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Title:
CAP FOR A QUICK-CONNECTOR COUPLING
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2016/003686
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
A cap (12) for a quick-connector coupling consisting of at least two connectors (10, 44), of which a first connector (10) has a seal (36) and a second connector has a sealing surface with a sealing diameter, wherein the cap (12) has a head and a bearing surface (42) which, in the attached state, bears against the seal (36) of the first connector (10), wherein the bearing surface (42) has a diameter which is large enough to compress the seal (36) in the attached state.

Inventors:
SCHWOEBEL, Andreas (Mannheimer Strasse 25, Viernheim, Viernheim, DE)
HAPPICH, Johannes (Wingertsau 35, Mannheim, Mannheim, DE)
Application Number:
US2015/036949
Publication Date:
January 07, 2016
Filing Date:
June 22, 2015
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
ILLINOIS TOOL WORKS INC. (155 Harlem Avenue, Glenview, Illinois, 60025, US)
International Classes:
F16L55/11; F16L37/12; F16L37/14; F16L55/115
Domestic Patent References:
WO2013031948A12013-03-07
WO2011063211A12011-05-26
Foreign References:
JP2010048400A2010-03-04
US20040093708A12004-05-20
US20050155659A12005-07-21
EP1369634A12003-12-10
US5224515A1993-07-06
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
HAUPTMAN, Benjamin J. (Lowe Hauptman & Ham, LLP2318 Mill Road, Suite 140, Alexandria Virginia, 22314, US)
Download PDF:
Claims:
Claims

1. A cap (12) for a quick-connector coupling consisting of at least two connectors (10, 44), of which a first connector (10) has a seal (36) and a second connector (44) has a sealing surface (50) with a sealing diameter, characterized in that the cap (12) has a head and a bearing surface (42) which, in the attached state, bears against the seal (36) of the first connector (10), wherein the bearing surface (42) has a diameter which is large enough to compress the seal (36) in the attached state.

2. The cap as claimed in claim 1, characterized in that the cap has a stub (40) which bears the bearing surface (42) at an end facing away from the head.

3. The cap as claimed in claim 2, characterized in that the stub (40) has its largest diameter in the region of the bearing surface (42), wherein the diameter is less than or equal to the sealing diameter.

4. The cap as claimed in claim 1, characterized in that the cap has at least one receptacle which has an inner bearing surface.

5. The cap as claimed in claim 4, characterized in that the at least one receptacle has its smallest diameter in the region of the bearing surface, wherein the diameter is greater than or equal to the sealing diameter.

6. The cap as claimed in one of claims 1 to 5, characterized in that the end (52) facing away from the head bears an insertion portion whose diameter tapers on the end side.

7. The cap as claimed in one of claims 1 to 6, characterized in that the bearing surface has one or more cutouts for a lubricant.

8. The cap as claimed in claim 7, characterized in that the cutout in the bearing surface is designed as a circumferential lubricant groove.

9. A set, consisting of a quick-connector coupling having two connectors (10, 44) and a cap (12) for one of the connectors, wherein a first connector (10) has a seal (36) and a second connector (44) has a sealing surface (50) with a sealing diameter, and the cap (12) has a head and a bearing surface (18) which, in the attached state, bears against the seal (36) of the first connector (10), wherein the bearing surface (18) has a diameter which is large enough to compress the seal in the attached state and which is at most as large as the sealing diameter of the second connector (44).

10. The set as claimed in claim 9, characterized in that the seal in the first connector is designed as an O-ring.

11. The set as claimed in claim 10, characterized in that the O-ring is mounted in a groove, wherein the groove has a depth which is smaller than the diameter of the CD- ring.

12. The set as claimed in one of claims 9 to 11, characterized in that a width of the groove is larger than the diameter of the O-ring.

13. The set as claimed in one of claims 9 to 12, characterized in that the seal (36) is deformed viscoelastically by the cap.

14. The set as claimed in one of claims 9 to 13, characterized in that the cap is designed as claimed in one of claims 1 to 8.

15. A method for producing a connection via a quick-connector coupling, in which, before connecting connectors of the quick-connector coupling, a cap having the features as claimed in one of claims 1 to 8 is arranged on a first connector. The method as claimed in claim 15, characterized in that the cap remains for predetermined minimum time period in the first connector until a connection produced via the quick-connector coupling.

The method as claimed in claims 15 and 16, characterized in that, after the removal of the cap, at most a maximum period is awaited before producing a connection of the quick-connector coupling.

Description:
CAP FOR A QUICK-CONNECTOR COUPLING

The present invention relates to a cap for a quick-connector coupling consisting of at least two connectors. The invention likewise relates to a set consisting of a quick-connector coupling and an associated cap.

Quick-connector couplings are often used in the automotive industry in order to carry and distribute air, water, oil and other fluids. However, quick-connector couplings are also used in other areas of application. In the case of engine cooling or ventilation in motor vehicles, for example, quick-connector couplings are inserted between a conduit and pipes. Known quick-connector couplings consist of two connectors, which are designed as male and female connectors. One of the connectors is provided with a seal which interacts with a sealing surface on the other connector in order to produce a sealed joint. Occasionally, the quick- connector coupling may also be provided with a retention means which secures the interconnected connectors in their sealing position.

During assembly in the automotive sector, there is often a need temporarily to close a connector of a quick-connector coupling before fitting the mating connector. It is thereby possible to avoid the ingress of dirt and liquid into a connector which has already been connected to the engine cooling system, for example. For closure, use is made of caps which can be mounted on one of the connectors.

During the production of the connection with the aid of a quick-connector coupling, there is often the problem that an excessive introduction or insertion force is required to produce a sealing connection between the two connector parts. As a result, the workers involved in the assembly process have to make a disproportionate effort.

It is the underlying object of the invention to reduce the introduction or insertion force for the assembly process when producing a connection by means of a quick-connector coupling. According to the invention, the object is achieved by a cap having the features of claim 1 and by a set consisting of a quick-connector coupling and a cap as claimed in claim 9. Advantageous embodiments form the subject matter of the dependent claims.

The object according to the invention is achieved by a cap for a quick-connector coupling consisting of at least two connectors. The quick-connector coupling has a first connector having a seal and a second connector, which has a sealing surface with a sealing diameter. In the connected state of the quick-connector coupling, the sealing surface bears sealingly against the seal. The cap according to the invention has a head and a bearing surface. In the attached state of the cap, the bearing surface bears against the seal of the first connector. The bearing surface has a diameter which is large enough to compress the seal, in particular elastically, in the attached state. The cap according to the invention can sealingly close the first connector of the quick-connector coupling, wherein the bearing surface bears sealingly against the seal. To close the first connector, the cap can have a closed head. However, it is also possible for the cap not to close the first connector in a sealed manner. In particular, the head of the cap can be of non-closed design. The bearing surface of the cap comes into contact with the seal and deforms the seal in order, for example, to achieve sealed closure of the connector. However, the bearing surface deforms the seal no more than the sealing surface of the second connector deforms the seal when the connection between the connectors has been established. Through the use of the cap according to the invention, the seal is expanded in or on the first connector and undergoes deformation, preferably non- plastic deformation. The sealing effect of the quick-connector coupling ultimately produced does not slacken, despite the insertion of the cap. The insertion force for subsequent closure of the quick-connector coupling is significantly reduced. Since deformation of the seal has already occurred, the second connector can be attached with a reduced force.

In a preferred embodiment, the cap has a stub which bears the bearing surface at an end facing away from the head. In this case, the cap is designed to provide a sealed closure instead of the male connector and the female connector.

In a preferred embodiment, the stub has its largest diameter in the region of the bearing surface, wherein the diameter is less than or equal to the sealing diameter. This enables the cap to be inserted easily and without a high insertion force by means of the stub into the connector part. The cap is held in the connector part through the contact between the bearing surface and the seal.

In addition to the above embodiment, in which the cap has a stub, it is also possible for the cap to be designed to have at least one receptacle which has an inner bearing surface. The at least one receptacle preferably has its smallest diameter in the region of the bearing surface, wherein the diameter is greater than or equal to the sealing diameter. In this embodiment, the cap forms the female mating part to the male connector.

In a preferred embodiment, the bearing surface has one or more cutouts for a lubricant. The cutout in the bearing surface is preferably designed as a circumferential lubricant groove. The lubricant groove is provided for the purpose of keeping a lubricant present on the connector part or a lubricant introduced via the cap on the seal, with the result that the insertion force during the formation of the connection is further reduced by the lubricant.

At the end facing away from the head, the cap preferably has an insertion portion whose diameter tapers on the end side. The cap is thereby centered during insertion into the connector part, and damage to the seal by the cap is avoided.

The object according to the invention is likewise achieved by a set, consisting of a quick- connector coupling having at least two connectors and a cap for one of the connectors. A first connector of the quick-connector coupling has a seal and a second connector has a sealing surface with a sealing diameter. The cap has a head and a bearing surface which, in the attached state, bears against the seal of the first connector. The bearing surface has a diameter which is large enough to compress the seal in the attached state. Before the connector parts are connected to the quick-connector coupling, the cap according to the invention can be mounted on the first connector, where the bearing surface of the cap then enters into a sealing joint with the seal of the first connector, for example.

In a preferred development, the seal in the first connector is designed as an O-ring. The O- ring is preferably mounted in a groove, wherein the groove has a depth which is smaller than the diameter of the O-ring. As a result, the O-ring is deformed both by the bearing surface of the cap and by the sealing surface of the second connector.

In a preferred embodiment, the width of the groove transversely to the depth is also larger than the diameter of the O-ring, allowing deformation of the O-ring to occur in the groove.

In a preferred embodiment, the seal in the first connector is deformed viscoelastically by the inserted cap. After the removal of the cap, the seal springs back, in particular completely, although this takes a certain time, especially in the case of viscous deformation. During this time, the insertion force for the connector of the quick-connector coupling is particularly low.

The object according to the invention is also achieved by a method for producing a connection via a quick-connector coupling. In this case, a cap according to the invention is placed in the first connector before connecting the connectors. The cap expands a seal in the connector part without prejudicing the sealing properties thereof in the quick- connector coupling. The expansion by the cap ensures a reduced insertion force for a second connector inserted after the removal of the cap.

In order to allow the seal an opportunity for deformation, it has already proven advantageous if the cap remains for a predetermined minimum time period in or on the first connector until a connection of the quick-connector coupling is produced. Maintaining the minimum time period, e.g. 24, 48 or more hours, enables the seal to deform elastically and also viscously without the occurrence of plastic deformation at the seal. After the removal of the cap, it is preferable if at most a maximum period is awaited before producing a connection of the quick-connector coupling. This ensures that the seal springs back elastically and that, where applicable, also viscous springback is slowly initiated. However, complete springback cannot occur during the maximum duration between the use of the cap and the connector part. Nevertheless, an optimum sealing effect is achieved during the subsequent production of the quick-connector coupling.

The invention is explained in greater detail below by means of an illustrative embodiment. In the drawing:

Figure 1 shows a quick connector with a mounted cap,

Figure 2 shows a section along the line II-II from figure 1 ,

Figure 3 shows a detail from the sectional view in figure 2,

Figure 4 shows a closed quick connector with two connector parts,

Figure 5 shows a section along the line V-V from figure 4,

Figure 6 shows a detail of the sectional view in figure 5,

Figure 7 shows a perspective view of a cap,

Figure 8 shows a side view of the cap,

Figure 9 shows a sectional view along the line IX-IX from figure 8,

Figure 10 shows a second embodiment in a sectional view according to figure 2,

Figure 11 shows a detail from figure 10, and

Figure 12 shows a third embodiment of a cap in a sectional view and a detail view D.

Figures 1 and 2 show a first connector 10, in which a cap 12 is sealingly inserted. The connector 10 has a connector stub 14, the free end of which is provided with a circumferential bead portion 16. The connector stub 14 has a cylindrical bearing surface, which is suitable, for example, for connection to hoses and pipes. Toward the end of the first connector, the bead portion 16 initially has an increasing diameter and then a tapering diameter. The connector stub 14 ends with a bearing surface 18. The bearing surface 18 is formed on a connector head 20. The connector head 20 is provided to accommodate either a second connector or the cap 12. The connector head 20 has a slot 22, which does not run all the way around. A clamping spring 24, which secures a second connector on the first connector, can be arranged in the slot 22.

The cap 12 has a head having a grip part 26, e.g. an annular grip part, and, in the example shown, having a head plate 28. The head plate 28 has an outside diameter, allowing it to be accommodated flush in a receptacle 30 of the first connector 10.

Two shoulders 31, 33 are provided in the receptacle 30, wherein the receptacle of the first connector makes the transition to the passage 34 of the stub 14 by means of the first shoulder 33.

Together with a retaining ring 32, the second shoulder 31, which is arranged at a distance from the first shoulder 33, forms a groove to accommodate an O-ring 36. Another shoulder 38 can be provided for the retaining ring 32. As can be seen in the detail view in figure 3, the second shoulder 31 and the retaining ring 32 form a substantially rectangular groove, in which the O-ring 36 rests. The retaining ring 32 has an insertion bevel 39 which facilitates the insertion of the cap 12 and of the second connector and centers the insertion movement in the region of the seal.

A cap stub 40 projects from the head plate 28. The cap stub 40 has a substantially cylindrical construction which tapers toward the free end of the cap stub 40. As is clearly apparent in figure 3, a bearing region 42 projects from the cap stub 40.

Figure 3 shows the bearing region 42 in interaction with the O-ring 36, whereby the O-ring is pressed into the groove formed between the retaining ring 32 and shoulder 31. Figure 3 likewise shows that the outside diameter of the bearing surface 42 is smaller than the inside diameter of the receptacle 30. Nevertheless, the outside diameter of the bearing surface 42 is large enough to deform the seal 36. This involves only elastic and viscous deformation of the O-ring 36. The O-ring 36 is preferably produced from a type of rubber, such as ethylene- propylene-diene rubber (EPDM), perfiuoro rubber (FFKM and FFPM) or some other material. The important point as regards the material used for the O-ring is that there is no plastic deformation of the O-ring by the cap, which would impair the required sealing effect, and hence that the sealing effect is not altered.

Figure 4 shows the second connector 44 on the first connector 10, wherein the second connector 44 once again has a connector stub 46 for connection to a hose or a pipe conduit.

Figures 4 and 5 show the second connector 44 in the first connector of the quick- connector coupling. The second connector 44 has a connector stub 46, which is provided for use with hoses or pipes. The second connector 44 has a connector head 48, which has a circumferential depression 49. The circumferential depression 49 is provided for the purpose of accommodating the clamping spring 24 and thus securing the second connector 44 on the first connector 10.

At its free end, the connector head 48 has a sealing surface 50, which bears on the seal 36. The position of the cap 12 and also that of the second connector in the receptacle 30 of the first connector is delimited by the first shoulder 33. Both the second connector and the cap with the stub abut the first shoulder 33 at the end.

Figure 7 shows the cap 12 in a perspective view. The annular grip part 26 on the head plate 28 is clearly visible. The bearing surface 18 is a raised cylindrical surface which encircles the cap stub 40.

Figure 9 shows a section along the line IX- IX from figure 8. From the sectional illustration, it can be seen that the wall thickness 52 decreases toward the free end of the stub, in the end region 50. This allows flexible insertion of the stub into the receptacle of the first connector without damaging the projecting seal.

In use, the cap 12 is inserted into the first connector 10. The cap preferably remains here for a number of days, during which the bearing surface 42 bears on the O-ring 36. The bearing force produced during this time is not so great that plastic deformation of the O-ring 36 occurs. On the contrary, exclusively elastic and viscous deformation of the O-ring, which is preferably composed of a rubber, occurs. This rubber has a shape memory, as a result of which the O-ring 36 returns to its original shape after the removal of the cap. Here, the situation is such that the elastic deformations of the O-ring 36 are balanced out again relatively quickly, while the viscous deformations take a longer time to balance out. In the time after the removal of the cap 12, the insertion force for the second connector 44 is significantly lower. At the same time, the sealing effect of the O-ring 36 relative to the sealing surface remains unchanged.

Figure 9 shows a section, corresponding to figure 2, through a second embodiment. For greater clarity, identical components are also denoted by the same reference signs in the second embodiment. As shown in figures 10 and 11, the cap stub 40 has a circumferential groove 54 in the region of its bearing surface 18. On the one hand, the groove 54 enables lubricant to be introduced into the first connector via the cap and to be bought into contact there with the O-ring for subsequent insertion of the stub. Moreover, a lubricant provided on the O-ring 36 can be retained on the O-ring 36 by means of the groove 54.

Figure 12 shows an alternative embodiment, in which a first connector 56 carries an external O-ring 58. The first connector 56 has a connector body, from which a fastening stub 62 projects. The fastening stub 62 is shown only in part in figure 12. The connector body 60 has a projecting flange 64, which simultaneously serves as an end bearing surface for a cap or a second connector part.

Figure 12 shows a cap 66 with a knob-shaped grip part 68 and an internal cylindrical bearing surface 70. The cap 66 has a receptacle 72, the circumferential surface of which is formed by the bearing surface 70. The cap 66 is mounted on the first connector 56 by means of the receptacle 72. Unlike the situation with the inserted cap, the mounted cap has the bearing surface 70 for the sealing ring 58 and the minimum radius within the receptacle 72. As can be seen in the detail D, a circumferential groove 74, which bears on the O-ring 58 in the mounted state of the cap, is provided in the bearing surface. The O-ring 58 is arranged in a substantially rectangular groove 76, which is formed in the first connector 56. The O-ring 58 protrudes from the groove 76, with the result that the O-ring is squeezed by the cap 66.

As in the case of the inserted cap, it is also the case with the mounted cap 66 that the O-ring 58 is deformed, thereby facilitating subsequent attachment of the connector part and reducing the corresponding insertion force.

List of reference signs first connector

cap

connector stub

bead portion

bearing surface

connector head

slot

clamping spring

annular grip part

head-shaped plate

receptacle of the first connector

second shoulder

retaining ring

first shoulder

passage in the stub

O-ring

shoulder

insertion bevel

cap stub

bearing surface

second connector

connector stub

connector head

depression

sealing surface

wall thickness

groove

first connector

O-ring

connector body fastening stub flange

cap

knob-shaped grip part bearing surface receptacle

groove

groove