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Title:
BREAKAWAY ASSEMBLY WITH RELIEF VALVE
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2014/149721
Kind Code:
A4
Abstract:
A breakaway assembly including a first connector and a second connector that is releasably coupleable to the first connector. The assembly is movable between a first configuration in which the first and second connectors are coupled and together define a fluid path through which fluid is flowable, and a second configuration in which the first and second connectors are axially separated. The assembly is configured to move from the first configuration to the second configuration when a sufficient separation force is applied to the assembly, and to be moved from the second configuration to the first configuration when a sufficient connecting force is applied to the assembly.

Inventors:
NANAJI, Seifollah, S. (6012 Countless Stars Run, Clarksville, MD, 21029, US)
Application Number:
US2014/020534
Publication Date:
January 15, 2015
Filing Date:
March 05, 2014
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
OPW FUELING COMPONENTS INC. (9393 Princeton-glendale Road, Hamilton, OH, 45011, US)
NANAJI, Seifollah, S. (6012 Countless Stars Run, Clarksville, MD, 21029, US)
International Classes:
F16L37/36
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
ELLEMAN, Steven, J. et al. (Thompson Hine LLP, 10050 Innovation DriveSuite 40, Dayton OH, 45342-4934, US)
Download PDF:
Claims:
AMENDED CLAIMS

received by the International Bureau on 21 October 2014 (21.10.2014)

1. A breakaway assembly comprising:

a first connector;

a second connector that is releasably coupleable to said first connector, wherein said assembly is movable between a first configuration in which said first and second connectors are coupled and together define a fluid path through which fluid is flowable, and a second configuration in which said first and second connectors are axially separated, wherein said assembly is configured to move from said first configuration to said second configuration when a sufficient separation force is applied to said assembly, and wherein said assembly is configured to be moved from said second configuration to said first configuration when a sufficient connecting force is applied to said assembly;

a closure valve positioned in one of said first or second connectors, wherein said closure valve is configured to be in an open position when said assembly is in said first configuration to allow fluid to flow therethrough, and to be in a closed position when said assembly is in said second configuration to generally block the flow of fluid therethrough; and

a bleed valve configured to allow at least some fluid trapped by said closure valve to escape to reduce a pressure of said fluid trapped by said closure valve.

2. The assembly of claim 1 wherein said bleed valve is configured to be

automatically opened to allow at least some fluid trapped by said closure valve to escape as said assembly is moved from said second configuration to said first configuration but before said closure valve is moved to said open position.

3. The assembly of claim 1 wherein said bleed valve is configured to allow fluid to flow therethrough in order to allow fluid trapped by said closure valve to escape.

4. The assembly of claim 1 wherein said bleed valve is separately actuable relative to said closure valve.

5. The assembly of claim 1 wherein said bleed valve is concentrically positioned in said closure valve.

6. The assembly of claim 1 wherein said bleed valve is spring biased to a closed position and is positioned on one of said first or second connectors, and wherein the other one of said first or second connectors includes a projection configured to engage said bleed valve and open said bleed valve as said assembly is moved from said second configuration to said first configuration.

7. The assembly of claim 1 wherein said bleed valve is directly manually operable.

8. The assembly of claim 1 wherein said bleed valve is positioned in an upstream one of said connectors with respect to the direction of fluid flow, and wherein pressurized fluid is trapped by said closure valve.

9. The assembly of claim 8 wherein said bleed valve is has a smaller surface area exposed to pressurized fluid in said assembly than said closure valve.

10. The assembly of claim 1 wherein said bleed valve is openable with a lesser,. force than a force required to open said closure valve.

1 1. The assembly of claim 1 wherein said assembly is configured to be manually movable from said second configuration to said first configuration.

12. The assembly of claim 1 wherein said assembly is configurable in a third configuration in which said closure valve is in said open position and said first and second connectors are not securely coupled, and wherein said assembly is arranged such that said assembly must be configured in said third configuration at least temporarily as said assembly is moved from said second configuration to said second configuration, and wherein said bleed valve is configured to allow fluid to flow therethrough as said assembly is moved from said first configuration to said third configuration but before said assembly is in said third configuration.

13. The assembly of claim 1 wherein said assembly is configured to move from said second configuration to said first configuration by first axially moving said first and second connectors together until they engage each other, and then rotating at least one of said first and second connectors relative to the other.

14. The assembly of claim 1 wherein said assembly is reconnectable such that said assembly is movable between said first and second configurations without having to replace any components thereof.

15. The assembly of claim 1 wherein said first and second connectors are configured to be mechanically coupled together by a coupling mechanism.

16. The assembly of claim 15 wherein said coupling mechanism includes an angled surface on said first connector and an angled surface on said second connector, and wherein said angled surfaces are configured to frictionally engage each other to retain said assembly in said first configuration until said sufficient separation force is applied to said assembly.

17. The assembly of claim 16 wherein each angled surface extends discontinuously around the associated connector.

18. The assembly of claim 16 wherein said coupling mechanism includes a plurality of spaced apart angled surfaces, each such angled surface of one of said connectors being carried on an associated flange that is configured to be deflected radially outwardly upon the application of said sufficient separation force to allow said assembly to be moved from said first configuration to said second configuration.

19. The assembly of claim 18 wherein each flange is coupled to said one of said connectors, and wherein the other one of said connectors includes a set of axially-extending grooves, and wherein said assembly is configured to move from said second configuration to said first configuration by inserting said flanges into said grooves, and then rotating at least one of said first or second connectors relative to the other one to cause said angled surfaces of said first and second connectors to engage each other.

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20. The assembly of claim 1 wherein said closure valve includes a poppet positioned in said one of said first or second connectors, said poppet being spring biased to said closed position, and wherein the other one of said first or second connectors includes an extension which engages said poppet to retain said poppet in said open position when said assembly is in said first configuration.

21. The assembly of claim 1 wherein one of said first and second connectors is fluidly coupled to a fuel dispensing nozzle for dispensing fuel into an automobile fuel tank, and wherein the other one of said first and second connectors is fluidly coupled to a fuel pump.

22. A breakaway assembly comprising:

a first connector;

a second connector releasably coupleable to said first connector, wherein said assembly is movable between a first configuration in which said first and second connectors are releasably coupled and together define a fluid path through which fluid is flowable, and a second configuration in which said first and second connectors are axially separated and not coupled together, wherein said assembly is configured to move from said first configuration to said second configuration when a sufficient separation force is applied to said assembly;

a closure valve positioned in one of said first or second connectors, wherein said closure valve is configured to be in an open position when said assembly is in said first configuration to allow fluid to flow therethrough, and to move to a closed position when said assembly moves to said second configuration to generally block the flow of fluid therethrough; and

a valve bleed arrangement configured to allow fluid to flow through or bypass said closure valve to reduce pressure and aid in moving said assembly to said first configuration.

23. A method for connecting a breakaway assembly comprising:

accessing a breakaway assembly including a first connector and a second connector that is releasably coupleable to said first connector, wherein said assembly is

39 movable between a first configuration in which said first and second connectors are coupled and together define a fluid path through which fluid is flowable, and a second configuration in which said first and second connectors are axially separated, wherein said assembly is configured to move from said first configuration to said second configuration when a sufficient separation force is applied to said assembly, and wherein said assembly is configured to be moved from said second configuration to said first configuration when properly positioned and a sufficient connecting force is applied to said assembly, the assembly including a closure valve positioned in one of said first or second connectors, wherein said closure valve is configured to be in an open position when said assembly is in said first configuration to allow fluid to flow therethrough, and to be in a closed position when said assembly is in said second configuration to generally block the flow of fluid therethrough, the assembly further including a bleed valve; and

bringing said first and second connectors together to cause said bleed valve to allow fluid trapped by said closure valve to escape as said assembly is moved from said second configuration to said first configuration.

24. The method of claim 23 wherein said bringing together step reduces a pressure of fluid trapped by said closure valve to increase ease of moving said assembly from said second configuration to said first configuration, and wherein the method further includes applying a connecting force to said assembly to cause said assembly to move from said second configuration to said first configuration.

25. A breakaway assembly comprising:

a first connector; and

a second connector that is releasably coupleable to said first connector; and a valve positioned in one of said first or second connectors, wherein said assembly is configurable in first configuration in which said first and second connectors are coupled together and said valve is in an open position to allow fluid to flow therethrough, and a second configuration in which said first and second connectors are not coupled together and said valve is in a closed position to generally block to flow of fluid

therethrough, wherein said assembly is configured to move from said first configuration to said second configuration when a sufficient separation force is applied to said assembly,

40 and wherein said assembly is configured such that in order to move said assembly from said second configuration to said first configuration at least part of one of said first or second connectors is aligned relative to the other one of said first or second connectors and then inserted into the other one of said first or second connectors, and at least one of said first or second connectors is then rotated relative to the other;

wherein at least one of said first or second connectors includes alignment indicia positioned to cue a user as to at least one of said alignment or insertion; and

wherein at least one of said first or second connectors includes rotational indicia which cues a user as to said rotation.

26. The assembly of claim 25 wherein at least one of said first or second connectors includes locking indicia which cues a user that the assembly is in said first configuration.

27. The assembly of claim 26 wherein said locking indicia includes an image of a lock.

28. The assembly of claim 25 wherein said alignment indicia includes an arrow showing where said at least part of said at least one of said first or second connectors should be inserted into the other one of said first or second connectors.

29. The assembly of claim 25 wherein said rotational indicia includes an arrow showing a user in which direction said at least one of said first or second connectors should be rotated relative to the other.

30. The assembly of claim 25 further including ordered indicia which show a user the order of operations required to move the assembly from the second configuration to the first configuration.

31. The assembly of claim 30 wherein at least one of said first or second connectors includes locking indicia which cues a user that the assembly is the first configuration, and wherein the assembly includes ordered indicia associated with said

41 locking indicia, and wherein the ordered indicia associated with the locking indicia is visible, when said first and second connector are engaged, only when the assembly is in the first configuration.

32. The assembly of claim 31 wherein the ordered indicia associated with said locking indicia is located on said first connector, and wherein said second connector includes an opening formed therethrough, and wherein said opening is aligned with said ordered indicia associated with said locking indicia when said assembly is in the first configuration such that said ordered indicia associated with said locking indicia is visible through said opening.

33. The assembly of claim 25 wherein said assembly is configurable in a third configuration in which said valve is in said open position and said first and second connectors engage each other but not securely coupled, and wherein said assembly must be configured in said third configuration at least temporarily as said assembly is moved from said second configuration to said first configuration.

34. The assembly of claim 33 further including indicia associated with said alignment indicia, and wherein said indicia associated with said alignment indicia is visible, when said first and second connector are engaged, only when the assembly is in the third configuration.

35. The assembly of claim 34 wherein the indicia associated with said alignment indicia is located on said first connector, and wherein said second connector includes an opening formed therethrough, and wherein said opening is aligned with said indicia associated with said alignment when said assembly is in the third configuration such that said indicia associated with said alignment indicia is visible through said opening.

36. The assembly of claim 25 wherein said at least part of one of said first or second connectors is an axially-extending tab configured to be receive in a groove in said other one of said first or second connectors.

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37. A method for using a breakaway assembly comprising:

accessing a breakaway assembly including a first connector, a second connector that is releasably coupleable to said first connector, and a valve positioned in one of said first or second connectors, wherein said assembly is configurable in first configuration in which said first and second connectors are coupled together and said valve is in an open position to allow fluid to flow therethrough, a second configuration in which said first and second connectors are not coupled together and said valve is in a closed position to generally block to flow of fluid therethrough, wherein said assembly is configured to move from said first configuration to said second configuration when a sufficient separation force is applied to said assembly;

with said assembly in said second configuration, aligning at least part of one of said first or second connectors relative to the other one of said first or second

connectors, wherein at least one of said first or second connectors includes alignment indicia positioned to cue a user as said alignment; and

after said aligning step, rotating at least one of said first or second connectors relative to the other to thereby move said breakaway assembly to said first configuration, wherein at least one of said first or second connectors includes rotational indicia which cues a user as to said rotation.

38. A breakaway assembly comprising:

a first connector;

a second connector;

a coupling mechanism configured to releasably couple said first and second connectors;

a valve positioned in one of said first or second connectors; wherein said assembly is configurable in first configuration in which said first and second connectors are coupled by said coupling mechanism and said valve is in an open position to allow fluid to flow therethrough, a second configuration in which said first and second connectors are not coupled together by said coupling mechanism and said valve is in a closed position to generally block to flow of fluid therethrough, and a third configuration in which said first and second connectors are not coupled by said coupling mechanism and said valve is in said open position, wherein said assembly is configured to

43 move from said first configuration to said second configuration when a sufficient separation force is applied to said assembly; and

a locking arrangement configured to prevent said assembly from moving from said first configuration to said third configuration.

39. The assembly of claim 38 wherein at least one of said first and second connectors are rotated relative to the other when said assembly is moved from said first configuration to said third configuration.

40. The assembly of claim 38 wherein said locking arrangement includes an axially movable protrusion on one of said first and second connectors, and a recess on the other one of said first and second connectors, said recess being configured to be aligned with and receive said protrusion therein when said assembly is in said second configuration, and wherein said protrusion and said recess are not aligned when said assembly is in said third configuration.

41. A breakaway assembly comprising:

a first connector;

a second connector;

a coupling mechanism configured to releasably couple said first and second connectors, wherein said assembly is movable between a first configuration in which said first and second connectors are coupled by said coupling mechanism and together define a fluid path through which fluid is flowable, and a second configuration in which said first and second connectors are axially separated and not coupled together by said coupling mechanism, wherein said assembly is configured to move from said first configuration to said second configuration when a sufficient separation force is applied to said assembly;

a valve positioned in one of said first or second connectors, wherein said valve is configured to be in an open position when said assembly is in said first

configuration to allow fluid to flow therethrough, and to move to a closed position when said assembly moves to said second configuration to generally block the flow of fluid therethrough; and

44 a magnet unit coupled to at least one of said first and second connectors, wherein said magnet unit is magnetically attractable to at least part of the other one of said first and second connectors to provide a magnetic assist feature to a user moving said assembly from said second configuration to said first configuration.

42. The assembly of claim 41 wherein the magnet unit does not contribute to the separation force.

43. The assembly of claim 41 wherein the magnet unit provides an assist force to aid in moving said assembly to said first configuration, and wherein the magnet unit contributes to the separation force in an amount that is less than said assist force.

44. The assembly of claim 43 wherein said amount said magnet unit contributes to said separation force is less than about 25% of said assist force.

45. The assembly of claim 41 wherein said assembly is configured to move from said second configuration to said first configuration, at least partially, by rotating said first connector relative to said second connector from a first position to a second position.

46. The assembly of claim 45 wherein said assembly is in said first configuration when said first connector is in said second position, and wherein said magnet unit has a stronger attraction to the other one of said first and second connectors when said first connector is in said first position compared to when said first connector is in said second position.

47. The assembly of claim 45 wherein said other one of said first and second connectors has a supplemental magnet unit or a strike plate unit to which said magnet unit is magnetically attracted, and wherein said magnet unit and said supplemental magnet unit or strike plate unit are generally aligned when first connector is in said first position, and wherein said magnet unit and supplemental magnet unit or said strike plate unit are generally not aligned when said first connector is in said second position.

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48. The assembly of claim 45 wherein said assembly is configured to move from said second configuration to said first configuration by first axially moving said first and second connectors together until they engage each other, and then rotating said first connector relative to said second connector from said first position to said second position.

49. The assembly of claim 41 wherein said magnet unit includes a one or more discrete magnets.

50. The assembly of claim 41 wherein said magnet unit and said coupling mechanism both contribute to said separation force, and wherein said magnet unit provides less than 25% of said separation force.

51. The assembly of claim 41 wherein said magnet unit and said coupling mechanism both contribute to said separation force, and wherein said magnet unit provides less than about 5 lbs. to said separation force.

52. The assembly of claim 41 wherein said assembly is in said first position and said coupling mechanism releasably couples said first and second connectors.

53. The assembly of claim 41 wherein said assembly has a reconnection force that must be overcome for said assembly to move from said second configuration to said first configuration, and wherein said magnet unit reduces the reconnection force by at least about 50% compared to when said magnet unit is not utilized.

54. The assembly of claim 53 wherein said reconnection force is supplied entirely by said magnet unit.

55. The assembly of claim 41 wherein said assembly is reconnectable such that said assembly is movable between said first and second configurations without having to replace any components thereof.

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56. The assembly of claim 41 wherein each connector includes an end axial face that face each other when said assembly is in said first configuration, and wherein said magnet unit is positioned at or immediately adjacent to said end face of said one of said first and second connectors.

57. The assembly of claim 41 wherein the other one of said first or second connector includes a strike plate that is magnetically attracted to said magnet unit.

58. The assembly of claim 41 wherein said coupling mechanism is configured to mechanically couple said first and second connectors.

59. The assembly of claim 41 wherein said coupling mechanism includes an angled surface on said first connector and an angled surface on said second connector, and wherein said angled surfaces are configured to frictionally engage each other to generally retain said assembly in said first configuration until a sufficient axial separation force is applied to said assembly.

60. The assembly of claim 59 wherein each angled surface does not extend continuously around the associated connector.

61. The assembly of claim 59 wherein said coupling mechanism includes a plurality of spaced apart angled surfaces, each such angled surface being carried on an associated flange that is configured to be deflected radially outwardly upon the application of said sufficient separation force to allow said assembly to be moved from said first configuration to said second configuration.

62. The assembly of claim 61 wherein each flange is coupled to said first connector and wherein said second connector includes a set of axially-extending grooves, and wherein said assembly is configured to move from said second configuration to said first configuration by inserting said flanges into said grooves, and then rotating said first connector relative to said second connector to cause said angled surfaces of said first and second connectors to engage each other.

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63. The assembly of claim 41 wherein said valve includes a poppet positioned in said one of said first or second connectors, said poppet being spring biased to said closed position, and wherein the other one of said first or second connectors includes an extension which engages said poppet to retain said poppet in said open position when said assembly is in said first configuration.

64. The assembly of claim 41 further comprising a supplemental valve positioned in the other one of said first or second connectors, wherein said supplemental valve is configured to be in an open position when said assembly is in said first configuration to allow fluid to flow therethrough, and to move to a closed position when said assembly moves to said second configuration to generally block the flow of fluid therethrough.

65. The assembly of claim 41 wherein said assembly is configured such that when said assembly is in said first configuration said first and second connectors together define a vapor path through which vapor may flow, said vapor path being fluidly isolated from said fluid path, and wherein the assembly further includes a vapor valve positioned in one of said first or second connectors, wherein said vapor valve is configured to be in an open position when said assembly is in said first configuration to allow vapor to flow

therethrough, and to move to a closed position when said assembly moves to said second configuration to generally block the flow of vapor therethrough.

66. The assembly of claim 41 wherein one of said first and second connectors is fluidly coupled to a fuel dispensing nozzle for dispensing fuel into an automobile fuel tank, and wherein the other one of said first and second connectors is fluidly coupled to a fuel pump.

67. A breakaway assembly comprising:

a first connector;

a second connector;

a coupling mechanism configured to releasably couple said first and second connectors;

48 a valve positioned in one of said first or second connectors, wherein said assembly is movable between a first configuration in which said first and second connectors are coupled by said coupling mechanism and said valve is in an open position to allow fluid to flow therethrough, and a second configuration in which said first and second connectors are not coupled together by said coupling mechanism and said valve is in a closed position to generally block the flow of fluid therethrough, wherein said assembly is configured to move from said first configuration to said second configuration when a sufficient separation force is applied to said assembly; and

a magnet unit coupled to at least one of said first and second connectors, wherein said magnet unit is magnetically attractable to at least part of the other one of said first and second connectors to provide a magnetic assist feature to a user moving said assembly from said second configuration to said first configuration.

68. A breakaway assembly comprising:

a first connector;

a second connector;

a coupling mechanism configured to releasably couple said first and second connectors;

a valve positioned in one of said first or second connectors; wherein said assembly is configurable in first configuration in which said first and second connectors are coupled by said coupling mechanism and said valve is in an open position to allow fluid to flow therethrough, a second configuration in which said first and second connectors are not coupled together by said coupling mechanism and said valve is in a closed position to generally block to flow of fluid therethrough, and a third configuration in which said first and second connectors are not coupled by said coupling mechanism and said valve is in said open position, wherein said assembly is configured to move from said first configuration to said second configuration when a sufficient separation force is applied to said assembly; and

a magnet unit coupled to at least one of said first and second connectors, wherein said magnet unit is magnetically attractable to at least part of the other one of said first and second connectors to provide a magnetic assist feature to a user moving said assembly from said second configuration to said third configuration.

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69. The assembly of claim 68 wherein said first and second connectors are movable together in an axial direction to move said assembly from said second

configuration to said third configuration, and wherein said first and second connectors are twistable relative to each other about a central axis to move said assembly from said third configuration to said first configuration.

70. The assembly of claim 68 wherein said magnet unit provides a magnet assist force in moving said assembly from said second configuration to said third configuration, and wherein the magnet unit contributes to the separation force if at all an amount that is less than said assist force.

71. A method for using breakaway assembly comprising:

accessing a breakaway assembly including a first connector, a second connector, and a coupling mechanism configured to releasably couple said first and second connectors, wherein said assembly is movable between a first configuration in which said first and second connectors are coupled by said coupling mechanism and together define a fluid path through which fluid is flowable, and a second configuration in which said first and second connectors are axially separated and not coupled together by said coupling mechanism, wherein said assembly is configured to move from said first configuration to said second configuration when a sufficient separation force is applied to said assembly, said breakaway assembly including a valve positioned in one of said first or second connectors, wherein said valve is configured to be in an open position when said assembly is in said first configuration to allow fluid to flow therethrough, and to move to a closed position when said assembly moves to said second configuration to generally block the flow of fluid therethrough, the breakaway assembly further including a magnet unit coupled to at least one of said first and second connectors, wherein said magnet unit is magnetically attractable to at least part of the other one of said first and second connectors; and

moving said breakaway assembly from said second configuration to said first configuration while said magnet unit magnetically assist said moving.

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72. The assembly of claim 1 wherein said closure valve is spring biased by a closure valve spring and wherein said bleed valve is spring biased by a bleed valve spring.

73. The assembly of claim 72 wherein said closure valve spring biases said closure valve closed and wherein said bleed valve spring biases said bleed valve closed.

74. The assembly of claim 1 wherein said bleed valve is configured to be opened with a smaller force than a force required to open the closure valve.

75. The assembly of claim 1 wherein said bleed valve is not concentrically positioned relative to said closure valve.

76. The assembly of claim 1 wherein the other one of said first or second connectors does not include a bleed valve, and wherein said one of said first or second connectors is positioned upstream relative to the other one of said first or second connectors relative to a flow of fluid through said assembly.

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