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Title:
CONNECTOR FOR A HEATABLE FLUID DUCT, IN PARTICULAR OF AN SCR SYSTEM OR A WATER INJECTION SYSTEM
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2019/038652
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
The connector (10) comprises a thermally conductive body (14) defining a passage for a fluid to be flown through a duct (D) and configured for being provided with an electric heating apparatus (4) situated around the passage. A clip (18) is situated around a portion of the body (14) comprising one or more snap-in receptacles (20) situated peripherally with respect to the body (14) and configured to fit an electric connection (22) of the electric heating apparatus (4).

Inventors:
ALBONICO, Angelo Mario Adamo (Via Petro Micca 10/a, Novara, 28100, IT)
MASLANKA, Robert (Ul.widokowa 4, 34-360 Milowka, 34-360, PL)
TROJANOWSKI, Grzegorz (Ul. Siewna 9/13, 43-318 Bielsko-biala, 43-318, PL)
WITKOWSKI, Bartosz (Ul.karpacka, 247, 43-300 Bielsko-biala, 43-300, PL)
BERTALMIO, Roberto (Via Guglielmo Marconi, 11/2, Orbassano, 10043, IT)
Application Number:
IB2018/056267
Publication Date:
February 28, 2019
Filing Date:
August 20, 2018
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
HUTCHINSON S.R.L. (Via Natale Bruno 32, Rivoli, 10098, IT)
International Classes:
F16L25/01; F16L53/38
Domestic Patent References:
WO2007032034A12007-03-22
WO2012079833A12012-06-21
WO2007032034A12007-03-22
WO2012079833A12012-06-21
Foreign References:
DE202012102954U12012-09-05
DE102009044404A12011-05-05
DE202009012230U12010-11-04
DE202008015289U12010-04-08
DE102008025299A12008-12-18
DE202012102954U12012-09-05
DE102009044404A12011-05-05
DE202009012230U12010-11-04
DE202008015289U12010-04-08
DE102008025299A12008-12-18
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
BARZANO' & ZANARDO MILANO SPA (Corso Vittorio Emanuele II 61, Torino, I-10128, IT)
Download PDF:
Claims:
CLAIMS

1. Connector (10) for a heatable fluid duct (D) , in particular of an SCR system or a water injection system ; said connector comprising:

- a thermally conductive body (14) defining a passage (16) for a fluid to be flown through said duct and configured for being provided with electric heating means (H) situated around said passage; and

a clip (18) situated around a portion of said body and comprising at least one receptacle (20) situated peripherally with respect to said body;

said connector being characterized in that said receptacle is configured to fit in a snap-in manner an electrically insulating sleeve which embeds an electric connection (22) of said electric heating means.

2. Connector according to claim 1, wherein such sleeve protects two terminal ends (22a, 22b) of conductive wires (W) joined together.

3. Connector according to claim 2, wherein such terminal ends are joined by means of soldering, gluing with a conductive glue, or crimping with a band (46) .

4. Connector according to any of the preceding claims, wherein said sleeve is thermo-shrinkable .

5. Connector according to any of the preceding claims, wherein said clip is made in a single piece with said body.

6. Connector according to any of claims 1 to 4, wherein said clip is a separate piece which is mounted on said body.

7. Connector according to any of the preceding claims, wherein said clip has a central hollow portion (24) which is fitted around said body.

8. Connector according to claim 7, wherein said hollow portion is a substantially C-shaped channel which is clipped around said body

9. Connector according to any of the preceding claims, wherein said clip is provided with at least one protrusion (26) engaging with a corresponding cavity (28) of said body, so as to limit or avoid at least one between a rotation or axial movement of the clip relative to the body.

10. Connector according to any of the preceding claims, wherein said clip is provided with at least one recess (30) engaging a corresponding projection (32) of said body, so as to limit or avoid at least one between a rotation or axial movement of the clip relatively to the body.

11. Connector according to any of the preceding claims, wherein at least one of said body and said clip is provided with a stopper member (34) situated axially in front of said at least one snap-in receptacle in order to be able to avoid an axial movement of said electric connection with respect to said clip and/or said body.

12. Connector according to any of the preceding claims, wherein said clip is provided with a plurality of said snap-in receptacles.

13. Connector according to any of the preceding claims, wherein said at least one snap-in receptacle is a substantially C-shaped channel situated peripherally.

14. Connector according to any of the preceding claims, wherein said clip is provided with at least one groove (36) able to fit a wire (W) of said electric heating means.

15. Connector according to claim 14, wherein said at least one groove is open transversally towards the inside of said clip.

16. Connector according to claim 14, wherein said at least one groove is open transversally towards the outside of said clip.

17. Connector according to claim 16, wherein said groove is situated inside said at least one snap-in receptacle. 18. Connector according to any of the preceding claims, wherein said clip comprises an axial spacer (38) intended to rest against an abutment (40) of said duct so as to define a gap (42) which is situated between said clip and said duct and is intended to receive said electric heating means .

19. Connector according to any of the preceding claims, wherein said clip is provided with at least one spike portion (44) having a length corresponding to the thickness of an overmoulded portion which is intended to be molded over said body and said clip and is intended to act as a shell .

20. Connector according to any of the preceding claims when dependent on claim 8, wherein the C-shaped region of the central hollow portion has, at one side, at least one axial slot (48) intended for receiving a mating axial protrusion (50) carried by said body in order to center the clip around said body at a predetermined angular position.

21. Connector according to any of the preceding claims when dependent on claim 8, wherein said clip has a first greater internal diameter or width at one side of the central hollow portion and a second smaller internal diameter at the other side of the central hollow portion; said body having a first greater external diameter or width at one side and a second smaller internal diameter or width at the other side in order to assemble the clip a predetermined direction with respect to said body.

22 Heatable fluid line (L) , in particular for an SCR system or a or a water injection system; said fluid line comprising a connector (10) according to any of the preceding claims.

23. Fluid line according to claim 22, further comprising a heatable fluid duct (D) intended to be flown through by a fluid and coupled to said connector.

24. Fluid line according to claim 23, further comprising said electric heating means (H) situated around said passage and around said duct in order to heat said fluid through said fluid line.

25. Fluid line according to claim 24, comprising said at least one electric connection (22) which connects an electric power supply and said electric heating means.

26. Fluid line according to any of claims 22 to 25, wherein said at least one electric connection is a crimped portion.

27. Fluid line according to claim 26, wherein said crimped portion is obtained by means of a band (46) .

28. Fluid line according to any of claims 25 to 27, wherein said at least one said electric connection is embedded in an electrically insulating sleeve.

29. Fluid line according to claim 28, wherein said insulating sleeve is thermo-shrinkable .

30. Fluid line according to any of claims 25 to 29, wherein said electric connection is fitted in said at least one snap-in receptacle.

31. Fluid line according to claim 22 to 30, wherein said body and clip are protected by an outer shell.

32. Fluid line according to claim 31, wherein said outer shell is an overmoulded portion which is molded over said body and said clip.

33. Fluid line according to claim 31, wherein said outer shell is a rigid casing.

34. Fluid line according to any of claims 32 to 33, wherein the duct and the connector are coated with an elastomer .

35. Fluid line according to claim 34, wherein said elastomer is a thermoplastic elastomer.

36. Fluid line according to any of claims 22 to 33, wherein the duct is coated with a corrugated tube.

Description:
TITLE: "Connector for a heatable fluid duct, in particular of an SCR system or a water injection system"

* * *

DESCRIPTION

Technical field

The present invention relates to a connector for a heatable fluid duct, in particular of an SCR system or a water injection system.

However, as it will be understood, the present invention is not only directed to SCR systems, since the connector can be used in combination with a duct configured for being passed through by any fluid which is intended to be heated.

Background art

Selective catalytic reduction (typically referred to as "SCR") is a means of converting nitrogen oxides, also referred to as N0 X with the aid of a catalyst into diatomic nitrogen (N 2 ) , and water (H 2 0) . A gaseous reductant, typically anhydrous ammonia, aqueous ammonia or urea, is added to a stream of flue or exhaust gas and is adsorbed onto a catalyst. Carbon dioxide, C0 2 is a reaction product when urea is used as the reductant.

Commercial selective catalytic reduction systems are typically found on large utility boilers, industrial boilers, and municipal solid waste boilers and have been shown to reduce N0 X by 70-95%. More recent applications include diesel engines, such as those found on large ships, diesel locomotives, gas turbines, and automobiles.

In particular in the automotive field, an SCR system is configured for providing an aqueous solution of urea at the catalyser inlet and is located typically after the exhaust gas muffler: in the catalyser, the urea reacts with the nitrogen oxides contained in the exhaust gases, eliminating such oxides from the atmospheric emissions.

Therefore, to accomplish this process, the urea solution is generally made available in a tank, from where the solution itself can be taken to be injected into the catalyser, after having possibly been mixed with the compressed air, according to times and methods defined by an electronic control unit which accounts for various external (temperature, humidity, etc.) and internal (engine operation, number of revolutions, etc.) parameters.

The urea solution is serviceable only in liquid phase, and its freezing temperature is equal to approximately - 11 °C. Therefore, if the conveying means remains at temperatures under this value, the SCR system must be equipped with electric heated pipings wherein electric resistors are inserted inside or spirally wound on the pipings. The pipe connectors have not only to ensure rapid and reliable hydraulic assembly of the pipings but also to electrically connect their electric resistors to the electrical power supply and to heat the internal fluid, and this brings additional complexity, with the need to fixate the electrical connections and heating wires around the hydraulic connector , operation that is typically done by taping.

In internal combustion engines, water injection, also known as anti-detonant injection (ADI), can spray water into the incoming air or fuel-air mixture, or directly into the cylinder to cool certain parts of the induction system where "hot points" could produce premature ignition When applied to automotive gasoline engines, water injection avoids the need to inject an extra quantity of fuel to reduce NOx emissions, because low NOx emissions are guaranteed by the lower combustion temperature. This can significantly reduce fuel consumption.

Many water injection systems use a mixture of water and alcohol (often close to 50/50), with trace amounts of water-soluble oil. The water provides the primary cooling effect due to its great density and high heat absorption properties. The alcohol is combustible, and also serves as an antifreeze for the water.

DE 20 2012 102954 Ul relates to a safety clip for a heatable media line for a fluid medium and discloses all the features cited in the preamble of claim 1.

Further disclosures of connectors for heatable fluid ducts are provided in DE 10 2009 044404 Al, DE 20 2009 012230 Ul, DE 20 2008 015289 Ul, DE 10 2008 025299 Al, WO 2007/032034 Al and WO 2012/079833 Al .

Summary of the invention

It is an object of the present invention to provide a connector for a heatable fluid duct, in particular of an SCR system or a water injection system, which is capable to improve the devices manufactured in accordance with the prior art. In particular, such connector provides for an easier assembly on the heatable fluid duct.

This object is achieved by a connector comprising the technical features cited in the appended independent claim. Optional and preferred technical features of such connector are set out in the dependent claims.

Further technical features and advantages of the present invention will be apparent from the following detailed description, given purely by way of non-limiting example, with reference to the appended drawings, which are summarized as follow.

Brief description of the drawings Figure 1 is a perspective view of a connector which is designed according an exemplary embodiment of the present invention and which is mounted on a heatable fluid duct in order to form a heatable fluid line.

Figure 2 is a partial lateral elevation view of the connector shown in figure 1, protected by an overmoulding.

Figure 3 is a perspective view of a connector which is designed according a further exemplary embodiment of the present invention and which is mounted on a heatable fluid duct in order to form a heatable fluid line.

Figure 4 is an lateral elevation view of the connector shown in figure 3.

Figure 5 and 6 are two partial perspective views of details of two connectors designed according to two exemplary embodiments of the present invention.

Figure 7 is a perspective view of a clip to be used as part of a connector which is designed according an additional exemplary embodiment of the present invention.

Figure 8 is a schematic view of an implementation of an electric connection to be used in a heatable fluid line which comprises a connector according to the present invention .

Figure 9 is a partial perspective view of a clip to be used as part of the connector in Figure 10. which is designed according an additional exemplary embodiment of the present invention.

Figure 10 is a partial lateral elevation with a section view of a connector designed according an additional exemplary embodiment of the present invention, and which is assembled to a heatable fluid duct in order to form a heatable fluid line.

Figure 11 is a partial cross-sectional view of an embodiment of the present invention, wherein a fir tree structure is shown.

Figures 12-14 are respectively a perspective partial view, a front view, a sectional view according to lines XIV-XIV of the connector portrayed in figures 9 and 10 which is assembled to a heatable fluid duct in order to form a heatable fluid line.

Detailed description of the present invention

With reference to figures 1 and 2, a connector is indicated as a whole by the reference number 10. Such connector is designed according to an exemplary embodiment of the present invention.

The connector 10 is intended to be used in combination with a heatable fluid duct D, so as to form a section of a heatable fluid line. During operation, the connector 10 should be capable of being heated as for the duct D.

In all the embodiments shown in the drawings, the heatable fluid line L is a part of an SCR system. As an alternative, the heatable fluid line L can be also a part of a water injection system. However, a skilled man would recognize that the present invention can be applied in several different technical fields wherein it is necessary to heat any fluid medium (thus, not only urea used typically in an SCR system or the per se known mixtures generally used in a water injection system) which is intended to be flown through a duct D.

In manner which is known per se, the duct D - to which the connector is intended to be mounted - is surrounded, internally or externally, by one or more electric heating elements which are configured to heat the fluid flowing through said duct. The duct D is preferably surrounded by a sheath 12 made of an electrically and thermally insulating material, for instance an elastomer (such as thermoplastic rubber) , in order to ensure an higher degree of safety and thermal insulation. For example, such electric heating elements comprise resistive wires W.

More in detail, the connector 10 is intended to be connected, at one end 14a, to the duct D and, at an other end 14b, to another component of the heatable fluid delivery system. For instance, the other end 14b can be configured to be connected to a further duct (not shown), to a dosing valve (not shown) or a tank (not shown) containing a fluid to be delivered through the heatable fluid line L. In case of an SCR system, the tank can contain an urea solution and, in case of a water injection system, the tank can contain - for example - a mixture of water and alcohol.

In particular, the ends 14a, 14b are designed to be coupled with the duct(s) D and/or the tank in manner which is known per se (in the examples shown: by means of quick- connectors) .

With reference to figure 1, for example, the other end

14b is shaped as a female coupling to be connected to a corresponding male coupling of the element to be connected with such other end. Instead, with reference to figure 3, as another example, the other end 14b is shaped as a male coupling to be connected to a corresponding female coupling of the element to be connected with such other end.

The connector 10 comprises a thermally conductive body 14 defining a passage 16 for a fluid to be flown through the duct D. In the embodiment shown, the body 14 comprises the ends 14a, 14b mentioned above and between which the passage 16 is defined.

The body 14 is configured for being provided with electric heating means H situated around the passage 16. Moreover, the connector 10 comprises a clip 18 situated around a portion of said body 14 comprising a plurality of snap-in receptacles 20 situated peripherally with respect to the body 14 and configured to fit an electric connection 22 of the electric heating means H. Owing to these technical features, when the connector 10 is assembled to the duct D, the mechanical fastening is performed and achieved in an easier manner.

In particular, as it will be shown in more detail referring to an exemplary embodiment of the present invention, the electric connection 22 of the electric heating means H connects with the electric heating elements of the duct D, in order to permit electric current to flow through the whole heatable fluid line L. In this regard, the electric heating elements W of the duct D are connected with an electric power supply circuit (not shown) .

With reference in particular to the embodiment shown in figures 1 and 2, each of such snap-in receptacles 20 is configured to fit an electric connection 22 of the electric heating means H. Such electrical connection 22 has the effect to provide heating of the fluid intended to flow inside the connector 10, in particular inside the passage 16 defined through the body 14.

According to the present invention, the design of the connector 10 strongly simplifies the assembly operation of the whole heatable fluid line L.

In all the embodiments shown in the drawings, the clip 18 is a separate piece which is mounted on the body 14.

In further alternative embodiments not shown, the clip can be made in a single piece with the body.

In further and less preferred alternative embodiments not shown, the clip can comprise a single snap-in receptacle situated peripherally with respect to the body and configured to fit a single electric connection.

As it can be seen in greater detail referring to the embodiment shown in figure 7, the clip 18 has preferably a central hollow portion 24 which is to be fitted around a portion of the body 14. More preferably, the hollow portion 24 is a substantially C-shaped channel which is clipped around the portion of the body 14.

Preferably, the hollow portion 24 is coupled with an intermediate portion of the body 14, which is situated between the ends 14a, 14b. Conveniently, such intermediate portion can be the sealing area between duct and connector 10. Such sealing area can be obtained inserting a terminal part of the pipe 23 over a terminal part of the connector 10, 25, having the shape of a so called "fir tree" mounting portion. As a possible example, a "fir tree" structure is shown in Figure 11.

With reference to figure 1, the clip 18 is provided with a plurality of protrusions 26 engaging with a corresponding plurality of cavities 28 of the body 14, so as to limit or avoid at least one between a rotation or axial movement of the clip 18 relatively to the body 14. In the above mentioned figure, a rotation of the clip 18 with respect to the body 14 is avoided. In particular, this is due to the peripherally spaced protrusions 26 around the clip 18 and engaging in the corresponding peripherally spaced cavities 28 situated on the body 14.

With reference to figure 5, the clip 18 is provided with a recess 30 engaging a corresponding projection 32 of the body 14, so as to limit or avoid at least one between a rotation or axial movement of the clip 18 relatively to the body 14. In this embodiment, both rotation and translation of the clip 18 with respect to the body 14 is avoided. In particular, this is due to the coupling of the substantially rectangular shape of the projection 32 into the mating recess 30 defined by an annular portion 33 of the clip 18.

With reference to figure 6, the clip 18 is provided with a stopper member 34 situated axially in front of the snap-in receptacles 20. In this manner, it is avoided an axial movement of the electric connections 22 with respect to the clip 18. In further alternative embodiments (not shown) , the stopper member 34 can be provided on the body 14 instead of the clip 18.

With reference to figure 5, it can be understood that in an advantageous manner the projection 32 has the addition function to act as stopper member in a similar manner to the stopper member 34 shown in figure 6.

In the embodiments shown, the snap-in receptacles 20 are substantially C-shaped channels situated peripherally.

In the exemplary embodiment shown in figure 1, each of the C-shaped channels defining the snap-in receptacles 20 comprises a pair of substantially radial extensions (not numbered) which embraces the electric connection 22. In addition, in a preferred manner, the protrusions 26 are axially projecting from such radial extensions.

With reference to the embodiment shown in figure 7, the clip 18 is provided with a plurality of grooves 36 able to fit a wire of the electric heating means H. Such grooves 36 are open transversally towards the inside of the clip 18. More in detail, they are defined inside the central hollow portion 24.

In the alternative embodiment of figure 9 of the present invention, the grooves 36 can be open transversally towards the outside of the clip 18. In particular, such grooves 36 are situated inside the snap-in receptacles 20; during the assembly the wires are fitted in the grooves 36 and then the electric connection 22 is coupled inside the snap-in receptacle 20, thus the electric connection 22 inserted in the receptacle 20 covers and is superimposed to the wire contained in the groove 36.

With reference to figure 4, the clip 18 comprises two pairs of axial spacers 38 (two are visible also in figure 3, the other two are symmetrical respect to the clip) intended to define at least a minimum distance from an abutment 40 of the duct D so as to define a gap 42 between said clip 18 and said duct D which is intended to receive a wire of the electric heating means H. So as to define the gap 42, the axial spacers 38 can rest on the abutment 40 or be situated at a distance therefrom.

With reference to figure 7, the clip is provided with a plurality of spike portions 44 having a length corresponding to the thickness of an overmoulded portion which is intended to be molded over said body and said clip and is intended to act as a shell.

With reference to figure 8, is shown the design of an electric connection 22 to be prepared for being inserted in the snap-in receptacle 20.

Preferably, such electric connection 22 is a connection protected by a sleeve, preferably a termoshrinkable sleeve. In particular, such termoshrinkable sleeve protects two terminal ends 22a, 22b of conductive wires W to be joined together, in particular, by means of soldering, gluing with a conductive glue or crimping with a band 46. According to an exemplary embodiment of the present invention, the duct D and the connector 10 are coated with an elastomer. Preferably, such elastomer is a thermoplastic elastomer .

According to an exemplary embodiment of the present invention, the duct D is coated with a corrugated tube and the connector 10 is protected by a plastic shell.

As stated above, when the connector 10 is assembled as to form the fluid line L, the body 14 and clip 18 are protected by an outer shell, which can be an overmoulded portion which is molded over said body 14 and said clip 18 or which can be a rigid casing.

With reference to figure 9, 10 and 12-14, a further embodiment is shown, wherein the C-shaped region of the central hollow portion 24 has, at one side, an axial slot 48 intended for receiving a mating axial protrusion 50 carried by the body 14. The axial slot 48 extends only for a part of the axial length of the C-shaped region. Therefore, in other words, the connector 10 has a first greater internal diameter (or width) at a one side of the central hollow portion 24 (corresponding to the region of the axial slot 48) and a second smaller internal diameter (or width) at the other side of the central hollow portion 24 (corresponding to the remaining region) . Likewise, the body 14 has a first greater external diameter (or width) at one side (corresponding to the region of the axial protrusion 50) and a second smaller internal diameter (or width) at the other side (corresponding to the remaining region) . In such a manner, the clamp 18 can be assembled to the body 14 only in a predetermined direction.

Moreover, in a convenient manner, , the protrusion 50 can be used to seal the connector 10 to the duct. As an example, the duct can be placed inside and attached to the connector 10, in particular by gluing or laser welding.

In addition, one or more projections (in Figure 13 indicated 51, 52) can partially extend over the protrusion 50 so as to block the radial movement of the connector 10, fixing it at a predetermined angular position.

Naturally, without prejudice to the principle of the present invention, the embodiments and constructional details may be widely varied with respect to what has been described and illustrated, purely by way of a non-limiting example, without thereby departing from the scope of the invention as defined in the accompanying claims.