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Title:
FERRULE REPLACEMENT
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2019/162734
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
A ferrule replacement apparatus (20) for replacing a ferrule of a pipe (10), The apparatus (20) comprises an elongate ferrule holder (22) comprising a shaft (66) and a ferrule gripping portion (68) arranged to be able to receive and grip the ferrule. The apparatus (20) comprises a valve (24) having an open position and a closed position. The valve (24) comprises a bore through which the ferrule gripping portion (68) can move when the valve (24) is in the open position, and pipe engaging means (26) arranged to be able to engage the pipe (10) to form a fluid tight seal with the pipe (10) when the apparatus (20) is mounted on the pipe (10) over the ferrule. The apparatus (20) comprises a main body (28) comprising a sliding seal arranged to cooperate with the shaft (66) of the ferrule holder (22) so that the ferrule holder (22) can move axially with respect to the main body (28). The main body (28) is arranged to be able to cooperate with the valve (24) to form a fluid tight chamber between the main body (28) and the valve (24). The ferrule holder (22) is removeably connectable to the main body (28) so as to be able to form a fluid fight connection between the ferrule holder (22) and the main body (28) when mounted to the main body (28). The ferrule gripping portion (68) is moveable through the bore when the valve (24) is in the open position between a first position where the shaft (66) is within the bore and where the ferrule gripping portion (68) can engage the ferrule when the apparatus (20) is mounted on the pipe (10) over the ferrule, and a second position where the ferrule gripping portion (68) is within the chamber so that the valve (24) can be in the closed position to fluidly isolate the chamber from the pipe engaging means (26) and so that the ferrule holder (22) can be detached from the main body (28). The ferrule gripping portion (68) is arranged to be able to grip the ferrule so that the ferrule can be moved through the bore of the valve (24) between the chamber and a position where the ferrule is mounted to the pipe

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Inventors:
MUHAMMAD, Abdul Rasool Deen (P.O.Box 564, Dubai, AE)
PATHUKALAN, Muhammad Aslam Kodikandy (P.O.Box 564, Dubai, AE)
RAHMAN, Malik Aurrahmen Noor (P.O.Box 564, Dubai, AE)
HAMSA, Mohamed Dasthageer Kannezhuth (P.O.Box 564, Dubai, AE)
ELZOGHBY, Hany Bakry Aly Abdelfattah (P.O.Box 564, Dubai, AE)
MUHAMMED, Saifudeen Muhammed Koya (P.O.Box 564, Dubai, AE)
CRISPIN, Ajmal Crispin Kharat (P.O.Box 564, Dubai, AE)
Application Number:
IB2018/052450
Publication Date:
August 29, 2019
Filing Date:
April 09, 2018
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
DUBAI ELECTRICITY & WATER AUTHORITY (P.O. Box 564, Dubai, AE)
International Classes:
F16L41/04; F16L55/179
Foreign References:
GB2264341A1993-08-25
GB2520100A2015-05-13
KR101195199B12012-10-29
GB282949A1928-01-05
JP2003028377A2003-01-29
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
DENNEMEYER & ASSOCIATES SA (DUBAI BRANCH) (Regal Tower, Office #608Al Sa'ada Street, Business Bay, Dubai, AE)
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Claims:
CLAIMS

1 . A ferrule replacement apparatus for replacing a ferrule of a pipe, the apparatus comprising:

an elongate ferrule holder comprising a shaft and a ferrule gripping portion arranged to be able to receive and grip the ferrule;

a valve having an open position and a closed position, the valve comprising a bore through which the ferrule gripping portion can move when the valve is in the open position, and pipe engaging means arranged to be able to engage the pipe to form a fluid tight seal with the pipe when the apparatus is mounted on the pipe over the ferrule; and

a main body comprising a sliding seal arranged to cooperate with the shaft of the ferrule holder so that the ferrule holder can move axially with respect to the main body, the main body being arranged to be able to cooperate with the valve to form a fluid tight chamber between the main body and the valve, and the ferrule holder being removeably connectable to the main body so as to be able to form a fluid tight connection between the ferrule holder and the main body when mounted to the main body,

in which:

the ferrule gripping portion is moveable through the bore when the valve is in the open position between a first position where the shaft is within the bore and where the ferrule gripping portion can engage the ferrule when the apparatus is mounted on the pipe over the ferrule, and a second position where the ferrule gripping portion is within the chamber so that the valve can be in the closed position to fluidly isolate the chamber from the pipe engaging means and so that the ferrule holder can be detached from the main body; and

the ferrule gripping portion is arranged to be able to grip the ferrule so that the ferrule can be moved through the bore of the valve between the chamber and a position where the ferrule is mounted to the pipe.

2. A ferrule replacement apparatus according to claim 1 , comprising holding means arranged to be able to hold the apparatus to the pipe so as to restrict movement of the apparatus away from the pipe.

3. A ferrule replacement apparatus according to claim 2, in which:

the pipe engaging means comprises a gasket arranged to be compressible between the valve and the pipe; and

the holding means is arranged to be able to bias the main body and the valve towards the pipe so as to compress the gasket to form a seal between the valve and the pipe.

4. A ferrule replacement apparatus according to any preceding claim, in which the main body comprises a purge valve arranged to be able to release fluid from the chamber due to fluid pressure in the chamber.

5. A ferrule replacement apparatus according to any preceding claim, in which the main body comprises a pressure gauge operable to measure and indicate a pressure of fluid in the chamber.

6. A ferrule replacement apparatus according to any preceding claim, in which the main body comprises a ferrule holder motion restricting means arranged to be able to restrict motion of the ferrule holder away from the main body.

7. A ferrule replacement apparatus according to any preceding claim, in which the main body comprises a detachable top plate which comprises the sliding seal.

8. A ferrule replacement apparatus according to claim 7, in which :

the detachable top plate comprises a top plate threaded portion ; and

the main body comprises a main body threaded potion arranged to be able to cooperate with the top plate threaded portion to form a seal between the detachable top plate and the main body.

9. A ferrule replacement apparatus according to claim 8, in which the top plate comprises the sliding seal.

1 0. A ferrule replacement apparatus according to any preceding claim, comprising a flushing adapter arranged to be able to engage the main body to allow fluid communication between the pipe engaging means and the flushing adapter.

1 1 . A ferrule replacement apparatus according to any preceding claim, in which the valve is a ball valve.

12. A method for replacing a ferrule of a pipe using a ferrule replacement apparatus according to any preceding claim, the method comprising:

positioning the ferrule gripping portion at the first position and gripping the ferrule with the ferrule gripping portion with the valve in the open position ;

mounting the apparatus to the pipe so that the pipe engaging means forms a fluid tight seal with the pipe,

moving the ferrule holder so that the ferrule is detached from the pipe; sliding the shaft with respect to the main body to move the ferrule gripping portion from the first position to the second position so as to draw the ferrule into the chamber;

moving the valve to the closed position to fluidly isolate the chamber from the pipe engaging portion so that the chamber is in fluid isolation from the pipe;

detaching the ferrule holder from the main body;

maintaining the ferrule;

attaching the ferrule holder to the main body so as to form a fluid tight connection between the main body and the ferrule holder;

moving the valve from the closed position to the open position;

moving the ferrule holder to move the ferrule gripping portion from the second position to the first position to move the ferrule through the bore and to replace the ferrule onto the pipe so that the ferrule forms a fluid tight connection with the pipe;

unmounting the apparatus from the pipe; and

removing the ferrule holder from the ferrule.

13. A method according to claim 12, in which maintaining the ferrule comprises changing the ferrule with a different ferrule.

14. A method according to claim 12, in which maintaining the ferrule comprises cleaning the ferrule.

Description:
FERRULE REPLACEMENT

The present disclosure relates to ferrule replacement.

Ferrules, such as water pipe ferrules, are typically used to connect a mains water supply pipe to residential or business buildings via a service pipe for example. However, ferrules may often become blocked with debris or may malfunction , necessitating replacement or servicing for example. Typically, the main water supply pipe (main line) will be under pressure (typically between 1 .5 and 4 bar) such that removal and cleaning or replacement of the ferrule while the main line is under pressure may be difficult or impossible. Generally, this is addressed by isolating a section of the main line around the location of the faulty or blocked ferrule, so that the ferrule can be replaced or cleaned safely.

However, this may be time consuming, for example of the order of 1 .5 to 4 hours, during which time water supply to a consumer or customer is very likely to be interrupted. Additionally, a significant number of man hours may be needed in order to access and isolate the main line due to the difficulty of isolating the main line and a potential time involved for any excavation that may be needed. This may be costly for the water supplier. Additionally, consumers may experience inconvenience and water supply disruption, leading to a negative service experience for the user.

Examples of the present disclosure seek to address or at least alleviate the above problems.

In a first aspect, there is provided a ferrule replacement apparatus for replacing a ferrule of a pipe, the apparatus comprising: an elongate ferrule holder comprising a shaft and a ferrule gripping portion arranged to be able to receive and grip the ferrule; a valve having an open position and a closed position, the valve comprising a bore through which the ferrule gripping portion can move when the valve is in the open position, and pipe engaging means arranged to be able to engage the pipe to form a fluid tight seal with the pipe when the apparatus is mounted on the pipe over the ferrule; and a main body comprising a sliding seal arranged to cooperate with the shaft of the ferrule holder so that the ferrule holder can move axially with respect to the main body, the main body being arranged to be able to cooperate with the valve to form a fluid tight chamber between the main body and the valve, and the ferrule holder being removeably connectable to the main body so as to be able to form a fluid tight connection between the ferrule holder and the main body when mounted to the main body, in which: the ferrule gripping portion is moveable through the bore when the valve is in the open position between a first position where the shaft is within the bore and where the ferrule gripping portion can engage the ferrule when the apparatus is mounted on the pipe over the ferrule, and a second position where the ferrule gripping portion is within the chamber so that the valve can be in the closed position to fluidly isolate the chamber from the pipe engaging means and so that the ferrule holder can be detached from the main body; and the ferrule gripping portion is arranged to be able to grip the ferrule so that the ferrule can be moved through the bore of the valve between the chamber and a position where the ferrule is mounted to the pipe.

In a second aspect there is provided a method for replacing a ferrule of a pipe using the ferrule replacement apparatus of the first aspect, the method comprising: positioning the ferrule gripping portion at the first position and gripping the ferrule with the ferrule gripping portion with the valve in the open position ; mounting the apparatus to the pipe so that the pipe engaging means forms a fluid tight seal with the pipe; moving the ferrule holder so that the ferrule is detached from the pipe; sliding the shaft with respect to the main body to move the ferrule gripping portion from the first position to the second position so as to draw the ferrule into the chamber; moving the valve to the closed position to fluidly isolate the chamber from the pipe engaging portion so that the chamber is in fluid isolation from the pipe; detaching the ferrule holder from the main body; maintaining the ferrule; attaching the ferrule holder to the main body so as to form a fluid tight connection between the main body and the ferrule holder; moving the valve from the closed position to the open position; moving the ferrule holder to move the ferrule gripping portion from the second position to the first position to move the ferrule through the bore and to replace the ferrule onto the pipe so that the ferrule forms a fluid tight connection with the pipe; unmounting the apparatus from the pipe; and removing the ferrule holder from the ferrule.

Other aspects and features are defined in the appended claims.

Examples of the disclosure may thus help reduce an amount of time needed to replace a ferrule, for example because a section of pipe where a faulty ferrule is may not need to be isolated. For example, the apparatus and method of examples of the disclosure may allow the ferrule to be removed and replaced onto the pipe directly while the pipe is still under pressure for example. Therefore, a likelihood that water supply interruption may occur may be reduced and thus customer satisfaction may be improved. Furthermore, the number of man hours needed to replace the ferrule may be reduced.

Examples of the disclosure will now be described by way of example only with reference to the accompanying drawings, in which like references refer to like parts, and in which:

Figure 1 is a schematic diagram of a ferrule replacement apparatus according to examples of the disclosure;

Figure 2 is a schematic diagram of a valve of a ferrule replacement apparatus according to examples of the disclosure;

Figures 3A and 3B are schematic diagrams of a main body of a ferrule replacement apparatus according to examples of the disclosure;

Figures 4A-4D are schematic views of a ferrule holder of a ferrule replacement apparatus according to examples of the disclosure;

Figures 5A-5D are schematic views of a top plate of a ferrule replacement apparatus according to examples of the disclosure; Figures 6A-6C are schematic views of a pipe engaging element of a ferrule replacement apparatus according to examples of the disclosure;

Figures 7A and 7B are schematic views of an holding element for holding a ferrule replacement apparatus to a pipe according to examples of the disclosure;

Figures 8A-8D are schematic views of a spacer of a ferrule replacement apparatus according to examples of the disclosure;

Figures 9A and 9B are schematic views of a ratchet wrench for use with a ferrule replacement apparatus according to examples of the disclosure;

Figures 10A and 10B are schematic representations of a spanner for use with a ferrule replacement apparatus according to examples of the disclosure; and

Figures 1 1 A-1 1 D are schematic representations of a flushing adapter according to examples of the disclosure.

A ferrule replacement apparatus and method is disclosed. In the following description , a number of specific details are presented in order to provide a thorough understanding of the examples of the disclosure. It will be apparent however to a person skilled in the art that these specific details need not be employed in order to practise the examples of the disclosure. Conversely, specific details known to the person skilled in the art are omitted for the purposes of clarity in presenting the examples.

Figure 1 is a schematic diagram of a ferrule replacement apparatus according to examples of the disclosure. In particular Figure 1 shows a pipe 10 comprising a saddle 12 to which a ferrule is mounted for supplying a fluid, such as water, from the pipe to a residential or commercial building for example. In examples, the saddle 12 is arranged to hold the ferrule to the pipe and comprises a substantially planar surface surrounding the ferrule as found in typical configurations that are commonly used. Typically the ferrule may be in fluid communication with the pipe 10 and held to the pipe 10 by threaded connection with the saddle 12. Thus, for example, the ferrule may be removed from the pipe 10 by unscrewing it from the saddle 12, and replaced onto the pipe 10 by screwing it into the saddle 12.

Figure 1 shows an example of a ferrule replacement apparatus 20 of examples of the disclosure. In the example shown in Figure 1 , the apparatus 20 is shown mounted on the pipe 10 so that a ferrule may be removed from the pipe 20 and then replaced, for example if the ferrule needs replacement/substitution with a new ferrule, or servicing, cleaning, unblocking, or repairing.

In examples, the apparatus 20 comprises an elongate ferrule holder 22 comprising a shaft and a ferrule gripping portion arranged to be able to receive and grip the ferrule. The ferrule holder will be described in more detail later below with reference to Figures 4A-4D. In examples, the apparatus 20 comprises a valve 24 which has an open position and a closed position. In examples, the valve comprises a bore through wh ich the ferrule gripping portion can move when the valve is in the open position. In examples, the apparatus 20 comprises a pipe engaging element 26 arranged to be able to engage the pipe 10 to form a fluid tight seal with the pipe 10 when the apparatus is mounted on the pipe 10 over the ferrule.

In examples, the apparatus 20 comprises a main body 28. In the example shown in Figure 1 , a left side of the main body 28 shown in Figure 1 illustrates a cut away view, and a right side of the main body 28 shown in Figure 1 illustrates an exterior view of the main body 28 as demarcated by the dashed line 30.

In examples, the main body comprises a sliding seal arranged to cooperate with the shaft of the ferrule holder 22 so that the ferrule holder 22 can move axially with respect to the main body 28. In examples, the main body 28 is arranged to be able to cooperate with the valve 24 to form a fluid tight chamber 32. In examples, the main body 28 comprises the fluid tight chamber 32.

In examples, the ferrule holder 22 is removeably connectable to the main body 28 so as to be able to form a fluid tight connection between the ferrule holder 22 and the main body 28 when mounted to the main body 28. In examples, the main body 28 comprises a top plate 76 which is arranged to be able to cooperate between the main body 28 and the ferrule holder 22 to provide a seal between the main body 28 and the ferrule holder 22. In examples, the top plate 76 is removeably detachable from the main body 28 as will be described in more detail later below. In examples, the top plate 76 comprises the sliding seal.

For example, the gripping portion of the ferrule holder 22 may be used to grip and hold a ferrule so as to allow the ferrule to be removed from the pipe 10 by moving it through the bore of the valve 24 into the chamber 32. The chamber 32 may thus be isolated form the pipe 10 by closing the valve so that the ferrule holder 22 may be disconnected from the main body 28 to allow replacement of the ferrule such as by servicing, cleaning, or swapping the ferrule with a new or different one.

In examples, the ferrule gripping portion is moveable through the bore when the valve 24 is in the open position between a first position where the shaft is within the bore and where the ferrule gripping portion can engage the ferrule when the apparatus 20 is mounted on the pipe 10 over the ferrule, and a second position where the ferrule gripping portion is within the chamber 32 so that the valve 24 can be in the closed position to fluidly isolate the chamber 32 from the pipe engaging means 26 and so that the ferrule holder 22 can be detached from the main body 28. In examples, the ferrule gripping portion is arranged to be able to grip the ferrule so that the ferrule can be moved through the bore of the valve 24 between the chamber 32 and a position where the ferrule is mounted to the pipe 10. Examples of this will be described in more detail later below.

In examples, the apparatus 20 comprises holding means arranged to be able to hold the apparatus to the pipe 10 so as to restrict movement of the apparatus 20 away from the pipe 10. In examples, the apparatus 20 comprises a holding element 34, as will be described in more detail later below with reference to Figures 7A-7B. In examples, the main body 28 comprises a pair of arms which extend from the main body so as to be able to engage with the holding element 34. In examples, the holding element 34 comprises a chain 35, which may be wrapped around the pipe to hold the apparatus 20 to the pipe 10, for example beneath the pipe 10 between the arms 36. In other words, in examples, the holding means comprises the holding element 34 and the pair of arms 36. However, it will be appreciated that other arrangements of holding the apparatus 20 to the pipe 10 could be used. For example, a rope, wire, cord, or strap could be used to wrap around the pipe between the arms 36 instead of the chain 35.

In examples, the main body 28 comprises a handle 38. In examples, the handle 38 is mounted to the main body by a pair of bolts 40 so that the handle can be rotated about the bolts 40. However, other arrangements for mounting the handle 38 to the main body 28 may be used.

In examples, the apparatus comprises a ferrule holder motion restricting means arranged to be able to restrict motion of the ferrule holder 22 away from the main body 28. In examples, the main body comprises a restraining element 42 comprises a threaded shaft 44 and a torque handle 46 for applying torque to the threaded shaft 44. In examples, the threaded shaft 44 comprises a ferrule holder engaging end 48 located at an end of the threaded shaft 44 away from the torque handle 46. In examples, the threaded shaft 44 is arranged to be able to engage with a corresponding threaded hole formed in the handle 38.

In examples, rotation of the torque handle 46 with respect to the handle 38 can cause the ferrule holder engaging end 48 to move along a longitudinal path with respect to the valve body. Therefore, for example, motion of the ferrule holder 22 away from the main body 28 (for example away from the pipe 10) may be restricted by the restraining element 42 in cooperation with the handle 38. In other words, for example, the restraining element 42 and the handle 38 may cooperate together to act as restricting means for restricting motion of the ferrule holder 22 away from the main body 28. This may help prevent the ferrule holder 22 from moving too quickly or causing damage to the apparatus 20 or hurting a user due to fluid pressure in the chamber 32.

Figure 2 is a schematic diagram of a valve of a ferrule replacement apparatus according to examples of the disclosure. In particular, Figure 2 schematically shows the valve 24. In examples, the valve 24 is a standard 4 inch ball valve, although it will be appreciated that other types of valve could be used such as a gate valve. In examples, the bore of the valve 24 is such that the ferrule gripping portion can be moved through the bore when the valve is in the open position. In examples, the valve comprises valve body 50 and a valve handle 52 arranged so that rotation of the valve handle 52 with respect to the valve body 50 can cause the valve to move between the open position and the closed position, for example by rotation of a ball valve element within the valve body, in a manner know in the art.

In examples, the valve 24 comprises a main body engaging portion 54 and a pipe engaging portion 56 located at opposite ends of the valve 24 from each other. In examples, the pipe 10 may be able to be in fluid communication with the chamber 32 through the bore of the valve 24. In examples, the main body 28 may be able to be coupled to the valve 24 by threads formed in the main body engaging portion 54 so as to form a fluid tight seal between the main body 28 and the valve 24. In other examples, apparatus comprises a main body gasket located between the main body 28 and the valve 24 to form a fluid tight seal between them when compressed, for example by force applied by the holding means between the main body 28 and the pipe 10. In other examples, the main body 28 may be integrally formed with the valve 24, for example as one piece.

In examples, the pipe engaging portion 56 is arranged to be able to cooperate with the pipe engaging means 26 so as to be able to provide a seal between the valve 26 and the pipe 10 as will be described in more detail later below.

Figures 3A and 3B are schematic diagrams of the main body 28 of a ferrule replacement apparatus 20 according to examples of the disclosure. In particular, Figure 3A shows a schematic front view, and Figure 3B shows a schematic side view. In the example shown in Figure 3A, a left side of the main body 28 shown in Figure 3A illustrates a cut away view, and a right side of the main body 28 shown in Figure 1 illustrates an exterior view of the main body 28 as demarcated by the dashed line 30.

In examples, a threaded hole 58 is formed in the handle 38 for threaded engagement with threaded shaft 44 of the restraining element 42. In examples, the handle 38 is substantially u- shaped and is secured to the main body 28 by the bolts 40 which pass through holes formed at the base of the handle (e.g. ends of arms of the u-shape) so as to engage with threaded holes formed in the main body 28. As mentioned above, the handle 38 may be rotated with respect to the main body 28 about the bolts 40 (for examples as indicated by arrows 60), which may be considered to act as an axis of rotation. For example, the handle 38 may be positioned so that the threaded hole 58 is away from a longitudinal central axis of the main body 28 (as indicated by the dashed line 30). This may, for example, allow the ferrule holder to be inserted into the main body 28, through the chamber 32 and the bore of the valve 24 to engage with the ferrule of the pipe 10, as well as allowing removal. The handle 38 may also be positioned so that the restraining element 42 can engage the ferrule holder 22 so as to restrict motion of the ferrule holder 22 away from the main body 28 when the threaded hole 58 of the handle 38 lies substantially on the longitudinal central axis of the main body 28.

In examples, the main body 28 comprises a purge valve 62 arranged to be able to release fluid from the chamber 32 due to fluid pressure in the chamber 32. In examples, the purge valve comprises a tap 64 arranged to allow an operator to manually open and close the purge valve 62. In examples, the main body 28 comprises a pressure gauge operable to measure and indicate a pressure of fluid in the chamber 32. Use of the purge valve 62 and the pressure gauge of examples of the disclosure will be described in more detail later in relation to using the apparatus 20 to replace a ferrule.

In examples, each arm 36 comprises a holding element engagement surface 37, a first arm portion 39a and a second arm portion 39b. In examples, a radially extending slot 41 is formed in each arm 36 so that the first arm portion 39a and the second arm portion 39b are spaced apart from each other to be able to receive a tension bolt of the holding element 34 between them. In examples, the tension bolt may cooperate with the holding element engagement surface 37 so as to be able to provide tension to the chain 35 when it is wrapped around or beneath the pipe 1 0.

Figures 4A-4D are schematic views of the ferrule holder 22 of a ferrule replacement apparatus 20 according to examples of the disclosure. In particular, Figures 4A is a schematic top view, Figure 4B is a schematic front view, Figure 4C is a schematic bottom view, and Figure 4D is a schematic section view. In examples, the ferrule holder 22 is substantially elongate and comprises the shaft 66, the ferrule gripping portion 68, and a tool engaging portion 70. In examples, the shaft 66 and the ferrule gripping portion 68 have a substantially circular cross section. In examples, the shaft 66 is substantially cylindrical with a smooth outer surface for cooperating with the sliding seal to form fluid tight seal between the main body 28 and the ferrule holder 22. Additionally, the substantially cylindrical cross section of the shaft 66, allows the ferrule holder to be rotated about a longitudinal axis, for example to unscrew a ferrule from the pipe 10, when the ferrule is gripped by the ferrule gripping portion 68.

In examples, the ferrule gripping portion 68 comprises a first threaded nut 72a and a second threaded nut 72b. In examples, the ferrule gripping comprises a hollow or recessed portion 74 formed in the ferrule gripping portion 68 for receiving a ferrule. In examples a pair of threaded holes are formed in the ferrule gripping portion 68 located opposite each other, for example, on either side of the ferrule gripping portion 68, through which a shaft of the first threaded nut 74a and shaft of the second threaded nut 74s so as to protrude into the hollow portion 74. Therefore, for example, the ferrule gripping portion 68 may be positioned over a ferrule such that the ferrule is received into the hollow portion 74. The threaded nuts 72a and 72b may be tightened against the ferrule to grip and hold the ferrule so as to allow it to be rotated and moved axially with respect to the pipe by corresponding motions of the ferrule holder 22.

Although in examples the ferrule gripping portion 68 comprises two threaded nuts 72a and 72b, it will be appreciated that any appropriate number of threaded nuts could be used to grip the ferrule, such as one, or three, or more. In examples, the threaded nuts may be spaced apart from each other and spaced substantially evenly about a circumference of the ferrule holding portion 6, although it will be appreciated that the spacing could vary about the circumference. Additionally, it will be appreciated that other arrangements for gripping the ferrule may be used, such as other mechanical gripping arrangement or an interference or friction fit for example.

In examples, the tool engaging portion 70 is integrally formed with the shaft 66, for example by machining a suitable metal rod. In examples, the tool engaging portion 70 has a substantially square cross section for engaging with a suitable wrench or spanner (such as the spanner described belowwith reference to Figures 10A and 10B), for example to allow the ferrule holder 22 to be rotated about the longitudinal axis to unscrew/screw a ferrule to the pipe 10. However, it will be appreciated that the tool engaging portion 70 may have any suitable cross section such as triangular, or hexagonal, for example, although other cross sections are possible.

In examples, the main body 28 comprises a detachable top plate which comprises the sliding seal, as will now be described in more detail with reference to Figures 5A-5D. Figures 5A- 5D are schematic views of a top plate of the ferrule replacement apparatus 20 according to examples of the disclosure. In particular, Figure 5A shows a schematic top view, Figure 5B shows a schematic bottom view, Figure 5C shows a schematic side view, and Figure 5D shows a schematic section view. Figures 5A-5D shows a detachable top plate 76 according to examples of the disclosure. In examples, the top plate 76 may be attached to or detached from the main body 28. In examples, the top plate 76 is substantially cylindrical or disk shaped, with a substantially circular cross section as shown in Figures 5A and 5B. In examples, the detachable top plate 76 comprises a top plate threaded portion 78. Referring to Figure 3A, in examples, the main body comprises a main body threaded potion 80 arranged to be able to cooperate with the top plate threaded portion 78 to form a seal between the detachable top plate 76 and the main body 28, for example so that the chamber 32 is substantially leak tight.

In examples, a pair of substantially cylindrical , smooth bore blind holes 82 are formed in the top plate 76 for engagement with pins of a suitable spanner such as pins of a spanner of examples of the disclosure as described later below with reference to Figures 10A and 10B, or other pin face spanner, so as to allow the top plate 76 to be rotated with respect to the main body 28 for threaded engagement between the top plate threaded portion 78 and the main body threaded portion 80. However, it will be appreciated that other suitable arrangements for rotating the top plate 76 with respect to the main body 28 could be used.

In examples, a seal may be formed between the top plate 76 and the main body 28 by application of suitable sealing tape between the threads of the threaded portions 78 and 80, such as so-called thread seal tape or PTFE (polytetrafluoroethylene) tape. In other examples, the top plate 76 may be tightened onto a suitable elastomeric O-ring arrangement to form a seal between the top plate 76 and the main body 28.

In examples, a ferrule holder through hole 84 having a substantially circular cross section is formed through the centre of the top plate 76 between a top face 86 and a bottom face 88 of the top plate 76. In examples, the through hole 84 has substantially the same diameter as a diameter of the shaft 66 of the ferrule holder 22, for example to provide a clearance fit between the shaft 66 and the top plate 76. In examples, the top plate 76 comprises an O-ring 90 located in a O-ring receiving groove formed in a wall 92 of the through hole 84. In examples, the O-ring 90 is arranged to be able to cooperate with the shaft 66 of the ferrule holder 22 to form the sliding seal such that the ferrule holder 22 may be moved axially with respect to the main body 28. However, it will be appreciated that more than one O-ring could be used, and that other sliding seal arrangements could be used. Figures 6A-6C are schematic views of a pipe engaging element of the ferrule replacement apparatus 20 according to examples of the disclosure. In particular, Figure 6A schematically shows a top view, Figure 6B schematically shows a side view, and Figure 6C schematically shows a section view. In examples, the pipe engaging element 26 can be thought of as being able to act as an undercarriage, for example to allow the valve 24 to be coupled to the pipe so that the ferrule can be removed and replaced through the bore of the valve 24. In examples, a through hole 90 with a substantially circular cross section is formed in the pipe engaging element 26 so that the ferrule may be moved through the through hole 90, for example by manipulation with the ferrule holder 22. In examples, the pipe engaging element 26 is a substantially circular disk which comprises a projection 92 which extends radially away from the through hole 90.

In examples, the pipe engaging element 26 comprises a first gasket seat 94 formed to be recessed into the pipe engaging element 26 away from a lower surface 96 of the pipe engaging element 26, and a second gasket seat 98 formed to be recessed into the pipe engaging element 26 away from an upper surface 100 of the pipe engaging element 26.

In examples, the first gasket seat 94 is arranged to be able to receive a first gasket so that the first gasket can help form a seal between the pipe 10 and the pipe engaging element 26 when compressed between the pipe engaging element 26 and the saddle 12.

In examples, the second gasket seat 98 is arranged to be able to receive a second gasket so that the second gasket can help form a seal between the pipe engaging element 26 and the valve when compressed between the pipe engaging element 26 and the valve 24 or a valve spacer, such as a spacer as described later below with reference to Figures 8A-8D.

In examples, the pipe engaging element 26 may be integrally formed with the valve 24. In examples, the pipe engaging element 26 may be part of a body of the valve 24 with the features of the second gasket seat 98 omitted, and a lower surface of the valve 24 comprising the features of the first gasket seat 94. In some examples the pipe engaging element 26 may be omitted as a separate piece.

More generally, in examples, the pipe engaging means comprises a gasket (such as the first gasket) arranged to be compressible between the valve 24 and the pipe 10. In examples, the holding means is arranged to be able to bias the main body 28 and the valve 24 towards the pipe 1 0 so as to compress the gasket to form a seal between the valve 24 and the pipe 10.

In examples, a threaded through hole 102 is formed in the projection 92 so as to be able to receive a threaded bolt, for example to assist in alignment of the apparatus 20 by contact between the threaded bolt and the pipe 10 by adjusting a length of the threaded bolt that extends from the projection 92 by turning the bolt. In other words, in examples, the pipe engaging element 26 comprises a threaded bolt which is received in the threaded through hole 102 so that turning the bolt can cause a length of the bolt that extends from the projection 92 to be altered. In examples, a position of the threaded through hole 102 is offset from a central axis of the apparatus 20, for example corresponding to a longitudinal axis of the ferrule holder 22. This may, for example, allow a relative angle between the central axis and the pipe 10 to be adjusted by turning the threaded bolt and so help alignment of the apparatus 20 with the pipe 10.

Figures 7A and 7B are schematic views of a holding element for holding a ferrule replacement apparatus to a pipe according to examples of the disclosure. In particular, Figure 7A schematically shows a front view, and Figure 7B schematically shows a side view. Figures 7A and 7B schematically show the holding element 34. In examples, the holding element 34 comprises a u-shaped chain holding element 104 for engaging with and holding the chain 35, for example by a pin 105 passing through a pair of opposed holes formed in the chain holding element 104. In examples, holding element 34 comprises a tension bold 106 and a threaded washer 108 for engaging with a thread of the tension bold 106. In examples the threaded washer 1 08 has a substantially convex surface whose profile substantially corresponds with that of the holding element engagement surface 37 of the arm 36. In examples, the tension bolt 106 is held to the chain holding element 104 so as to be able to freely rotate with respect to the chain holding element 34. Therefore, in examples, a pair of chain holding elements (such as chain holding element 34) may be used so that the chain 35 can be connected between the two arms 36 around the pipe 1 0 to be able to bias the apparatus 20 towards the pipe 10 by applying tension to the chain 35 with the tension bolts.

Figures 8A-8D are schematic views of a spacer of a ferrule replacement apparatus according to examples of the disclosure. In particular, Figure 8A schematically shows a top view, Figures 8B schematically shows bottom view, Figure 8C schematically shows a side view, and Figure 8D schematically shows a section view. In examples, the apparatus 20 comprises a spacer 1 10. In examples, the spacer 1 10 is arranged to be able to engage with a threaded portion of the valve 24 located within the pipe engaging portion 56 of the valve 24.

In examples, the spacer 1 10 is substantially disc shaped, with a substantially circular cross section. In examples, the spacer 1 10 comprises a spacer body 1 12, through which a through hole 1 14 is formed between an upper face 1 13 and a lower face 1 15 so as to allow passage of the ferrule holder 22 and a ferrule through the through hole 1 14. In examples, the spacer comprises a spacer threaded portion 1 16 and a substantially smooth portion 1 18 that are separated from each other by a flange 120. In examples, the spacer threaded portion 1 16 is arranged to be in threaded engagement with the pipe engaging portion 56 of the valve 24 so as to form a seal between the valve 24 and the spacer 1 10, for example by use of suitable thread sealing tape. In examples, the lower face 1 15 is arranged to be able to cooperate with the second gasket of the pipe engaging element 26 to form a seal between the spacer 1 10 and the pipe engaging element 26.

In examples, the spacer 1 10 may be used to space the valve 24 away from the pipe engagement element 26 for example in situations where the body of the valve 24 may snag with the pipe engaging element 26. Additionally some valves have substantially hexagonal exterior cross sections at their ends and so the spacer 1 10 may help provide a more appropriate sealing surface if a standard valve is used. However, as mentioned above, the valve 24 may also be non standard and be integrally formed with the pipe engaging element 24 in examples of the disclosure. In these examples, the spacer 1 10 may be omitted.

Figures 9A and 9B are schematic views of a ratchet wrench for use with a ferrule replacement apparatus according to examples of the disclosure. In particular, Figure 9A schematically shows a top view, and Figure 9B schematically shows a side view. I n examples, the ratchet wrench may be a known ratchet wrench or spanner comprising a socket 122 for engaging the tool engaging portion 70 of the ferrule holder 22 and a handle 124. Torque provided to the handle 124 when the socket 122 is engaged with tool engaging portion 70 can allow the ferrule holder 22 to be rotated about its longitudinal axis for example to rotate a ferrule to screw it onto the saddle 12 or unscrew it so it can be removed from the saddle 12. In examples, the ratchet wrench is a torque wrench although it will be appreciated that other suitable wrenches or spanners could be used.

Figures 10A and 10B are schematic representations of a spanner 126 for use with a ferrule replacement apparatus according to examples of the disclosure. In particular, Figure 10A schematically shows a top view and Figure 10B schematically shows a side view. In examples, the spanner 126 comprises a first spanner portion 128 having a first size spanner opening 130 formed in it at a first end 131 for engaging a first size of nut, a second spanner portion 132 having a second size spanner opening 134 formed in it at a first end 136 for engaging a second size of nut, and a linking ring 138. In examples, the first spanner portion 128 is rigidly mounted to the linking ring 138 at a second end 140, and the second spanner portion 132 is rigidly mounted to the linking ring 138 at a second end 142. In examples, the second end 140 of the first spanner portion 128 is mounted to the linking ring 138 opposite to a position on the linking ring 138 where the second end 142 of the second spanner portion 132 is mounted. However, it will be appreciated that the first and second spanner portions could be mounted to the linking ring 138 at any appropriate location.

In examples, the spanner 126 comprises a pair of pins 143a and 143b which project away from the second end 140 and the second end 142 of the respective spanner portions 128 and 132 in a direction substantially perpendicular to the plane of the linking ring 138. In examples, the pair of pins 143a and 143b are substantially cylindrical and located opposite to each other on the linking ring 138. In examples, a relative position and spacing (distance) between the pins 143a and 143b is such that it substantially corresponds to a relative position and distance between the smooth bore blind holes 82 that are formed in the top plate 76. In other words, in examples, the pins 143a and 143b may be used to engage with the blind holes 82 so that the spanner 126 may be used to rotate the top plate 76 with respect to the main body 28, for example to screw the top plate on or off the main body 28. In examples, the first spanner portion 128 and the second spanner portion 132 may thus be used as handles to help a user rotate the top plate 76. In examples, the spanner 126 may also be used in cooperation with a flushing adapter as will be described later below.

In examples, a substantially square hole 144 is formed in the second spanner portion 132 between the first end 136 and the second end 142 for engaging the tool engaging portion 70 of the ferrule holder 22 (for example for engaging a third size of nut). In examples, the first size spanner opening 130 has a different size from the second size spanner opening 134. In examples, the first and second size spanner openings 130 and 134 may be dimensioned so as to be able to engage with one or more nuts of the apparatus 20. In other words, for example, the spanner 126 may be used in conjunction with the apparatus 20 when replacing a ferrule.

In examples, the apparatus 20 comprises a flushing adapter, for example to allow the pipe 1 0 to be flushed via the apparatus 10 such as to clear a blockage or debris in the pipe 10 for example. Figures 1 1 A-1 1 D are schematic representations of a flushing adapter according to examples of the disclosure. In particular, Figure 1 1 A schematically shows a top view, Figure 1 1 B schematically shows a bottom view, Figure 1 1 C schematically shows a side view, and Figure 1 1 D schematically shows a section view. The example of Figures 11 A-11 D shows a flushing adapter 1 50 of examples of the disclosure. In examples, the flushing adapter 150 is substantially the same as the top plate 76 except that the O-ring and O-ring groove are omitted for the flushing adapter 1 50 and the through hole is threaded.

In examples, the flushing adapter 150 may be attached to or detached from the main body 28. In examples, the flushing adapter 150 is substantially cylindrical or disk shaped, with a substantially circular cross section as shown in Figures 11 A and 1 1 B. In examples, the flushing adapter 150 comprises a flushing adapter exterior threaded portion 152. Referring to Figure 3A, in examples, the main body threaded potion 80 is arranged to be able to cooperate with the flushing adapter exterior threaded portion 152 to form a seal between the flushing adapter exterior threaded portion 152 and the main body 28, for example when they are in threaded engagement with each other.

In examples, a pair of substantially cylindrical, smooth bore blind holes 154 are formed in the flushing adapter 150 for engagement with the pins 143a and 143b of the spanner 126, or other pin face spanner, for example so as to allow the flushing adapter 150 to be rotated with respect to the main body 28 for threaded engagement between the exterior threaded portion 152 and the main body threaded portion 80. However, it will be appreciated that other suitable arrangements for rotating the flushing adapter 150 with respect to the main body 28 could be used.

In examples, a seal may be formed between the flushing adapter 150 and the main body 28 by application of suitable sealing tape between the threads of the threaded portions 152 and 80, such as so-called thread seal tape or PTFE (polytetrafluoroethylene) tape. In other examples, the flushing adapter 150 may be tightened onto a suitable elastomeric O-ring arrangement to form a seal between the flushing adapter 150 and the main body 28. In examples, a threaded through hole 156 having a substantially circular cross section is formed through the centre of the flushing adapter 1 50 between a top face 158 and a bottom face 1 60 of the flushing adapter 1 50. In examples, the threaded through hole 1 56 is arranged to be able to receive a threaded adapter or connector of a flushing pipe, such as a polythene pipe, so that the chamber 32 can be in fluid communication with the flushing pipe. For example, the threaded adapter of the flushing pipe may be tightened into threaded engagement with the threaded through hole 156 to form a seal between the threaded adapter and the flushing adapter 1 50. Additionally, in examples, a flushing procedure may be controlled by suitable operation of the valve 24. In other words, more generally in examples, the apparatus 20 comprises the flushing adapter 150 which is arranged to be able to engage the main body 28 to allow fluid communication between the pipe engaging means (such as the pipe engaging element 26) and the flushing adapter 150.

Therefore, for example, the flushing adapter 150 may be used to flush the pipe 10 during a ferrule replacement operation (such as that described later below) by introduction or release of fluid to or from the pipe 10 via the chamber 32, the valve 24 and the flushing pipe, for example when the apparatus 20 is mounted to the pipe 10. This may, for example, allow debris or dirt to be more effectively removed from a location of the pipe 10 where the ferrule may be held by the saddle 12, and so future blocking occurrences of the ferrule may be reduced.

Examples of methods for replacing a ferrule of a pipe using the ferrule replacement apparatus 20 of examples of the disclosure will now be described.

In an example method, the ferrule holder 22 may be placed over the ferrule, for example by positioning the ferrule gripping portion 68 over the ferrule and gripping the ferrule with the ferrule gripping portion 68 with the valve 24 in the open position.

The apparatus 20 may then be mounted to the pipe 10 so that the pipe engaging means 26 forms a fluid tight seal with the pipe 10. In other words, for example, the apparatus may be positioned such that the ferrule holder 22 is at the first position where the shaft 66 is within the bore and where the ferrule gripping portion 68 can engage the ferrule when the apparatus 20 is mounted on the pipe 10 over the ferrule. More generally, in examples, the ferrule gripping portion 68 may be positioned at the first position and the ferrule gripped with the ferrule gripping portion 68 with the valve in the open position;

For example, the apparatus 20 may be manoeuvred and positioned so that the shaft 66 of the ferrule holder 22 passes through the bore of the valve 24 and through the chamber 32. The top plate 76 may then be positioned onto the shaft 66 so that the shaft 66 passes through the through hole 84 formed in the top plate 76, and the top plate tightened onto the main body 28 using a suitable tool, such as the spanner 126, so as to form a fluid tight seal between the shaft 66, the top plate 76 and the main body 28. In examples, the chain 35 may be wrapped around or beneath the pipe 10 between the two arms 36 and the tension bolts 1 06 of the holding elements 34 tightened to provide tension to the chain 35 to hold the apparatus 20 to the pipe 10. In examples, the ferrule holder 22 may then be moved so that the ferrule is detached from the pipe 10. For example, the ferrule holder 22 may be rotated about it longitudinal axis using the ratchet wrench or the spanner 126 to unscrew the ferrule from the saddle 12. Fluid may enter the chamber 32 under pressure from the pipe 10 when the ferrule is unscrewed.

The shaft 66 may then be slid with respect to the main body 24 to move the ferrule gripping portion 68 from the first position to the second position so as to draw the ferrule into the chamber 32. For example, the ferrule holder 22 may be moved axially within the sliding seal to as to move the ferrule away from the pipe 10. As mentioned above, in examples, the second position is where the ferrule gripping portion 68 is within the chamber 32 so that the valve 24 can be in the closed position to fluidly isolate the chamber 32 from the pipe engaging means 26 and so that the ferrule holder 22 can be detached from the main body 28.

The valve 24 may be moved to the closed position to fluidly isolate the chamber 32 from the pipe engaging portion 26 so that the chamber 32 is in fluid isolation from the pipe 10. The ferrule holder 22 (for example holding the ferrule) may then be detached from the main body 28 for example by unscrewing the top plate 76 using the spanner 126. In examples, the purge valve 62 may be used to release fluid from the chamber 32 and relieve pressure in the chamber 32 before the top plate 76 is detached from the main body 28. In examples, the pressure gauge may be used to indicate to an operator of the apparatus 20 whether it is safe to remove the top plate 76 from the main body 28. In examples, the pipe 10 is in fluid isolation from the chamber 32 because the valve 24 is arranged to be in the closed position when the top plate 76 is removed or detached from the main body 28.

In examples, the ferrule may be maintained, for example by cleaning it or swapping it with a new or different ferrule. In examples, maintaining the ferrule comprises changing the ferrule with a different ferrule. In examples, maintaining the ferrule comprises cleaning the ferrule. However, it will be appreciated that any other appropriate maintenance may be carried out on the ferrule.

In examples, the ferrule holder may be attached to the main body 28 so as to form a fluid tight connection between the main body 28 and the ferrule holder 22 for example by reattaching the top plate 76 to the main body 28 by threading it into the main body 28 using the spanner 126 after the ferrule has been maintained.

The valve may then be moved from the closed position to the open position, for example to allow the ferrule gripping portion 68 and the ferrule to pass through the bore of the valve 24.

The ferrule holder may be moved to move the ferrule gripping portion from the second position to the first position to move the ferrule through the bore and to replace the ferrule onto the pipe so that the ferrule forms a fluid tight connection with the pipe. For example, the shaft 66 may be slid axially within the sliding seal so that the ferrule moves towards the pipe 1 0 and seats in the saddle 12. The ferrule holder 22 may be rotated for example using the spanner 126 or the ratchet wrench so as to screw the ferrule into the saddle so it forms a leak tight connection with the pipe.

In examples, once the ferrule is mounted back onto the pipe 10 (e.g. replaced on the pipe 1 0), the pressure gauge may be used to determine the fluid pressure in the chamber 32. For example, some fluid may be released through the purge valve 62 by the operator to relieve pressure in the chamber 32 and then the purge valve closed again. The pressure gauge may be used to determine if the ferrule is correctly mounted to the pipe 10. For example, a subsequent rise in fluid pressure as indicated on the pressure gauge may indicate a leak around the ferrule. However, it will be appreciated that this procedure could be omitted if desired.

The apparatus 20 may be unmounted from the pipe 10, for example by loosening the tension bolts 106 and removing the chain 35 from around the pipe 10. The apparatus may be lifted so that the ferrule holder 22 slides though and out of the sliding seal of the top plate 76 to remove the apparatus 20 form the pipe. The ferrule holder 22 may then be removed from the from the ferrule.

Therefore, for example, examples of the disclosure may help a ferrule to be replaced more quickly and easily because a section of the pipe 10 does not have to be isolated from the main supply. Instead, examples of the disclosure may allow the ferrule to be directly detached and reattached to the pipe 10, for example without isolating the section of the pipe 1 0 where the ferrule is located. Furthermore, a number of man hours needed to replace a ferrule may be reduced, and customer satisfaction improved because a likelihood that an interruption in water supply may occur can be reduced.

It will be appreciated, for example, that the terms“replacement” and“replacing” as used herein may refer to any situation where a ferrule is removed from the pipe and then replaced back on or reattached to the pipe. For example, the ferrule may be removed from the pipe, cleaned, and then the same ferrule replaced or reattached to the pipe. Alternatively, for example, the ferrule may be removed from the pipe and swapped with a different ferrule, such as a new ferrule, with the different ferrule being replaced or attached to the pipe. In other words, for example, the term “replacement” and“replacing” may include servicing or maintenance of the ferrule where the ferrule is changed for a different ferrule or the same ferrule is placed back on the pipe. For example, the ferrule may be removed or detached form the pipe and the same one or a different one replaced or attached back on the pipe. In other words, for example, the terms“replacement” and“replacing” may also be considered to include“maintenance” and“maintaining”.

In examples, the apparatus 20 may be used to help replace a ferrule of a main line water supply pipe. However, it will be appreciated that the examples of the disclosure may be applicable for use with any suitable fluid.

Although a variety of examples have been described herein , these are provided by way of example only and many variations and modifications on such examples will be apparent to the skilled person and fall within the spirit and scope of the present invention, which is defined by the appended claims and their equivalents.