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Patent Searching and Data


Title:
FLUID QUICK CONNECTOR WITH INTEGRATED PRESSURE SENSOR
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2007/106749
Kind Code:
A2
Abstract:
A fluid quick connector has an integrated pressure sensor for sensing the pressure of fluid in the quick connector. The pressure sensor is mountable in a housing which may be an integral molded part of the quick connector housing, a separate housing fixedly connected to the quick connector housing, or a separate housing latchingly coupled to the quick connector housing. An orifice in the pressure sensor and/or pressure sensor housing is disposed in communication with the bore extending through the quick connector housing for measuring the pressure of fluid within the quick connector bore. An electrical connector may provided for communicating electrical signals representative of the sensed fluid pressure by the pressure sensor externally of the quick connector.

Inventors:
QUARANTA JOSEPH S (US)
SZABO GEORGE (US)
THOMAS ANTHONY (US)
KRANTZ RICHARD (US)
PINION CLIFF (US)
Application Number:
US2007/063722
Publication Date:
September 20, 2007
Filing Date:
March 09, 2007
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
COOPER STANDARD AUTOMOTIVE INC (US)
GEN MOTORS GLOBAL TECHNOLOGY (US)
QUARANTA JOSEPH S (US)
SZABO GEORGE (US)
THOMAS ANTHONY (US)
KRANTZ RICHARD (US)
PINION CLIFF (US)
International Classes:
F16L39/00
Foreign References:
US6827374B2
US5390638A
US5605360A
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
CARLSON, John, E. et al. (Gaskey & Olds P.C.,400 West Maple Road,Suite 35, Birmingham Michigan, US)
Download PDF:
Claims:

What is claimed is:

1. A fluid operative apparatus comprising: a fluid quick connector having a housing with a bore extending from a first end; a retainer operative to latch an endform through the first end of the housing in fluid communication with the bore in the housing; and pressure sensor means, fluidically coupled to the bore in the housing, operative for sensing the pressure of fluid in the bore in the housing.

2. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein the pressure sensor means comprises: a pressure transducer.

3. The apparatus of claim 1 further comprising: a housing, with pressure sensor means mounted in the housing,

4. The apparatus of claim 3 wherein the housing operative for carrying the pressure sensor means is integrally molded as a unitary part of the quick connector housing.

5. The apparatus of claim 3 wherein the housing operative for carrying the pressure is discrete from and fixedly attached to the quick connector housing.

6. The apparatus of claim 3 further comprising: the quick connector housing including latch means for fixedly coupling the housing for the pressure sensor means to the quick connector housing.

7. The apparatus of claim 6 further comprising: an electrical connector carried by the housing and coupled to the pressure sensor means to electrically communicate fluid pressure representative electrical signals from the pressure sensor means.

8. The apparatus of claim 3 further comprising: an orifice in the quick connector housing; an orifice in the housing for the pressure sensor means, the orifices fluidically coupled when the pressure sensor means is mounted in the housing for the pressure transducer.

9. The apparatus of claim 1 further comprsing: an electrical connector attached to the pressure sensor means for electrically communicating fluid pressure representative electrical signals from the pressure sensor means.

10. A fluid operative apparatus comprising: a fluid quick connector having a housing with a bore extending from a first end; a retainer operative to latch an endform through the first end of the housing in fluid communication with the bore in the housing; and a pressure transducer fluidically coupled to the bore in the housing. The pressure transducer operative to sense the pressure of fluid in the bore in the housing.

11. The apparatus of claim 10 further comprising: a housing pressure transducer the pressure transducer mounted in the pressure transducer housing.

12. The apparatus of claim 11 further comprising: an electrical connector carried in the housing and coupled to the pressure transducer to electrically communicate fluid pressure representative electrical signals from the pressure transducer.

Description:

FLUID QUICK CONNECTOR WITH INTEGRATED PRESSURE SENSOR

BACKGROUND

[0001] The present invention relates, in general, to fluid quick connectors for fluidically coupling one or more fluid components.

[0002] Fluid quick connectors are used in a variety of applications to fluidically connect to fluid operative elements, such as two conduits, a conduit and a fluid operative device, such as a fuel sender module, etc. [0003] The quick connectors have a variety of configurations typically include a retainer which is mountable in one end of the quick connector for releasibly latching the tip end or endform of a fluid element, such as a conduit, fuel sensor module,etc. } in a sealed state in the quick connector. The retainer can be an axially mounted element with flexible latch fingers, an annular ring with a plurality of unidirectional movable fingers of a radially or transversely movable retainer element which latches to a surface feature on the endform.

[0004J As the quick connector joins two elements of a fluid system together, it becomes part of the fluid system. It is common in fluid systems to need to know the pressure of the fluid flowing through the system for maintaining system operating parameters within an acceptable range, detecting fluid leaks, detecting malfunctioning of products due to an abrupt pressure change, etc. [0005] However, the ability to conveniently mount a pressure sensor in a fluid system is difficult in certain system designs. For example, in an automotive fuel tank, the tank pressure sensor is typically mounted within the fuel tank itself or in the fuel sender module attached to the tank. This requires extra openings in the fuel tank or sender cover that are potential sources of fuel leaks or hydrocarbon permeation.

[0006] Thus, it would be desirable to provide a fluid quick connector which has an integrated pressure sensor to address these problems.

SUMMARY

[0007] A fluid quick connector for use in a fluid operative system is disclosed which has an integrated pressure sensor coupled to the quick connector and forming a part of the quick connector.

[0008] In one aspect, a fluid operative apparatus includes a fluid quick connector having a housing with a bore extending from a first end, a retainer operative to latch an endform through the first end of the housing in fluid communication with the bore in the housing, and pressure sensor means, fiuidically coupled to the bore in the housing operative for sensing the pressure of fluid in the bore in the housing. The pressure sensor means may be a pressure transducer. [0009] The pressure sensor means may be mounted in a housing. The housing operative for carrying the pressure sensor means can be integrally molded as a unitary part of the quick connector housing, discrete from and fixedly attached to the quick connector housing, sensor means or friendly coupled to the quick connector housing by latch means

[0θ10] An electrical connector can be coupled to the pressure sensor means to electrically communicate fluid pressure representative electrical signals from the pressure sensor means.

[0011] The fluid quick connector with integrated pressure sensor provides several advantages over previously devised fluid systems having separately mounted fluid sensors. In the case of an automotive fuel tank, the quick connector with integrated pressure sensor allows the tank pressure sensor to be removed from the fuel tank itself or from the fuel sender module attached to the tank. This eliminates the need for extra openings in the fuel tank or sender cover thereby minimizing potential sources of fuel leaks and/or hydrocarbon permeation. This design also allows for complexity reduction of the tank and fuel sender module cover which saves space and costs. Since the quick connector is already used to connect a conduit to the fuel sender cover, extra components and potential leak paths can be eliminated.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING

[0012] The various features, advantages, and other uses of the present invention will become more apparent by referring to the following detailed description and drawing in which:

[0013] Fig. 1 is a partially cross sectioned, side elevational view showing one aspect of a fluid quick connector with integrater pressure sensor; [0014] Fig. 2 is a perspective view of another aspect of a fluid quick connector with integrated pressure sensor;

[θ015] Fig. 3 is a perspective view of another aspect of the fluid quick connector with an integrated pressure sensor, with the pressure sensor removed for clarity;

[0016] Fig. 4 is a bottom perspective view of the fluid quick connector shown in Fig. 3;

[0017] Fig. 5 is a perspective view, similar to Fig. 3, and showing the attachment of a retainer to the quick connector;

[0018] Fig. 6 is an opposite directed perspective view of the quick connector and retainer shown in Fig. 5;

[0019] Fig. 7 is a bottom perspective view of the quick connector shown in

Fig. 5;

[0020] Fig. 8 is a perspective view of the fluid quick connector and retainer of Figs. 5 - 7, and the pressure sensor; and

[0021] Fig. 9 is an opposite perspective view of the quick connector, retainer and pressure sensor shown in Fig. 8.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

[0022] Referring now to Fig. 1, there is depicted a fluid quick connector 20 which includes a housing 22 having a first end 24 and an opposed second end 26. An internal bore 27 extends through the interior of the housing 22 between the first and second ends 24 and 26.

[θ023] The housing 24 may take any shape, such as the angular 90° elbow shape shown in Fig. 1 by way of example, a straight, linear shape, etc. [0024] A retainer mechanism 30 is coupled to the housing 22 for releasably latching an endform 32 through the first end 24 of the housing 22. By way of example only, the retainer 30 is an axially mounted, squeeze-to-release type retainer described in U. S. Patent No. 5,568,946. It will be understood that any other axially or transverse mounted retainer may be employed in the quick connector 20. [0025] A pressure sensor or transducer 40 is carried on the housing 22 and is fluidically coupled through an internal bore or orifice 41 with the bore 27 extending between the first and second ends 24 and 26 of the housing 22 to measure the fluid pressure in the housing 22. Pressure sensors or transducers suitable for use in this application are available from Visteon Corporation or Bosch Corporation.

[0026] A housing 42 may be integrally formed with on or fixedly coupled to the quick connector housing 22. The housing 42 receives a slide-in pressure transducer or sensor. An electrical plug-type connection or socket 44 is mounted on the housing 42, typically as part of the transducer 40, to provide a connection to an electrical conductor or cable for transmitting fluid pressure related signals from the transducer 40 to a remote location.

[0027] A quick connector 50 is depicted in Fig. 2 which employs the same housing 22 and retainer 30 as described above in conjunction with Fig. 1. The quick connector 50 also includes a pressure sensor or transducer 52 which is mounted in a housing 54 integrally formed or molded as a unitary part of the housing 22 of the quick connector 50. The housing 54 receives a pressure transducer in a slide-in, snap-in manner, with an electrical connection 56 to an electrical cable or conductor, not shown, projecting outward from one end of the housing 54, [0028] Referring now to Figs. 3 - 9, there is depicted a quick connector 70 which has a configuration for receiving a pressure transducer assembly in a snap-in manner. The quick connector 70 includes a connector body 72 with a through bore extending from a first end 74 to an opposed second end 76. Receivers 78 are fixedly mounted on or integrally molded with the body 72 for attachment to the retainer mechanism, by example only.

[0029] A retainer 79, which can be the same as the retainer 30 shown in Fig.

1 and described in greater detail in U. S. Patent No. 5,568,946, is snap-connected to the receivers 78 as shown in Figs 5 and 6.

[0030] A tubular, generally cylindrical element 80 having an internal bore is integrally mounted on or fixedly coupled to the body 72 with the internal bore in the element 80 fluidically coupled to the internal bore in the body 72. An end 82 of the element 80 is sealingly closed by a closed ended cap sealingly mounted over the end 82 or by a plug 84, shown in Fig. 6, which is sealingly mounted in the open end 82 of the element 80.

[0031] A port 86 having an open end is fluidically coupled to the element 80 intermediate the opposite ends of the element 80. The port 86 serves as a flow path to fluidically couple a pressure transducer or sensor to the internal bores in the element 80 and the body 72 for measuring the fluid pressure within the body 72.

[0032] A base 90 which is integrally molded with or fixedly coupled as a separate member to the element 80 extends from the element 80 in the general direction of the longitudinal axis through the body 72, by way of example only. The base or support 90 includes a center support rib 92 and a pair of latches 94. [0033] As seen in Figs. 8 and 9, a pressure transducer 100 is snap-mounted in the latches 94 to the base 90 while at the same time having an orifice fluidically and sealingiy coupled to the port 86 on the element 80. One end 102 of the pressure transducer housing 104 is open to receive an electrical connector or plug, not shown, for remotely transmitting pressure related signals from the pressure transducer 100.