeller in order to get the pump running. The valve ball may be arranged in the valve housing, configured to rest against one part of the valve housing so air can pass out of the vent hole, and also configured to be light or buoyant enough to respond to the liquid filling the pump housing, float upwardly and rest against another part of the valve housing so as not to allow water to escape readily from the vent hole after the liquid rises to a sufficient level and substantially engages the impeller.

According to some embodiments, the present invention may also include one or more of the following features:

The anti-airlock valve assembly may be configured in, or form an integral part of, the pump housing.

The anti-airlock valve assembly may be configured on the discharge side of the pump, e.g., including forming part of a discharge chamber of the pump.

The anti-airlock valve assembly may be configured on the suction side of the pump, e.g., including forming part of a suction chamber of the pump.

The valve housing may include an upper valve seat configured with the vent hole; and a lower valve seat configured to contain the valve ball in the valve housing and allow air to bleed out of the pump housing into the atmosphere via the vent hole. The upper valve seat may include a frustoconical wall configured to form part of the passageway.

The frustoconical wall may include one end configured with a wide opening dimensioned to be larger in diameter than the valve ball; and another end configured with the vent hole dimensioned to be smaller in diameter than the valve ball, so that when the valve ball floats upwardly and seals against part of the frustoconical wall, water cannot escape readily from the vent hole after the liquid rises to the sufficient level and substantially engages the impeller.

The valve ball may be configured to respond to a suction discharge pressure once the pump is running and seal against the lower valve seat in order to prevent air from passing from the atmosphere into a suction discharge chamber of the pump housing.

The pump may be configured as a centrifugal pump, e.g., for use as a bilge pump, including where the bilge pump has an outlet nozzle having a backflow preventer assembly coupled thereto with a duckbill-type check valve arranged therein to allow only liquid flow in only one direction, consistent with that disclosed in patent application serial no. 14/193,324 (91 1 -17.32-1 //M-RLE-X0008), filed on 28 February 2014, and incorporated by reference in its entirety.

These and other features, aspects, and advantages of embodiments of the invention will become apparent with reference to the following description in conjunction with the accompanying drawing. It is to be understood, however, that the drawing is designed solely for the purposes of illustration and not as a definition of the limits of the invention. BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING

The drawing, which is not necessarily to scale, include the following Figures: Figure 1 a is a diagram of a centrifugal pump equipped with a discharge type anti-lock valve or valve assembly, according to some embodiments of the present invention.

Figure 1 b is a more detailed view of the discharge type anti-lock valve of the centrifugal pump in Figure 1 a.

Figure 2a is a diagram of a centrifugal pump equipped with a suction type anti-lock valve or valve assembly, according to some embodiments of the present invention.

Figure 2b is a more detailed view of the suction type anti-lock valve of the centrifugal pump in Figure 2a.

In the following description of the exemplary embodiment, reference is made to the accompanying drawing, which form a part hereof, and in which is shown by way of illustration of an embodiment in which the invention may be practiced. It is to be understood that other embodiments may be utilized, as structural and operational changes may be made without departing from the scope of the present invention. DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

To overcome the aforementioned air lock problem, the pump must be configured to release the entrapped air in the pump housing. In effect, the air must be allowed to "bleed" out to the atmosphere surrounding the pump allowing the water to rise and engage the impeller. The anti-airlock valve assemblies disclosed herein allow this release of the entrapped air to occur. By way of example, Figures 1 a and 2a show the present invention in the form of a pump generally indicated as 10, 10' having the pump housing B with the impeller A arranged therein. The pump 10, 10' may be configured with an anti-airlock valve (also known as an anti-airlock valve assembly) generally indicated as D, D' in

Figures 1 a and 2a, each configured with a valve housing generally indicated as 12, 12' in combination with a valve ball G, H as shown in Figures 1 b and 2b. The valve housing 12, 12' may be configured with a passageway 14, 14' having a vent hole 16 to allow air to bleed out of a chamber 1 1 of the pump housing B into the atmosphere surrounding the pump so liquid can fill the pump housing B, rise and engage the impeller A in order to get the pump 10, 10' running. The valve ball G, H may be arranged in the valve housing 12, 12', configured to rest against a lower part of the valve housing 12, 12' so air can pass out of the vent hole 16, and also configured to be light or buoyant enough to respond to the liquid filling the pump housing B, float upwardly and rest against an upper part of the valve housing 12, 12' so as not to allow water to escape readily from the vent hole 16 after the liquid rises to a sufficient level and substantially engages the impeller A. By way of example, in operation pressurized air in the chamber 1 1 may cause the valve ball G, H to lift so as to enable the air to pass around the valve ball G, H, through the passageway 14, 14' of the valve D, D', and out the vent hole 16 to the atmosphere surrounding the pump 10, 10'.

By way of example, the valve housing 12, 12' may be configured with an upper valve seat 20, 20' configured with the vent hole 16; and a lower valve seat 22, 22' configured to contain the valve ball G, H in the valve housing 12, 12' and allow air to bleed out of the chamber of the pump housing B into the atmosphere via the vent hole 16, consistent with that shown in Figures 1 b, 2b. Consistent with that shown in Figure 1 b, the upper valve seat 20 may include a frustoconical wall 24 configured to form one part of the passageway 14, and the lower valve seat 22 may include a frustoconical wall 26 also configured to form another part of the passageway 14. The frustoconical wall 24 may include one end 24a configured with a wide opening dimensioned to be larger in diameter than the valve ball G; and another end 24b configured with the vent hole 16 dimensioned to be smaller in diameter than the valve ball G, so that when the valve ball G floats upwardly and seals against part of the frustoconical wall 24, water cannot escape readily from the vent hole 16 after the liquid rises to the sufficient level and

substantially engages the impeller A. The frustoconical wall 26 has an end 26a configured with an opening dimensioned to be smaller in diameter than the valve ball G to prevent the valve ball G from escaping the valve housing 12.

Consistent with that shown in Figure 2b, the upper valve seat 20' may include a wall 28 configured to form one part of the passageway 14', and the lower valve seat 22' may include a frustoconical wall 30 configured to form another part of the passageway 14'. The upper valve seat 20' and the lower valve seat 22' are configured with corresponding openings dimensioned to allow the air out of the valve housing 12' and keep the valve ball H in the valve housing 12', similar to that set forth above in relation to Figure 1 b.

In particular, Figure 1 a shows the pump 10 in the form of a centrifugal pump equipped with a discharge type anti-airlock valve C located on the pump's discharge E. When the pump 10 is activated, the impeller A causes the air pressure to rise in the pump's discharge chamber 1 1 . This pressurized air escapes through the vent hole 16 in the valve D and water begins to fill the pump chamber 1 1 . Once the impeller A is adequately submerged in the rising water, it will begin to push water through the pump 10 and out the pump discharge E. With water being pushed through the pump 10, the valve ball G is forcibly pressed against the top of the valve D creating a seal which prevents water from escaping out the vent hole 16. See Figure 1 b for an enlarged and more detailed view of the discharge anti-airlock valve design shown in Figure 1 a.

In comparison, Figure 2a shows the pump 10' in the form of a low profile centrifugal pump having the valve D' located at the pump's intake F. This pump configuration is basically useful when the central axis of the pump 10' is parallel to the plane of the surface of the water to be pumped. In this situation, the air is allowed to bleed out due to increased pressure of the air in the intake chamber 1 1 ' from the turning of the impeller A. Once water is flowing, this intake area is at a negative pressure relative to the atmosphere surrounding the pump 10' and the valve ball H is forced inwards to the bottom of the valve D' creating a seal. See Figure 2b for a detailed view of the intake anti-airlock valve design.

In effect, the present invention provides anti-airlock valve assembly in two different forms, e.g., including discharge and suction types. In each type, the anti- airlock valve assembly includes the valve housing 12, 12' having the upper valve seat 20, 20' for the valve ball G, H to set under the water pressure preventing any water to escape through the vent hole 16. In each type, the anti-airlock valve assembly also includes the valve ball G, H that is constructed light enough to allow air to escape yet will easily be forced upward (or downward in the case of the intake valve) to seat against the upper valve housing seat 20, 20' not allowing water to escape readily.

According to some embodiments, a pump housing receptacle may be configured for receiving the valve housing 12, 12', including where it is an integral part of the pump 10, 10', has suitable mating, and also has a diameter and dimensioning for allowing the valve housing 12, 12' to be securely held to the pump housing B.

The lower valve ball seat 22, 22' is integral to the overall geometry and valve configuration by preventing the valve ball G, H from escaping yet allowing air to escape through the vent hole 16 in the pump housing outlet.

Pump, like that shown in Figures 1 a and 2a, may also include, e.g., other parts, elements, components, or circuits that do not form part of the underlying invention, including a motor, diaphragm pumping components, pressure transducers, wiring for coupling the motor to a control circuit, and are thus not identified and described in detail herein.

Moreover, pumps having motors and impeller arranged or configured thereon are known in the art, and the scope of the invention is not intended to be limited to any particular type or kind thereof either now known or later developed in the future.

See also another related patent application serial no. 14/193,324 (91 1 -17.32-

1 //M-RLE-X0008), filed on 28 February 2014, showing the same pump as that shown in Figures 1 a and 1 b herein, which discloses a technique for using a duckbill-type check valve for solving a backflow problem, is assigned to the assignee of the present application, and is incorporated by reference in its entirety.

Possible Applications:

Possible applications are envisioned to include any type or kind of pump or rotary equipment that may be submerged and contain trapped air, e.g., in its housing or impeller housing, including but not limited to centrifugal pumps or other types or kinds of submersible pumps either now known or later developed in the future, including bilge pumps or utility pumps..

Scope of the Invention

Although described in the context of particular embodiments, it will be apparent to those skilled in the art that a number of modifications and various changes to these teachings may occur. Thus, while the invention has been particularly shown and described with respect to one or more preferred embodiments thereof, it will be understood by those skilled in the art that certain modifications or changes, in form and shape, may be made therein without departing from the scope and spirit of the invention as set forth above.